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Two unfit candidates

Why hasn’t the Religious Left called on Clinton to step down?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shake hands after the second presidential debate Associated Press/Photo by John Locher

Two unfit candidates

As negative information about Donald Trump mounted yesterday and today, so did revelations concerning Hillary Clinton’s unfitness for office. Mindy Belz and Evan Wilt covered on WORLD’s website some of that bad news, and before giving more of it, I’d like to set the context by quoting from a perceptive series of tweets offered this morning by Joe Rigney, a theology professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary (founded by John Piper).

Rigney wrote concerning this election,It’s as though God is saying to us: ‘I sent you Trump & Clinton, and still you would not return to me. I sent vileness from one party and corruption from the other party, and still you would not return to me. … Clinton & Trump represent us well. Lies, corruption, selfishness, unbridled ambition, sexual immorality—all committed with a high hand. That’s us.”

He continued, “Trump supporters on the Religious Right & Clinton supporters on the Religious Left are in the same boat. Both of them are trying to manage God’s judgment, embracing Assyria to ward off Egypt or embracing Egypt to ward off Assyria. Instead, as Christians, we ought to embrace the judgments of God.”

Rigney then directed his remarks to conservatives: “We’ve long been accused of being shills for the Republican Party. We’ll vote for any candidate with an (R) provided they pay lip service to our issues. The present election is a great opportunity to prove those accusations false. We can refuse to treat Trump’s (R) as a moral disinfectant.”

He concluded: “Progressive Christians: the same is true for you. Quite frankly, I think it’s more true for you. There is no comparable #NeverHillary movement on the Religious Left. [The Gospel Coalition, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, WORLD, and Christianity Today] all have rejected Trump. Where are the progressive Christians who refuse to vote for Clinton’s corruption, lies, and mendacity?”

Good question. Many WORLD members vote Republican, so our suggestion that the Republican candidate step aside could have some effect. What do the editors of progressive Christian publications have to say? If they’ve had enough of the Clinton campaign’s lies and are suggesting that Hillary Clinton step aside—a development we at WORLD would welcome, although we have no influence regarding that—we’ll be glad to reprint their comments.

So what are yesterday’s and today’s Clinton revelations, beyond those reported by my colleagues? Here are a few that amplified long-standing concerns:

Does Clinton care more about power than principle? Clinton adviser Joel Benenson apparently asked in an email, “Do we have any sense from her what she believes or wants her core message to be?”

Did Clinton get debate questions in advance? The Wall Street Journal reported, “A day before a CNN Democratic presidential town hall event, [Donna] Brazile [vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee] sent Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri an email with the heading: ‘From time to time I get the questions in advance.’ Ms. Brazile included a question about the death penalty in the email, saying, ‘here’s one that worries me about HRC.’ The following day, Ricky Jackson, a former death-row inmate who was exonerated, asked Mrs. Clinton about the issue during the televised town-hall event.”

Did the Clinton campaign rely on but disparage Latinos? Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, in an email titled “Needy Latinos and 1 easy call,” apparently urged Clinton to call prominent Latino politicians, including former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Energy Secretary Federico Peña. Podesta apparently wrote, “Richardson is still on TV a lot, especially on Univision and Telemundo and, notwithstanding the fact that he can be a [expletive deleted], it was worth getting him in a good place.” Podesta apparently micromanaged Clinton’s phone courtesies concerning Peña: “Ask him how he’s been doing; ask about his views on the race and what she should be doing in Colorado; ask that he consider publicly supporting you.”

Most important, were the policies Clinton backed as secretary of state misguided and murderous? Newly declassified State Department documents show Clinton in 2012 praising the election to the Egyptian presidency of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood leader, and offering covert police and security help. Clinton talking points for her meeting with Morsi included an offer to send U.S. police and security experts to Egypt as part of a “framework of cooperation” that would be carried out “quite discreetly.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported on the documents, released under a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the Obama administration’s secret 2011 Presidential Study Directive-11: “The directive, according to officials familiar with its contents, outlined how the administration would seek to support the Muslim Brotherhood around the world despite the Islamist supremacist organization providing the ideological underpinning for jihadist terrorism for both al-Qaeda and its successor, the Islamic State.”

The newspaper quoted retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph Myers saying Clinton’s endorsement and support of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was “a fool’s errand and shows a disastrous strategic naivety. … The whole policy initiative to support a Muslim Brotherhood government anywhere is another example of a total policy failure of Secretary Clinton.”

