Bethel Church's Bill Johnson: Why I Voted For Trump
The senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, has announced that he voted for president-elect Donald Trump in Tuesday's US election.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, Bill Johnson – who founded the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry with his wife, Beni – wrote: "I was told if I voted for Trump I needed to open my Bible to find out why it was morally wrong. So I did, and this is what I found."
He went on to outline the reasons he voted for Trump and not for his Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton.
"I found that murder/abortion was wrong, which Clinton approves of even up to the point of delivery. Changing the name from baby to fetus doesn't change reality. It's a baby. A woman has a right to decide what happens to her own body. But all of our rights stop when they violate the rights of another – in this case the unborn," Johnson said.
"I also found that one of the main biblical purposes of authority is to speak on behalf of those who have no voice. The unborn qualify. They wait silently for someone to stand up and speak. Clinton has refused to do so."
He accused Clinton of deception over the 2012 attack on US government facilities in Benghazi, and of violating a "core value of God's kingdom" – honesty – regarding the email scandal.
He also criticised so-called "open border" policies: "I found that compassion for aliens (visitors to a nation) is vital, but here again the responsibility to provide safety for its citizens comes first."
Johnson then turned his critique to the welfare system. "God gives us the ability to make wealth, and that merely giving people money without work can create a lifestyle of dependency that is dangerous for them and our government," he said.
"The failed liberal agenda espoused by Clinton actually creates the problems they claim to fix. I also found that often times the welfare system masquerades as compassionate when it actually robs people of their much needed self esteem gained in their ability to work."
Johnson was equally critical of the legalisation of same-sex marriage, which was signed into US law across all 50 states under President Obama's leadership. "I found that redefining the family according to the latest immoral code is in fact cursed by God," Johnson said. "Tragically this is a primary focus and value of the Clinton candidacy."
Socialism is "contrary to Jesus and His teachings," he continued, deriding the practice of taxing wealthy people more highly. "When government takes from the rich to give to the poor they rob the wealthy of the self esteem gained from being a part of the solution through compassion," he said. "I cannot call it compassion if I take your money and give to someone in need. It's only compassion when I give my own."
Johnson suggested that accusations of racism levelled at Trump were ill-founded: "When I looked at Trumps [sic] personal staff and the workers in his businesses and I found happy minority workers who were very thankful for their boss.
"I also found that accusation is a trick of the devil to create fear, thus manipulating peoples decision making process. I found that the devil himself is called the accuser, and that often times good people fall into that trap thinking they are doing the rest of us a good service by creating an evil image of someone when their perception is in itself wrong. Trump was never called a racist until he ran against Clinton."
Johnson also said that the "liberal agenda" had risked America's relationship with Israel. "I found that he who blesses Israel is blessed of the Lord."
Johnson then added that "Jesus Himself faced", like Trump, challenges of political correctness. "I found that the fear of man, which is the goal of political correctness, is a stench in the nostrils of God for it removes freedom to think for oneself."
Globalisation is "nothing more than a modern Tower of Babel," Johnson continued, and that while "speaking of women in a sexually demeaning way is wrong", as Trump has, "It is inexcusable, but not unforgivable."
"I also found that it is important to forgive people who have asked for forgiveness. Trump acknowledged his error of ten years ago and publicly apologized. I hope that those who judge him for that sin are not also judged for what they did wrong that they have confessed."
Johnson finished by insisting he voted for Trump "with a good conscience", and "I believe the outcome is from the Lord".
"Unfortunately neither Billy Graham or Mother Theresa were running for office. That leaves us with the responsibility to do our best with what we have," he said.
"And as I did for Clinton, Bush, and Obama, I pray for protection for President Trump and his family, that he would have great wisdom for his near impossible assignment, and that he would always listen to godly counsel. I pray that he would increase in favor with God and man. I pray for those who are in despair because of the outcome of this election, that God Himself would give them peace and a hope filled promise.
"And finally I pray that each of us would have a life of realizing the fulfillment of dreams, with great health and blessing in every area of life."
Johnson's wife, Beni, earlier this year outlined her own reasons for backing Trump for President. Bethel Church has 3,000 members and a significant influence among charismatic evangelicals. Its web TV service is viewed by about 30,000 people and around 24,000 people download the Johnsons' sermons every week.
Trump campaigned hard for the evangelical vote during the run-up to the election, and despite some setbacks – including the release of a video in which he could be heard openly speaking about groping women and trying to seduce a married woman – he managed to win them over.
White evangelicals on Tuesday backed Trump by 81 per cent to 16 per cent – a larger margin of the evangelical vote than was achieved by a Republican candidate in the past three elections.