Virginia Rev. John B. Carpenter pledged he would be a “Never Trump” voter in 2016. Donald Trump’s past troubled him, and he questioned Trump’s sincerity on a number of issues, including abortion.
Four years later, Carpenter has changed his mind.
In a column at the Christian Post, he explained why he now supports the Republican president and why he believes others should, too.
Carpenter admitted to “incessant campaigning” against Trump in 2016, including signing a “Never Trump” pledge. Through his writings, he said he also tried to persuade other Christians not to support the Republican candidate.
“I have a Ph.D. in church history studying the Puritans and am the pastor of a Reformed church and Mr. Trump struck me as a decline from the kinds of leaders Puritans would expect,” he wrote. “I argued that he had a checkered past, that he was unlikely to support the causes which Christians should be most committed to (namely, life — including for the unborn — and religious liberty) …”
Slowly, however, Carpenter said he began to see Trump living up to his promises to Christians and pro-life advocates. He said the president has been “surprisingly good” on the sanctity of human life and religious freedom.
“He’s nominated consistently pro-life judges, done what he can do to defund Planned Parenthood, and spoken up more loudly on the issue than any president in history,” Carpenter said. “Since pro-life issues are the leading issues guiding Christians today, Mr. Trump has earned the support of Christians.”
This November, Carpenter said he plans to support Trump, not because he is perfect, but because he has taken important steps to protect Americans’ freedom.
“It’s true that Mr. Trump has things in his past that he should be ashamed of. I cringe at Christians who exalt him as if he’s a godly champion,” he continued. “However, when voting for a leader’s re-election, we vote based on what he’s done in office, not what they’ve done before.”
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In the past for years, Carpenter said he has witnessed “a serious threat to the liberties of all Americans” coming from left-wing politicians and activists. He said he fears a “wave of persecution in America that most of us never dreamed was possible” if they win in November.
This could include doctors and nurses being forced to help abort unborn babies or give up their livelihoods, taxpayers being forced to fund elective abortions on unborn babies through all nine months of pregnancy, religious charities being forced to pay for abortions against their mission and more.
Carpenter said he did not buy into the “critical election” rhetoric in 2016, but he realizes just how much is at stake now.
“I would urge you … [to] vote like your liberty depends on it. Because it might,” he concluded.
Trump has lived up to his promises to religious and pro-life voters.
He has been pushing back aggressively against the United Nations’ pro-abortion agenda and insisting that countries support women and children, born and unborn. In 2017, Trump stopped giving American tax dollars to UNFPA because it pushes abortions on other countries and has worked with China for decades to implement its forced abortion population control policies. Trump renewed the order again in 2018 and 2019. The decision cut $32.5 million in funding from the UNFPA budget.
At the national level, Trump also has taken steps to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, of millions of taxpayer dollars through Title X and other programs. However, many of these efforts have been thwarted by lawsuits and pro-abortion state leaders who are giving state taxpayer funds to the abortion chain to replace Trump’s cuts.
Last year, his administration also introduced new restrictions to stop taxpayer dollars from funding research using aborted baby body parts.
The Trump administration also came to the aid of a Vermont nurse after she said her employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, tricked her into participating in an abortion against her will by telling her it was a miscarriage.
Additionally, in 2019, it created a new regulation to enforce conscience protections by punishing medical groups that discriminate against pro-life medical workers. Two federal judges invalidated the rule after pro-abortion groups filed suit, but doctors and medical professionals are fighting back.
Trump also has called out Democrats for blocking a bill to protect newborn babies from infanticide. Earlier this year, he became the first president to speak in-person at the March for Life. He also appointed conservative judges to courts throughout the U.S. and promised to sign a law banning late-term abortions if it reaches his desk.
The Republican president also has filled his administration with strong pro-life leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence and Ben Carson.