An Unstable Temperament is no Match for Nuclear Weapons

Deborah Fikes was the Permanent Representative to the United Nations for World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). She is a lifetime member on the Council on Foreign Relations and was a Board Member of the National Association of Evangelicals in the United States.

As an evangelical, I have spent my career in roles that express my faith — but that also touch politics. My faith teaches that there are fundamental principles that transcend politics. These principles guide us to treat people with respect and decency, to protect the vulnerable, and to treat others as you would wish to be treated — the Golden Rule. I believe embracing these values should be a threshold requirement for any individual seeking the most powerful office in the country. For me, this is the fundamental standard any candidate must meet before he or she can earn my vote.

Jesus tells us that we are to be peacemakers, not creators of conflict and that in the face of affronts to our dignity, we should turn the other cheek. I am greatly concerned about Donald Trump’s capacity to avoid creating conflict and irreparable harm with America’s allies and our adversaries. I am most worried about the danger posed to our nuclear weapons policy by Mr. Trump’s unstable temperament and lack of restraint.

In my years as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) — during which I represented over 650 million evangelicals across 129 countries — one of the most important issues that I encountered involved helping the WEA establish a Task Force on Disarmament. I learned how devastating the consequences of a nuclear event could be for the United States and for the world. Even a limited or localized exchange would cause tens of thousands of lives to be lost, trillions of dollars in physical destruction, and environmental damage that would have global ramifications. As a Christian, I believe that we have a moral obligation to ensure that this kind of evil is never inflicted. Of course, moral concerns about the danger of nuclear weapons do not have to be rooted in faith or theology, but the physical and spiritual effects of a nuclear event should be of the highest concern for those committed to the teachings of Christ.

Mr. Trump has implied that he would be willing to forgo the principle of non- proliferation, suggesting that Japan, South Korea, and perhaps even Saudi Arabia should acquire a nuclear stockpile of their own. He has refused to rule out using a nuclear weapon in Europe and even said that nuclear weapons should be on the table for dealing with ISIS. His erratic statements and inconsistent approach to an issue that requires incredible discipline and tact substantially increases the prospects of a nuclear event and the devastating humanitarian crisis it would leave in its wake. Mr. Trump combines his irresponsible reactions to provocation with ignorance of nuclear strategy, making him uniquely unqualified to control America’s nuclear arsenal.

In speaking with evangelicals around the world, I have seen how leaders and churches respect Hillary Clinton because she is genuine in her values and beliefs. Evangelicals in all regions consider her a “sister in Christ” and someone who lives by the Golden Rule. Many even affectionately refer to her as “Sister Hillary.” She has dedicated her entire life to public service, seeking to improve the lives of those in need, and she understands the delicate intricacies of decisions that will impact millions. Most importantly, Hillary Clinton draws strength from her faith and her morals in times of crisis, instead of forsaking the principles of decency and empathy in the face of confrontation. This is just one of the many non-negotiable reasons that Hillary Clinton is the leader who people of faith can trust, and that I will proudly vote for her on November 8th.