By: Penni Bulten
“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD’” (Joshua 5:13-14).
As Joshua discovered, God transcends the question, “Are you on our side or on our enemies’ side?” He also transcends the American version of the question: Is God a Republican or a Democrat? With both parties pandering to the religious, answers are more complicated than “God is anti-war” or “God is pro-life.”
The principle of protection of innocent life certainly applies to both the preborn child and the victim of unjust war. Yet neither Democrats nor Republicans are justified in presuming God is automatically on their side.
When Is war just?
The Founding Fathers essentially fought a defensive war of revolution: not an offensive war. Reading their grievances in the Declaration of Independence will both encourage and convict. The Founders spelled out the justification for that war quite clearly and laid their case before the world. The world will not always agree; regardless, a case should be clearly presented before a nation goes to war.
Also, war should only be undertaken after all reasonable diplomatic efforts to bring peace have failed. The Old Testament required terms of peace to be offered, even before engaging in the conquest of the Promised Land. The Israelites took this seriously; and the Founding Fathers and their representatives went to England several times before choosing to declare their independence.
Rash national responses to threats are often trumped by Proverbs’ advice: “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Reasonable leaders don’t start fights without reasonable goals. This also applies when a nation must keep its word to defend a weaker nation: Joshua followed through on his pledge to the aid the Gibeonites when they were in danger, and all were delivered.
Are America’s wars defensive in nature, or offensive? Is the United States truly aiding nations that want our assistance? In Syria, even conservative Christians question American aid to rebels. Assistance actually worsened the lives of Christians in Aleppo, causing them the hardship of war as well as arming radical Muslim leaders against them.
Despite Democratic rhetoric, both parties share in warmongering that can be questioned on Biblical principles.
Is choice really respected?
Jim Babka of Downsize DC deserves credit for pointing out inconsistency among the Left. Democrats support funding for Planned Parenthood’s “educational purposes,” yet deny funding to soup kitchens, at which host churches propagate their own message—the Gospel.
Yet Republicans serve taxpayers no better demanding the Church be operated with State money. Both inconsistencies arise from disregarding the Constitution, which actually permits neither form of federal funding.
And this is rightly so: the State tends to use funding of nonprofits as a means of control. The prophetic voice of the Church should not be subject to State control; money is often used to control speech within the Church, such as in candidate endorsements or teachings about homosexuality. The authors of the First Amendment had seen similar abuses firsthand.
When the Left eliminates the choice of the taxpayers to abide by conscience, they violate the principle of choice they trumpet so loudly. Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Federal funds for Planned Parenthood’s “educational services” not only force those who oppose abortion propaganda to pay for its dissemination, but also free up other funding sources to pay for abortions directly (vitiating the argument that federal funds do not directly fund abortion).
How shall we vote?
Founding Father Samuel Adams reminds us, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual… he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” When you vote, asking questions about the individual candidate’s stands is vital. The Democratic and Republican Parties have both violated Scriptural principles in their platforms and activities.
But not all Republicans campaign for endless war, nor were all for the Patriot Act and its abridgment of rights. Not all Democrats are pro-abortion, nor do all favor forcing taxpayers to fund Planned Parenthood.
There are also broad varieties of other political parties to choose from. The 2012 Florida presidential ticket listed a dozen choices, such as the Libertarian and Constitution Parties. Contrary to popular belief, no one is locked into the lesser of two evils. Not all states have such free ballot access; this distinct blessing should be used to uphold one’s conscience.
Samuel’s distant cousin John Quincy Adams recognized and dismissed the modern voting dilemma: “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
Penni Bulten is a homeschooling mom who is fascinated with the Founding Fathers and their faith, both the noted and the notable. She can be reached at [email protected].