In polite society, you’re not supposed to talk about politics, sex, or religion. Sorry, but this column will discuss all three, directly or indirectly. In America, we get the kind of government we deserve. Is this the best we can do? There certainly is a big divide in how we approach politics, even among well-meaning Christians.
I was asked to speak at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church recently, and the title was given to me: “To vote or not to vote?” Are you serious? How can we not vote? We’re in such a mess because we haven’t been voting our values. I believe voting is imperative for the follower of Jesus.
Jesus said that we are to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17). Surely, included in rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s would include voting.
It’s our duty to cast a ballot. It’s also our privilege. I know a man personally who risked his life with six other Cubans to flee the communist island. They rowed for 48 long hours in a rickety row boat with a hole in it. One of them had to bail out the water all the time. After a while, their fingers were bleeding, but they finally made it to the Bahamas. My Cuban friend is glad to be an American and is a patriot. He wouldn’t think of not voting.
Historically, Christians in America applied their faith to virtually every sphere of life including politics. While the founding fathers were not all Christians, the vast majority of them were, and virtually all of them had a biblical worldview. As historian Donald S. Lutz said of the founding fathers (even the unorthodox amongst them), “they knew the Bible down to their fingertips.”
So, for example, they divided power because they knew man is sinful. James Madison, one of the key architects of the Constitution, noted: “All men having power ought not to be trusted.” This is a biblical perspective. Sometimes people complain that the Constitution limits the amount of power any one single branch may have. That was by design… lest we have tyranny from one man or from an oligarchy.
No perfect candidates
When we vote biblical values, we obey what the Lord would have us do. Jesus is not on the ballot, so ultimately we are voting for a sinner. But the question is, “Where do those sinners stand on key issues?”
Too often Christians seem to be waiting for the perfect candidates and can’t bring themselves to vote for someone with many (but not all) right views. We need to vote for the available candidates with the best views, rather than waiting for the perfect candidate who’s not coming.
There are some Christians who are so upset with the current crop of politicians that they may sit this election out. But their non-vote is a vote—a vote for someone with whom they probably would disagree vehemently.
Issues in the Bible
There are many lesser known candidates and amendments that will likely be on the ballot. It behooves us to learn a Christian perspective on these, before we go and vote.
Where do the candidates stand on abortion, traditional marriage, religious freedom, fiscal responsibility or educational issues? All of these are addressed by the Bible.
For example, speaking of fiscal responsibility, Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Yet today, as one person has said, “Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.” I agree with that sentiment. Who said it? Senator Barack Obama in 2006. Too bad as president, he has racked up a bill that seems beyond the reach of even our grandchildren to pay off.
In this country, which had such a godly foundation, we currently have the opportunity to vote our biblical values. But if we continue to lose our freedoms and fall prey to tyrannical government, ultimately, we will only have ourselves to blame.
My long-time pastor, the late D. James Kennedy, Ph.D. said this about Christians and politics in general: “I remember 20 years ago, a Christian said to me, ‘You don’t really believe that Christians should get active in politics do you?’ And I said, with tongue in cheek, ‘Why, of course not, we ought to leave it to the atheists, otherwise, we wouldn’t have anything to complain about. And we’d really rather complain than do something, wouldn’t we?’”
Look at the mess we’re in because many Christians have neglected this duty. Five Houston pastors were having their communications subpoenaed by the mayor because they had spoken out against the bill allowing a man to use the ladies’ room! Their sermons, emails, and text messages had been legally demanded, to see if they had said anything against this bill.
Commenting on that case initiated by the mayor of our nation’s fourth largest city, in his Mike Huckabee News (10/19/14), he comments: “Why has this happened? It’s mainly because good, church-going Christians don’t vote and don’t care.”
It is a privilege to vote. It is our Christian duty to vote. So vote your biblical values. If enough evangelicals and conservative Catholics showed up and voted biblical values, we could carry this election and virtually every election. Our nation’s founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and the sacred honor to give us our freedom. The least we could do is vote… and vote our values.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is co-host of Kennedy Classics. He has written/co-written 24 books. He hosts gracenetradio.com Thursdays at noon. Follow him at tiam.org and @newcombejerry.