Three Principles to Consider Before You Vote
The late Clayton Christensen, Professor at Harvard University, was told by a Marxist economist from China “I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy.” This Chinese Communist assumed democracy in America worked because “most Americans, most of the time, follow the rules, not just because they are accountable to society, but because they are accountable to God.”
We are all accountable to God (Romans 14:12). God’s Word tells us that government is appointed by God to minister good and bear the sword to those who do evil (Romans 13:1-4). We are to pray for our leaders that we may live quiet and peaceable lives (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
But American attitudes are changing. Christianity is losing influence in society marked largely by declining church attendance. Pew research indicates that evangelical Protestants are the largest attenders at 58%, where Catholics and mainline Protestants fall into the 30% range and Jews attending synagogue less than 20%. These statistics tell us how far our nation has strayed from our founding Judeo-Christian principles.
These markers indicate why this Presidential election is so critical. Will we move in the direction of our founding principles or turn away from them? In the haze of the election cycle how can we filter through the noise and discharge our biblical responsibility prudently?
To begin, we must remember Jesus is not on the ballot. Even if He were, some would vote against Him as we see in the Bible! There are no perfect candidates. Yet, we have a responsibility to cast our vote wisely and for the best option available to us.
When studying the candidates consider the following principles:
- Platform vs Person. The policy platform on which the candidate governs has a greater impact on the country than the person’s personality. We may not like aspects of the candidate’s personality but the policies are what personally impact our lives.
- Individualism vs Collectivism. We are individuals accountable to God not groups accountable to ourselves. Groupthink is more easily controlled and generally destructive. Does the candidate support individual responsibility or promote a victim status?
- Single Issue vs the Whole. Every issue is important but some are much weightier than others. A single issue can override the whole. If a candidate were to promote a return to slavery, that single issue would be so odious that it would lead to their rejection of support. There are candidates that openly advocate abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy and are willing to force taxpayers to pay for it. This is a single issue disqualifier.
But always remember, Christians are to be engaged in the public square and in government. We are stewards of our citizenship. Christians are to be salt and light in this world and effect change for the good (Matthew 5:13-16). When the righteous [laws] are in authority, the people rejoice (Proverbs 29:2). But remember, our hope is in the Lord and not in government.
Bob Pearle serves as the senior pastor of Birchman Baptist Church.