Monday, October 13, 2008

How Should the Christian Vote?

I don't agree with Chuck Colson too often but, aside from a few hint-hint comments here & there, he wrote a great article for Christianity Today.

Colson said that it is morally & Biblically wrong to simply vote for the most "Christian" candidate, or for the party. Instead, Colson argues we should vote for the candidate who is most honest & just, & is the most qualified for the job. And Colson reminds us we should honor that candidate who seeks to do the right thing for the poor, the hungry, the unborn, the handicapped, the prisoner—those with the least access to political power.

I do find it incongruous that many "Values Voters" forget the Biblical command to do justly & act mercifully towards the poor, the minorities, the prisoner, the whatever-group-it-is-that-costs-us-money. Yes, that is something we have to weigh, isn't it?

Here is an excerpt:

That's why not voting or rejecting candidates because they are not perfect on some biblical or political score sheet is a dereliction of our trust.

So is voting for a candidate simply because he is a Christian—startling as this may sound. Rather than checking on the candidates' denomination, we should look for the ablest candidate. Martin Luther famously said he would rather be ruled by a competent Turk—that is, a Muslim—than an incompetent Christian.

In casting a vote, judgment should ultimately be guided by what we perceive to be the common good, a term not often heard in today's special interest–charged political debates. .. But if we look at politics from God's perspective, we see that he has a deep and abiding interest in all people being treated fairly. If God favors any "special interest group," it is the poor, the hungry, the unborn, the handicapped, the prisoner—those with the least access to political power.

This is why we Christians should never allow ourselves to be, as the press has often characterized us, just another special interest group pleading for our agendas only. But if we were a special interest group, we would be lobbying for the dignity of all, especially those who can't always speak for themselves.

So maybe a particular candidate isn't going to cut your taxes or vote for your favorite program, but the real question is, will he serve all the people, or only the loudest?

To me, the Christian vote is a matter of principles, not politics. On one hand the ethic of Jesus demands I value people ahead of money; justice ahead of greed;
compassion ahead of doubt. But the other side of that ethical stewardship reminds me that the US is not a money tree to do anything & everything for everyone.

And there is the problem.

I used to follow
Colson & the rest of the Religious Right like a Lemming after three Mtn. Dews. I spouted the line; captured the mantra; cited the "Biblical Principles" that were nothing more than political talking points designed to manipulate my faith to garner my vote. No more. I now think.

I'm undecided how I will vote but I know I will --- not missed a vote since 1982. Even local elections. What I do know is there are certain principles that are non-
negotiables with me & neither candidate adheres to all those non-negotiables. My oldest said that he plans on writing my name in for several local office seats. Of course, he laughed about it but he is serious.

Don't doubt him for a minute.

Me thinks I may write his name in as a Presidential candidate. He is a fine
young man of whom I am very proud. Third year at Berry College. Top grades. Great soccer player. Faithful. Ethical. Honest. A man of character.

Whatever happens, equating faith & politics is a dangerous game. Voting is about choosing the most qualified candidate, regardless of faith. Keep faith & politics separate. They both become
unbearable when melded together.


Georgia Mountain Man said...

Good one! The first really sensible and un-biased post on this subject that I have seen. I admire your approach to voting, and I know that when you make up your mind, you will have voted your true conscience, whether it's a write-in or one of the others. By the way, how do you write-in on an electronic machine?

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

I don't know how to do a write in but I'm gonna find out!

Georgia Mountain Man said...

I have already voted this year, but there were a couple of write-ins that I wanted to do. When you find out, let us know.

Stephen fox said...

How are your Georgians coming down in the Saxby Chambliss race?
Can he be unseated??

tsalagiman1 said...

Hi Ryan,
Chuck Colson is excellent. Have you seen his series from around 10-15 years ago, "The State of the Church"? Excellent!

One thing voters must remember though - the party a candidate belongs to DOES matter. Regardless of the rhetoric you hear at election time, regardless of the party, the candidate MUST be committed to their party & MUST carry out the party platform once elected. When there's a difference between what a candidate promises to do & the party platform, the party platform will prevail.


P.S. - AOL kicked us all out, so I'm over here now. I'm following your blog & have you saved in favorites.

tsalagiman1 said...
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