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How Should Christians Vote?

Yesterday we dealt with the question of should Christians vote.  (You can read it here).  Today we ask how should Christians vote?

The simple answer is that Christians need to vote for politicians and ballot measures that are most in line with the teachings of Christ.  This has been seen most often in Christians voting with two main issues in mind: abortion and homosexuality.

However, I think those are not the only “moral” issues in the election. I think Christians should consider the economic policies of a candidate and determine if they are compatible with a Christian worldview.  I think Christians need to consider the issue of war.  Christians should also go into the voting booth asking the question of which candidates/platforms best fit God’s description of government?  Which group will best limit the evil that we see in our country and reward those who do good?

All of these issues and much more should be considered as one makes a decision on whom, or what, to vote for or against.

My ultimate point is that Christians should vote in accord with their conscience that has been shaped by the Word of God and much prayer.  If we can limit evil we should actively try to do so!

Two questions I have for my readers:

1. Would you ever vote for a candidate that differed with you on the issues of abortion and homosexuality, but agreed with you in other areas?

2. What other issues do you think Christians need to consider when voting?


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14 Comments

  1. Hello again,

    This post really highlights what I often call the “squishiness of politics.” To answer your first question, tell me how you would resolve the following dilemma: You have the choice to vote for two candidates. One is pro-life, the other pro-choice. The pro-choice candidate wants to implement some policies (education, birth control, etc….) that would at the very minimum keep the number of abortions static, if not lower them. The pro-life candidate says that abortion needs to be outlawed and Roe v. Wade overturned. But, during that candidates first term as President, he did nothing to address the issues as he claimed he would, and the number of abortions increased. Who do you vote for? Do you vote for the pro-life candidate because he “says” things that accord with your beliefs, or do you vote for the pro-choice candidate because fewer children will actually be killed?

    I’m not a democrat, for those who may assume such.

    I believe that it is a fundamental mistake to think that we can accomplish God’s will through means of earthly kingdoms. We’re fighting a spiritual war with fleshly weapons.

    Thanks
    Jim Canada

  2. Wesley

    October 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Jim,

    I do not think we disagree on the idea that government is not the place to accomplish all of God’s will. (Although God established government so it has a place in His will). I am going to write a post this weekend concerning the idolatry of believing that Government is the solution and not hearts changed by the gospels. I think you are coming from the same position I am. We have both seen individuals go to far with the political game, believing that you can change people through legislation. I also think we can spend an inordinate amount of time on politics as Christians.

    I find it funny that you put the disclaimer “I am not a democrat.” To me that is another real problem we have in the church is believing that one party holds the “truth” and is “God’s” party instead of evaluating and critiquing the problems of both parties.

    Finally, you make a great point (one that I thought about making myself, but might not have to not) concerning promises verses results. Christians do not need to be gullible and simply vote for candidates who say they will accomplish certain things, but with no real “teeth” to their words.

    A second finally, I do believe politics are not cut and dry and that is why I believe and defend a Christians choose to either vote or not vote, while also arguing that in my view of Scripture that voting is legitimate and that government, while not being the solution, is a way in which God limits evil in this world.

  3. Jim~ Not sure how we can vote for either the Dem or the Rep in your post based on “results” unless of course one of them were actually already in the position and doing the work. I would say the post is flawed for that reason unless I am missing the point.

    If the question is, all things being equal, I would never vote with a pro-choice candidate. My mind bogels at times thinking about how people, especially women, could consider this practice as any but barbaric. Get and read the book Gianna, a late term saline abortion survivor who is in her 30’s and ask yourself, was she “just” a fetus or was she a real, live, breathing, living human being. You can also see some video’s of her giving speeches on youtube.

    Sorry for the rant!!

    That is the deal breaker for me, no matter what, if you are pro-choice, I’m not for you. If you tax me to death, pass any other law, create jobs, none of it matters if you are pro-choice. That may sound narrow minded, but that’s OK, I’m good on the narrow path. Homosexuality is not a deal breaker, but would lead me to believe there are many other issues I would disagree with the candidate on and would surely delve deeper into their voting record and future policy promises or agendas.

    Thanks Wesley

  4. GET OUT AND VOTE!!

  5. Wesley

    October 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Carl,

    Thanks for writing and this is a place for ranting as long as it is not attacking someone in particular or outside the realm of Christian charity (which yours was not). Appreciate you sharing with us.

