God and the Presidential Elections, Part 2


As my author friend Julie Carobini noted in her blog today, it’s nearly impossible to get away from tomorrow’s election. I was at a luncheon at church yesterday, and before you knew it, the topic had turned to politics.

Of course, here in California, we have some major issues to consider as well as national, state, and local leaders and judges to vote for.

I sat down this morning to take a look at the 141 page official election guide, and it’s pretty hard not to think, huh? How much easier it would be to let the ads I’ve been hearing over the weeks guide my decisions. I mean, some of them are so convincing. Then again, some seem too frequent (why is someone willing to spend that much money to defeat this proposition, and who are those people clumped together in those groups listed at the bottom of the ad in such tiny print it’s impossible to read?)

The pervading question I have is, how should my Christian faith inform my decisions?

You see, one thing we can know for certain: the best of candidates will not always make decisions that I like or even understand, and most certainly the opposition, at some point, will cast dispersions on that person’s record or character.

So how much time should I spend learning the truth? And, the truth about what? I mean, some candidates seem like quicksilver when it comes to trying to pin them down about their beliefs. And when it comes to voting record, that seems like an unsubstantial measuring stick because bills in Congress are loaded down with riders and pork, all in the name of compromise. What happened to real compromise, in which a bill on spending is modified to the point that it becomes an acceptable amount of spending to the majority or an acceptable target for spending in the eyes of the majority, not glutted with bribes to insure enough votes for passage?

A “litmus test” issue would simplify the decision. I won’t vote for Senator X because he states he is for (or against) subject Y. The problem with that approach is, subject Y may have little to do with performing the tasks of President, or councilman, representative, or whatever other office we may have on our particular ballots tomorrow.

Where does that leave us? I suggest it leaves us where God wants us—on our knees and in His Word.

On our knees, I’ve already mentioned, but in His Word is equally important. In fact, as I see it, in His Word should guide me in all my decisions.

What does God say in His word about money, for example, since much is being made in this election about the economy. Well, there are some specific things, like render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and owe no man and give your cloak also when someone asks for your shirt (RLM version 😉 ). Plus, we’re not to worry about food and clothing, because look at the way God clothes the birds and the flowers; or this truth—God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He cares for us. Also we’re to store up our treasure in heaven, not on the earth where moths and rust can get to it.

What’s it all mean? I suppose each one of us needs to be before God, asking that question. For me, to misquote a political pundit of some sixteen years ago, It’s NOT about the economy, dip-head. 🙂

Here’s what Paul said when he told Timothy to pray for those in government:

I urge that entrities and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godiness and dignity.

Given this admonition, it seems logical that we Christians living in a democracy should then vote for leaders and policies and judges who will promote these same qualities. Not so our lives will be comfy-cozy, however. The passage goes on to say

this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all …

So the point is, God finds it good and acceptable for our society to be one of godliness and dignity, where we can lead a tranquil and quiet life. It is within this context that we can make the truth of Jesus Christ known at home and abroad.

So who do we vote for? What propositions do we say yes to? Turn the question around: What candidates will use their authority to create (and what propositions will add to the creation of) a tranquil and quiet society in all godliness and dignity?

Still not easy, is it. OK, let’s try one more thing. My newspaper had a list of “where do the candidates stand.” My list, keeping to the above principles, would include things like this:

  • illegal immigration
  • right to life
  • war on terrorism
  • energy independence
  • standard for selecting judges
  • plans for working with the opposing party
  • dealing with corruption in government
  • upholding the God-ordained definition of marriage

What about health care, education, social security, Wall Street bailouts, and the like? I’m not so sure a government health care system will lead to godliness and dignity or a tranquil and quiet life. Perhaps an education policy would, though I tend to think parents in local school districts are better equipped to know for their own children, their own communities. Social security? I may be a fatalist on that one. The system was never designed to last in perpetuity, but now it is a “right.” And Wall Street bailouts? Perhaps we should deal with greed and the way we have turned investment into gambling. If there was a candidate addressing those issues, then I could add the subject to the list.

Of course, I have little to go on but the candidates’ words and what others say about them. In the end, I’m trusting God to guide my decision according to His will. May He so work in and through the elections.

Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm  Comments (11)  
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