13 August 2012

How Should Christians Vote in November?

American politics is messy.  It always has been and shows no sign of ever diverging from that course.  Those seeking the highest office in the land have always had to play the political game to a certain degree.  Those seeking office have always pandered, postured, and pontificated.  However, if you read, listen and really pay attention to what the candidates themselves put out there and look at the actual track record, you can get to the values and ideals of the man.  You often have to go beyond the sound bites of what passes as news these days and spend a little time digging into each candidates own websites and publications.

Without a doubt the driving issue this election year is the economy.  We've practically forgotten that we are still at war, and social issues have moved into the background.  It's natural that people are concerned about economic issues.  We see what's happening in Europe, we see our own financial mess, and we wonder if we going the way of Greece.  With these economic concerns comes much anxiety and fear.  Many people just want to know who can make us secure and put us back on top with the right strategy.  I know that where I live, the coal industry is being systematically picked apart by stifling regulations and a shift in energy policies.  People here are worried.

Even though I live in a place where the economy is worsening and some of the worse-case scenarios for the future are seriously frightening, I believe that the most important issues in the upcoming election are moral.  I believe this because my world view is a Christian one. This world view leads me to the conviction that a country can either do things that recognize a moral God with certain expectations, or disregard Him and do what is right in its own eyes.  The leaders that we elect make these decisions.

The greatest need for America is spiritual awakening.  However, I'm not looking to my presidential candidate as the means by which God may bring it.  If God brings awakening, the biblical pattern and historical reality has been that He will work it through His people.  It will have to begin with Christians getting boldly back to what matters most.  It will happen when churches quit being social clubs and get back to being houses of prayer.  In this upcoming presidential election Christians need to vote as Christians ought to vote - on God's side.

Now, I'm not going to say that one or the other candidate is God's choice.  However, I am asserting that every Christian ought to evaluate each candidate with the Word of God and prayerfully discern who honors God's moral standards better.

I submit that all our issues are ultimately moral at their root.  We talk much about economics, rights, policies, and opinions.  However, every issue is inseparably tethered to moral issues that simply won't go away.  And these moral issues should concern us most.  There are two steps to developing Christian moral thinking about political issues.

First, every Christian must be honest with himself and acknowledge whether he or she truly believes that the Bible is the Word of God with an authority that that label would imply.  Many give lip service to the "Good Book", but live as if it has no consequence on their thinking whatsoever.  Furthermore, many Christians who acknowledge the Bible are extremely ignorant of what's in it.  This is a major problem. 

Please, don't buy into some kind of foolish nonsense that you can be a Christian, but you need not care to know what's in the Bible about the important moral issues of our day.  That's like claiming to be a devoted Kentucky Wildcat basketball fan and never watching a game!  Whether we're talking about Christian values or basketball, the word for such inconsistency is the same - hypocrisy. So, first nail down your conviction about the Bible and understand that your values must be informed by the Bible alone.  I know that this is a narrow view.  But where else would a Christian get his or her values?  We need such a guide from God.  Left to our own we will be swept along with the trends of the majority because of the pressure to conform.       

Second, once we have settled in our hearts to let the Word of God guide our views on moral issues, and we know the content of God's Word on these issues, then we must have a stubborn devotion to the truth.  You and I should know what God's Word teaches that informs us about the practice of abortion and about homosexuality.  We need to know what principles the Bible proclaims about war and the treatment of the poor.  We also, need to know in what ways the Bible speaks to work and economic exploitation.

Take for example the dismal economic recession we have now been in for the past four years.  The reason we are now in the mess we find ourselves is because of greed - a moral issue.  Banks were greedy and irresponsible, the government was greedy, and too many consumers were greedy, living above their means.  It was just a matter of time before the bubble burst and people began to reap the negative consequences of such greed and unwise fiscal policies.

The national debt is a moral issue.  Entitlements are moral issues.  Waste and irresponsibility are moral issues. 

In November you and I will cast a vote for our next president who will cast vision, create policy and wield influence for the next four years.  I challenge you to look at all the issues through a biblical and moral lens.  I firmly believe God wants us to align ourselves with what His Word teaches us about economics, sexuality and family, life, war, and what it truly means to be a compassionate society.  God has never endorsed a political party, but I can't help but think that God would want his people to choose in our republic a leader that best possesses commitments and intentions in regard to moral issues that best line up with His Word, which is His will. 

Don't be captive to anyone, any party, or any agenda. Let your mind, heart and will be captive only to the Word of God all the time, even when you exercise your privilege to vote.  It may be your privilege, but if you are a child of God, you have been bought with a price and you are not your own - ever (1 Cor. 6:20).       

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