Tonight, America stands on the verge of nominating the first-ever presidential nominee who owns a strip club. Is that the new definition of ‘making America great again?’ Really?

Honestly, I’m confused. I’m in pain. As a broken, messy, and yet committed Christ follower, none of this makes sense. I understand our system of government. I get two-party politics, and quite frankly, I think both Republicans and Democrats have some great ideas and some terrible ones (full disclosure, I’m a genuine independent).

But this?

For six months, I’ve tried to understand. I’ve tried to listen. I’ve tried to be patient. I’ve heard the same argument again and again and again.

“Yeah, Trump said, that ‘all the women on the apprentice flirted with me consciously or subconsciously. That’s to be expected,’ but it’s refreshing that he’s speaking his mind.”

“Yeah, Trump told another contestant, ‘it’d be a pretty picture to see her on her knees,’ but he’s just being a guy.”

“Yeah, he said ‘I like people who weren’t captured’ but that just means he’s strong on foreign policy.”

None of those statements deserve a ‘but’ after them. They deserve a period.

As a Christian, I don’t need a leader to share my faith, but I do expect them to value and advance the human dignity of all people, because I believe God made all people in his image. Openly and gleefully objectifying women and mocking prisoners of war does not make him the anti-Christ. It does not put him beyond the reach of God’s grace. It doesn’t even make me a better person than him.

It does, I believe, disqualify him from leading our country.

This political season, I hope and pray we get to debate substantive issues that advance dignity not dependency, celebrate life in all its stages and colors, and remember, in the words of Mother Teresa, ‘If we have no peace, it’s because we’ve forgotten we belong to one another.’

There has been one last ‘but argument’ I’ve heard regarding the would-be candidate. “Yeah, Josh, Trump said all this, BUT you’d still vote for him over Clinton or Sanders.”

No, I won’t.