Read more WORLD stories about the Clinton candidacy.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has also been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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Nice try. You STILL insist on displaying 2 images of Donald Trump on your home page, all bent over, labeled as TIME TO STEP ASIDE and UNFIT FOR POWER. The one you now have at the top of the page is totally appropriate, but way overdo. I guess we owe the new photo's appearance to the fact that there's just now started a push back over Clinton's totally corrupt life, present and past? But surely not. It's not that you've just heard from your readers how outrageous it is for World to brand Trump and then suggest that we all either vote for an independent, or more directly for Hillary Clinton. Instead, it's more likely it has taken a man of Professor Rigney's stature, shaking his finger at Russell Moore, the Gospel Coalition, World Magazine and Christianity Today to influence the self-righteous treatment of Donald Trump? I'm thinking that maybe you're interestedd in offering the mainstream media your perspective on things, so they have a "religious" flavor to help them draw in the mainstream Christians ... it could sort of be like mision work. And then I'm thinking, "Why bother? You no doubt have the same perspective as Mindy Belz, who has just today informed us that Hillary Clinton is already President." 

William 1958

I can't hold a candle to Marvin Olasky's historical knowledge, nor to John Piper's successor Joe Rigney.

But I think I know enough that Mr. Rigney's analogy implies he knows what God is up to ! And still - he paints Trump and Clinton as equally bad. This is not reality. 

Donald Trump is upsetting the media, the Republicans, and a whole bunch of stiff-necked Christians. How is it not possible that God is thinking, "Gee, only Trump could wake up the masses. And then many good Americans will be motivated for public office. But too bad - Marvin and Joel et all stepped in front of my train." I seriously don't get how this is not a possibility, at least according the the keepers of the scroll.

E Cole

Trump defenders--  What excuse will you give for the damage done to thousands of women who have fled the Republican party and are now tempted to flee churches because they are so disrespected by pastors and elders who are defending Trump? Are they acceptable collateral damage? I agree with everything you want to say about Bill Clinton, but stop pretending that his sins make it right to defend another predator. I don't think you realize how much you are hurting the church, and the tens of thousands of other people who have experienced sexual assault, when you tell us to overlook it. It is especially hurtful when it comes from pastors and elders who are supposed to shepherd us -- not throw us to the wolves in either direction.


I have appreciated WORLD's stands regarding both Trump and Clinton, whether or not I agree with those stands in their entirety.  That said, there is a trend in the evangelical community that I find alarming, and I am extremely alarmed to find it present in this WORLD column.  Many evangelicals are starting to declare each other to be apostate merely for the way they vote--even without an examination of motives.  That is unhelpful and, frankly, un-Christian.  Rigney and Dr. Olasky are wrong to condemn all Clinton and all Trump supporters as trying to manage the judgment of God.  Such a charge is a very, very serious one (arguably warranting church discipline of the accused) and should not be issued lightly.  The charge is wrong here because Professor Rigney is presuming to know the mind of God as to what sort of judgment God intends with this election.  Second, the charge is wrong because it appears to be using the mere act of voting as a test of orthodoxy.  Such a path is dangerous.  Today, evangelicalism condemns voting for Clinton or Trump.  Tomorrow, there will logically have to be condemnations of voting for Mormons, or individualistic libertarians, or flawed candidates for circuit clerk.  To say that voters are wrong to support Trump's or Clinton's sins is appropriate.  To suggest, without further qualification, that merely voting for Trump or Clinton is inherently sinful will ultimately lead to an evangelical world where we draw our daggers against each other during every election--local, state, and national.  I was a political science major, and I love politics.  But I don't want to condemn my Christian brothers and sisters in the  pews next to me simply for disagreeing with me on how best to help our nation.


If Trump and Clinton voters are trying to manage the judgment of God, as Professor Rigney says, then so too are those who vote for third-parties in hopes of winning.  That's another reason I have a problem with Professor Rigney's statements.  He would rule out the possibility of any evangelical opposition to Clinton and/or Trump whatsoever.  That strikes me as less of a Christian approach to politics and more of a pagan, fatalistic approach. 


Psalm 19:12 David pleads "Acquit me of hidden faults,"  This short little verse was preached on by Charles H. Spurgeon, some 15 pages, on a sermon titled "Secret Sins."  For me this sermon was a real soul searcher. If  at times during a Christian walk discover a weakness confessing, this sermon is good bibilical therapy. Agreeing with our old teachers of holy writ one finds just how we are correctly labeled "total depravity."  Understanding ourselves in light of scripture, allows us to also see sin and its distruction to the human beings on this planet. Folks with unchecked ego, self-assumed power, go on to great public status draging internally, and externally secret sins. When they become known to others, the great hypocrisy floods across the landscape. Just how to label Trump and Clinton?  I think their hidden faults are floating to the top, and they are unable to keep them hidden. Then I suspect we probably won't know it all, and never will. There is ONE who does, if HE deems it time to reveal the sludge in their lives, they can not keep them hidden, what God wants out will come out  Just saying...


I don't believe God sent us either Clinton or Trump, I think the voters are responsible for both disasters.

Steve Shive

Thanks Mr Olasky! Lots of good info here. 

