|VOTE Christian! VOTE!|
(by Chris Long)
As Christians, I firmly believe we downright have an obligation before God to know that we did all we could to promote His righteousness in our land. The ability to vote is one such way that we are to do this. Voting allows believers to effect societal change - to put our faith in action - through the election process. I strongly encourage you, both for your sake and your country, to vote.
Billy Graham said, "If America is to survive, we must elect more God-centered men and women to public office; individuals who will seek Divine guidance in the affairs of state."
When it comes to voting, many Christians tend to take a passive approach (as opposed to active) for one or both of the following reasons:
1) They feel like God's will is going to be done regardless, so why bother?
The attitute of "God's will is going to be done no matter what, so why bother" is a dangerous one. We could adopt that same attitude in just about every other area of our lives as well (i.e. why bother fighting sin in our lives, God's will is going to be done anyway...), but it doesn't make it right. It is true that God is in control. He knows what He is doing, for sure. It is also true that this does not abdicate our responsibility. God was in control when Rome fell. God was in control while Hitler was murdering millions of people. Yes, God is in control. He definitely has "His will". The thing about God though is that He often doesn't push His will on people who don't want it. God does honor the choice of humans, both on a personal level (to accept Him or reject Him) and on a national level. The Bible is full of examples of God giving people groups over to bondage, their sins, destroying them, raising them up, healing them, etc. based on the CHOICES of the people. The reality is that there's a mystery to God's sovereignty and our free will, but we are called to do our part. Voting for Godly people and principles is a part of "our part".
As for not having "good" choices, I understand that sometimes it can be frustrating when none of the options (candidates) match well with Scripture and the temptation is to just say "why bother?". But there's almost always one that's closer to God's Word (God's Standard) than another. If you don't vote, then you are giving up your right to pick the one that's closest to principles established in the Bible. In other words, you aren't helping to be part of the solution, but you become a part of the problem by not voting for the one that's "closer". This means even if the choice is between 2 hardcore athiests and they are completely equal in all ways, but one of them adopts 1 position that lines up better with Scripture than the other, that's the one you vote for! If you don't, then you aren't doing all you can do to promote righteousness.
I know it is common for the world, and many Christians as well, to identify themselves politically by a party. To be perfectly honest with you, I really don't care about parties and labels. I'm not a shill for either republicans or democrats. What I am is a Christian. As believers in Jesus Christ who adhere to His standards in His book, I believe we need to be very careful not to get into the label-game that the world gets into, but rather that we vote for people and policies that are in line with the Bible.
God's word tells us things such as:
- That God Himself is the creator of life in the womb and places a high value on all human life
My goal when I go into the voting booth is to vote for people and policies that line up with God's word because that is the SAFEST place for me to be - aligned with God.
That is why when I registered to vote many years back, I registered as an independent. I'm really not interested in identifying as a "republican" or a "democrat" so much as I am "Bible-believing Christian that votes the Bible". (no offense intended if you're registered with a party).
I am just as willing to vote for a democrat as I am a republican as I am a third party, if that person - regardless of their 'label' - as best I can discern - believes in and upholds the standards and principles in God's Word.
However, let's get practical for a minute here and just be honestly realistic with one another. This is the part that some of you are going to hop off my "bus" today and think I've gone too far....At least I warned you... :)
But the reality of what's going on is what it is. I'm not making it up and any look at the stats/positions can confirm it.
The truth is, that while there ARE some exceptions, democrats by and large have adopted positions that are contrary to God's Word. Again, there are exceptions (though they seem few and far between), and I would personally at least consider voting for a democrat that was one of those exceptions. But there has been a shift for several years that really picked up steam in the last several election cycles, where the so called "blue dog democrats" (the more conservative/moderate elements of the democratic party) have been pushed aside by the more liberal/extreme elements.
You might think that this means that I'm all excited about the republicans. But, in some cases, the republicans have been worse because there's a whole group of them that have also abandoned many of the principles and precepts taught in Scripture. Many of these republicans run solely on financial/economic "conservative principles", but are so-called "moderates" on social issues (i.e. abortion, homosexuality). At least with many of the democrats, they are clear liberals with a clear agenda/policies that go against Scripture. But with some of the republicans, they try to play this "wishy-washy" "in the middle" game - i.e. they are lukewarm. And we all know how God feels about those that are lukewarm, right??? It's better to be hot or cold.
So, what does all this mean?
Well, personally, as I said, I try to vote for people and policies that match up with God's Word as best I can, regardless of label, and I firmly believe this is the call for all of us as Christians. Sometimes it's hard to tell. And sometimes neither candidate is perfectly aligned with Scripture in which case I pick the one that's closer. Sometimes there's issues I don't really feel are clearly addressed in Scripture in which case I just do the best I can using my God-given reasoning abilities. But there are plenty of issues that are clear and so I base my votes, as best as I can on those. When it's all said and done, I want people in office that will stand for what is right and denounce what is wrong as revealed in Scripture. I don't want lovers of evil in office - I want righteous men and women who believe in the God of the Bible and are aligned with what HE thinks.
