Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

My Born Again Christian father would have sat this election out

Marty Essen

My father died in 2011, at the age of 84. Although I loved my dad, sometimes it was hard to distinguish whether he was my parent or my “personal evangelist.” He was a Born Again Christian, who followed the Republican Party as if it were “The Father, Son, and GOP.”

When we didn’t argue about religion, we argued about politics. And I have to say: I never once won an argument with him. I am a man of science, but as soon as I’d pin my dad down with some scientific fact, he’d wiggle out with something along the lines of “Anything is possible with God,” or “God would never side with a pro-abortion party,” or “We don’t need to worry about global warming because God will fix it,” or by quoting some Bible passage that only he could interpret in the necessary way.

Toward the end, when my Dad had heart problems, I stood even less of a chance in our arguments, as I’d always worry that if I pushed too hard, he’d get too upset and have a heart attack on the spot.

I bring this up today, because the upcoming presidential election often gets me thinking about where my dad would have stood. Sure he was a Fox News devotee and an avid Pat Robertson follower, but I don’t think even he could have backed someone as extreme as Donald Trump. In the Bible, Jesus never criticized people for being gay or having an abortion, but he sure as hell did criticize people who were filthy rich, mean spirited, and lacked generosity. Donald Trump is exactly the kind of person that Jesus warned about!

If my dad were alive today, my guess is that he would have sat out this election. I would have finally won my argument that the GOP is a party without integrity—and Trump is Exhibit #1. Conversely, I could have never convinced him to vote for Hillary, because of her stance on abortion. So it would have been a half-win for each of us. And for me that half-win would have been a great moment—one I will sadly miss experiencing.

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