That being  said I always marvel at the snipers in the shadows who take these cheap and easy shots after the fact. They wonder why you didn't say this or that. Or why you didn't write this article sooner than that one. Or both at the same time. Raher than assume you and World are doing the best job you can, and with the resources at hand. Every time I write someting I'm never comfortbale that it is completely accurate. Or I want to amplify or balance my arguments. I marvel at good journalism such as I see at World where with deadlines looming, with a constant barrage of new and salacious fodder to sift through that again and again you come out with informative and insightful and even meditative posts. I daily peruse Reuters, Google news and Fox News to get a sense for what is out there. While each has its own mission, and bias, and marketeing, as does World, in general what I read in World is such a breath of fresh air that I am constantly amazed. Sometimes I disagree. Sometimes I think you missed something. Most often I am touched and reminded of eternal truths.

Thanks again, World.


It has everything to do with our witness.  If I claim to be a Christian, but frequently use coarse language, trample on people's dignity, lie, cheat, steal, or fornicate, does that not reflect badly on God himself?  If I excuse such behavior in others for the sake of pragmatism or expediency, does it not do the same?  In America, God has richly blessed us with a political system that allows us to choose our own leaders.  As Christians, I believe we should use our vote to support men and women of good character.  They don't necessarily need to be Christians, but they certainly should meet a minimum standard of integrity.  If no such candidate exists, then we should leave the ballot blank, or write in the name of someone who is fit for the office.  And frankly, I resent the charge that by doing so, I'll be helping elect Hillary Clinton.  That's not on my shoulders.  It's on the shouders of the millions of people who elected a morally bankrupt man to oppose her.



Yes, definitely vote for Mussolini because Berlusconi is intolerable.

WWCD - What would Corrie do?

WWDD - What would Dietrich do?

Can we start submitting entries for the title of your editorial of contrition for an issue in Fall of 2020?

Yeah - you go Bro - definitely better to have Comey vs Gowdy at Justice, Johnson vs Giuliani at Homeland Security and Carter vs Gingrich at defense


Still no excuse is acceptable for asking Trump to resign, but ignoring the need for the Hilary and Bill team to resign. I don’t care if the liberal Christian community asked her to resign or not, many of those groups don’t even believe the Bible is relevant.

Christian influence had a good run in the United States, but asking the unsaved to obey God’s standards has its limitations. It is best for Christians to focus on leading people to Christ! Less words, and more lives that imitate Jesus Christ.


It is increasingly clear to me that the message for evangelical Christians is that we need to focus more on discipleship and less on who is running for office. That may sound obvious, or trite, or silly to whoever reads this, but the fact of the matter is we are to blame if we have not been actively sharing the Gospel and making disciples like Jesus instructed us. Sitting around at our computers reading articles and commenting is fine unless that is all we do. Voting and engaging in political discourse are important but can't compare to engaging sinners and demonstrating God's love. How many Christians are actively engaged in personal evangelism? How many of us follow the Holy Spirit when He leads us to share Christ with our neighbor one-on-one? I'm extremely convicted personally that I haven't been obedient to the Lord of all creation like I should have been. How many divine appointments have missed because I've been preoccupied with worldly things? How clever is Satan at distracting me? I pray that the Lord forgives me and corrects me in this.


I wonder if WORLD ever checked in with Dr.Dobson before jumping the shark?? Are we listening at all to Dr.Ben Carson and others with Half a Brain???

To be truly fair I think you should have ask for both to resign, but at this late date, all you do is run to higher moral ground, for the flood is upon us all!

I think we have some idea of the devestating anti-constitutional destructive results that would happen, even woarse that Mr.BHO, with a Mrs.Clition goverment that we have to go and vote for the lesser of two evils, and have some hope of slowing down the loss of Amr. as we knew it.

BC Powell WY


SBTB - You are exactly right!  Well said!

Web Editor

Thank you. We have corrected the caption.

Judy Farrington

Excellent article. However, photo caption is wrong. Trump and Clinton shook hands AFTER the debate, not before.


If America were a theocracy, then Professor Rigney's analogy would carry more weight.  But since America is not, I don't think he makes a strong case.  All of the Christians I know who are voting for Trump are not looking to him as the savior of America, but rather the lesser of two evils.  What would be helpful is if leading evangelicals would stop endorsing political candidates, especially since leading evangelicals are so closely identified with American Christianity and they have limited information about the candidates they endorse.  There is little doubt America is in irreversible decline (unless God miraculously intervenes); it seems to be a question of how quickly we will hit bottom.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that God Almighty has an unstoppable plan, our citizenship is in Heaven, and we are ambassadors for Christ in America (which does not appear to be an influential nation in the season of Christ's return).


This article brings a little more balance, although I believe Hillary richly deserves her own article by "World" declaring her unfitness... just as Trump has already received.  Or they should have both been in the same article from the outset.

As an aside, I've seen cars driving around near where I live with Muslim Brotherhood bumper stickers (the four fingered "Rabia" symbol) proudly displayed.  Our free society certainly allows  some crazy and dangerous stuff, and liberals like Hillary Clinton couldn't recognize evil if it looked them in the face.  They would just close their eyes and say how beautiful and harmless it is.