Because of the positions that most democrats have taken, to be honest, it means I can't vote for them. If me saying that makes you feel I've "overstepped my bounds" than so be it. I don't have anything out for the "democrat" label. But their policies are what their policies are. And there's a whole slew of things that as a liberal democratic congress with a liberal democratic president, they have done that downright violate principles and precepts in Scripture. I mean, they pretty much run the gamut: everything from policies towards Israel, support for homosexuality, support for abortion, the role of the church in society, the removal of references to God, support for Islam, and so many more. And I'm not even going to touch the financial issues (many of which also violate financial principles in Scripture.) I mean, I have to work hard to think of an area where they HAVEN'T gone against God's Word, rather than the other way around. This is a problem...
I know most churches have stayed clear of making such blunt statements. And I have as well in the past. If you're not aware, many churches do so because of fear of the IRS taking away their non-profit status if they do. But I think it's time to start calling a spade, a spade. I'm not partisan and I'm not out to bash democrats, but if they as a party have done A,B,C and I can look in Scripture and see where God says the opposite on A,B,C, etc. - well, it just is what it is. And it's time we start being bluntly honest about what is. As Christians, we are to love the truth and proclaim the truth, And we need to be truthfully honest about what positions are Biblical and which ones aren't, and who is where on the spectrum.
People are funny though as I've found even many Christians get so wrapped up in the political ideological game that discussions such as this today can really get the dander up. If you haven't noticed, people have gotten VERY polarized in our society. I would encourage all of us not to fall into the traps that the world falls into with all this stuff, but just to make sure that at the end of the day, we are standing with God because we're standing with His Word! Amen?
So, anyway, if my responsibility before God is to vote for godly people and laws, then it means I have to look at the data (not just the "rhetoric") and make the best calls I can make based on what God's word says. There are a variety of ways you can get the data you need to make informed choices as a Christian. There are groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition (www.traditionalvalues.org) and also sites like www.christianvoterguide.com that may be of help in this area. Another site that I've found useful is www.ontheissues.org This is a non-partisan site that just goes through ACTUAL candidate statements/verifiable facts for various candidates and it is VERY QUICK to see where candidates stand on various issues including abortion and homosexuality (the latter is under the 'Civil Rights' subheading - though some such as myself might take issue with such categorization), etc. You can quickly find out where the candidates REALLY stand based on their PAST STATEMENTS and ACTUAL VOTES, rather than "spin" and carefully scripted speeches.
I encourage all Christians to:
1) Exercise your Christian duty to promote and stand for righteousness in this land by getting out and voting
The beauty of elections in a free society is that the PEOPLE get to choose what kind of country they want. This means that the people themselves get to choose whether they want a society governed by righteousness, or not. While some well-meaning Christians (and others) tend to like to criticise the government for all the "moral failures" and lack-of-righteousness they perceive, the truth is that in America we have the power as people to control who is in government and what kind of policies are enacted. The types of laws and leaders we exalt are merely reflections of who we are as a people.
The end result of all this is that if the people by-and-large are God-fearing people who believe in the Bible and want righteousness in their country, that will happen. But if more people don't believe this way, it won't. It's in the hands of the people. Our elections say more about the state of the hearts of the people then most anything else. This, incidentally, is why the people deciding things can be really GREAT or really BAD (or somewhere in between). It depends on the people. People can be fickle. In Germany, Hitler had great support from the German people. We tend to think like "how could they do that," etc. But the truth, according to the Bible, is that humanity is sinful and is easily deceived.
This is why I believe the real renewal for any country will only come when believers in Jesus Christ acknowledge and repent of the sin and worldliness we've allowed in our own lives and seek to live holy (set apart) lives unto the Lord. Our holiness will lead to a "bright light witness" - where we love others and stand for truth - that in time will bring significant changes to the greater society at large (i.e. more people will end up voting the Bible in the future). Basically, it comes down to the slumbering church needing to wake up and act like the church.
I know this verse is the "oft-quoted" verse...But it can be easy to read and not really take in:
2 Chronicles 7:14 "if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
It's us believers doing the humbling, praying, seeking God's face, turning from our wicked ways....And THEN God does the forgiving of our sin and the healing of our land.
It is my prayer that much healing will be effected/started through God doing incredible things in our elections as we believers humble ourselves, pray & seek God's face, and turn from our wicked ways.
Regardless of what happens or does not happen when all the dust is settled from an election, our faith is not in any men or women or propositions or initiatives. Our faith is in Jesus Christ, the Unchanging One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Love to you in Christ,
This is version 1.1 of this document (October 8, 2012).