The “Trump” Card
In the card game known as Rook, there is always one color of card that wins over the other colors as you play out a hand. That card is called the trump card. This term has become a synonym for having the upper hand in any given situation. The team with a “go to” player who can take over a game is said to have the trump card. The business that has a product or service that gives it an edge against the competition is said to hold the trump card. “The trump card” has become axiomatic.
As we enter 2016, The United States approaches a familiar event: the election of a President. The interest and excitement of this event begin much earlier and begin to reach fever pitch with the primary season. Christians join the banter on Facebook and blogs, making known their preferences and why. Who will stand for this or protect that right? Who will stand up to the entrenched establishment and give us fresh direction and leadership?
Twenty-four years ago a candidate convinced people that character does not matter when choosing a president. Enough people were convinced so that this man was elected to be President twice. Still widely popular in spite of his obvious character flaws, this man has nevertheless become a living symbol of the character question. His Presidential successes serve to bring into question the necessity, if not the validity, of the character question when it comes to leadership. Is it true that ability, not character, is the real issue regarding leadership in general and Presidential leadership in particular? That the question begs to be ask is evidence of a deep moral decline and a latent, if not blatant, indifference to Biblical morality. But the argument needs to be made for Christian voters at least.
Whether a popular view or not, character is still the trump card when it comes to leadership. Many factors go into the choosing of a President: managerial ability and experience, decision-making discernment, stability under pressure, to name a few. These cannot be discounted. But that without which a man or woman cannot lead well is character, and no one should be more fixed on this one quality than the Christian voter.
When the November elections arrive, we will likely have two candidates to choose between for President. It is very possible that neither will have the depth of character Christians should be looking for in a leader. We often have to choose the best of the bad. But until that day arrives, we should be evaluating each candidate with a shortlist of qualities. At the top of that list should be character or moral integrity. This is the prism through which every candidate is viewed. Impressive promises must be weighed against past actions. Personal and professional values provide a barometer indicating future actions and decisions. Biblically directed Christians, of all people, should be attuned to things beyond the surface and not easily impressed with the impressive. Surely we are learning that our hope is not in the next President, no matter how good he may be. It is imperative, no matter how good or poor our choices, that we lay aside our earthly hopes, distrust our emotions, and cultivate our best Biblical thinking as we invoke our civic and Christian responsibility in the process of choosing our next President.