As candidates for president campaign across the country, participating in the debates and presenting their agendas with hopes of winning your vote, there are many questions that arise. The Scriptures are the standard for Christian behavior, to be certain, and should be considered when deciding how to vote on either an issue or a candidate. Once a decision is made, there is a matter of follow-up. Whether a new amendment to a state law is on the ballot or a candidate is running for office, the Scripture has some general principles that direct a Christian’s vote.
Consider biblical values
Some principles that direct believer’s votes may seem obvious: valuing life, shunning immorality, justice in ruling and honesty. These are important characteristics in a candidate.
How they are to be applied can be a difficult thing to grasp, however. Broader Scriptural axioms, such as the Golden Rule or the command to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, are difficult enough to apply to daily life. It can become far more complicated when it comes to applying them to the state view of welfare, for example. Americans have become accustomed to the state handling care for the poor, and many churches have both misunderstood and found difficult the call to care for them. Regardless of the difficulty, many churches have deacon boards that do a great service to families and individuals in need. This is one of the best examples of how the Church sometimes does a better job at accomplishing a goal than the state does. Where the state has courteous (hopefully!) employees to deal with the needs of a person or family, the local body of believers has a personal concern for not just the physical necessities of life but the spiritual, emotional and familial as well.
Contemplate when to go to war
Another area where complications arise is the area of warfare. War is a hot topic for Christians, especially considering the War on Terror and other recent battles. The Founding Fathers declared the reasons the colonies should be free from Great Britain under King George in no uncertain terms. Furthermore, colonists James Otis and Samuel Adams were sent to discuss the injustices done to the colonies with Parliament. Only after repeated overtures to the rulers of Great Britain and continued injustice were the Declaration of Independence written and the Revolutionary War begun. One of the grievances listed was, “He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.” Non-violent protests were reacted to with a show of military might and unjust violence. As Christians, an understanding of the just war principle is essential to a Christian viewpoint, there are many excellent presentations of the principle online.
The concept of treating others as you would be treated yourself is as old as the Law of Moses. Jesus quoted Leviticus 19:18 and 19:34 in His answers to the Pharisaical teacher who asked Him about the greatest commandment. A new website, designed by the founders of Downsize DC, explores the Golden Rule’s application to political issues of the day. The website, called the Zero Aggression Project and can be found at www.zeroaggressionproject.com.
Be informed and in prayer
Christians are exhorted to pray for people who rule over them, so that they may lead peaceful lives. (1Timothy 2:1 – 3) Americans have the added privilege of being able to choose leaders by voting. Samuel Adams said of voting, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or complement to an individual, or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society, for which he is accountable to both God and his country.”
Part of executing the trust given to citizens is to be an informed voter. Some resources for voting can be found online, others can be sent for, and a person may even find one or two in a congregation’s information area. Two resources for choosing a candidate that can be found online are www.ontheissues.org/Quiz.htm and ISideWith.com. The On the Issues site has information from every political leader (nationally) that is currently in office or running for office and will also give information concerning what candidate is closest to any position held. ISideWith.com has more detailed questions that permit fine-tuning of a response to any question. VoteSmart.org, another online resource, provides a look at key votes and positions of candidates for office. If a candidate refuses to answer a survey, one can find that out as well. There are also sites designed specifically for Christians, the hub for these sites can be found at www.christianvoterguide.com. The Christian Voter Guide site covers both the more traditional groups, such as the American Family Association and the Christian Coalition, and newer groups such as I Vote Pro Life First. The resources one chooses can be an effective tool for assisting in casting a biblically informed vote.
Penni Bulten is a homeschooling mom who is fascinated with the Founding Fathers and their faith. She can be reached at [email protected].