    Wesley

  6. Carl,

    i am not sure you saw the point of my post. This is exactly what the scenario would have been if President Obama had run against President Bush.
    I understand your Pro-Life sentiment (which I share) but it’s not really noble if it perpetuates the deaths of unborn children.
    In regards to the book you mentioned, I don’t need to ask myself if she was a real, live human being. I know she was. That’s not the point. The point is, that politics in not the avenue for Christians to really effect change in the world.
    And while we’re recommending books every Christian needs to read “Myth of a Christian Nation” by Gregory Boyd.

    Jim

  7. Wesley,

    I put the “I am not a Democrat” disclaimer because far too often when discussing politics with Christians they think you must be some loony liberal if you don’t fall in “lock step” with the conservative talking points, or drink the O’Reilly/Hannity/Beck kool-aid.
    I don’t think it is wrong for people to vote, but I do think it is sad that many Christians think they are doing God’s will in the ballot box.

    Jim

  8. Wesley

    October 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Jim,

    Thanks for stopping by again and making comments. I have really appreciated your dialogue. Thanks for mentioning the Boyd book. I read his blog and know where he stands on this issue and I am sympathetic to his position. I think the church can never become beholden to a party or a national agenda.

    I do not think we disagree, but maybe I’m missing something.

    As to your last comment “Christians think they are doing God’s will in the ballot box.” Let me make a final comment and wait for your response:

    I think a proper understanding of the Lordship of Jesus and living in His Kingdoms means that we attempt to do God’s will wherever we are.

  9. Wesley

    October 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for commenting on the website. I think we would agree. I am very much in line with Boyd’s views. I think Christianity can be hijacked (and in a lot of cases is) by a certain political ideology.

    I also think Christians put way too much emphasis on politics, and “saving the nation.” Both of which I think lean heavily toward idolatry.

    I might not be making the point I want to make in the posts, but my goal is to show that Christians should vote, if we think by voting we can either limit evil or promote good. The reason I believe this is because God has given government this responsibility.

    I do not, nor would I ever argue, that somehow changing legislation changes people’s lives and thus accomplishes kingdom goals. My goal is to vote in a way that helps government accomplishes its goals and allows me to function in a way to work with God in accomplishing kingdom work.

  10. I don’t think trying to “save the nation” by voting is wrong. We never know what seed we might plant along the way and if we would all be more bold with His word maybe our nation would have more morality today.

  11. Wesley

    October 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks Connie,

    If you read my posts on the subject I think I’m clear that we should vote in a way that limits evil and promotes good. I also think we want to live in a nation that honors God’s moral standard.

    My point was a matter of emphasis.

  12. To sum up my position on the issue of how to vote, I believe that God is soverign and is in control of all things. However, He uses Christians to accomplish His will if we will only be obedient to Him. I helped to craft a position paper on this exact topic that was adopted by a pro-family group in Iowa where we are trying to overturn a court decision that allows homosexuals to marry. Sorry for the length.

    In Search of Christian Statesmen
    The United States was founded by religious men who were nearly all followers of Jesus Christ. It was from their understanding of Biblical principles that they molded a nation unlike any in human history. Thanks to the faithfulness of the Christian statesmen who founded this great nation, we have enjoyed unprecedented blessing in the United States. John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Second President of the United States, said on June 21, 1776,
    “It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”
    Those thoughts were echoed and applied by John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, when he said,
    “It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
    Throughout our national history, we have been blessed to live under the leadership of many men and women who recognize and publicly acknowledge God’s role in the success of the American experiment. Robert Winthrop, the 22nd Speaker of the US House of Representatives, once said,
    “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”
    President Ronald Reagan, during a 1984 radio address to the nation, summed up the attitudes of the founders on the role of faith in government when he said,
    “The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”
    In order to pass on to posterity a state and nation well positioned to enjoy God’s renewed blessings, the Iowa Family PAC, along with the staff and Board of Directors for the Iowa Family Policy Center Action (IFPC Action), recognize the need to seek out and promote Christian statesmen to public office who are bold yet compassionate statesmen leaders. To this, we commit significant resources and our best efforts, acknowledging our continued dependence upon God to bless and preserve our state and nation.
    We intend to seek out potential statesmen leaders and public servants who publicly profess a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and illustrate that their pursuit of God’s truth is more important than the pursuit of political power or personal profit. (Deuteronomy 1:17; II Chronicles 19:6-7) They should not be influenced by flattery or favors, (Deuteronomy 16:19) and should place the interests of the people above the demands of personal and special interests. (Deuteronomy 17:17; Leviticus 19:15)
    They must be capable, God-fearing, trustworthy men or women who seek righteousness and avoid wickedness. (Exodus 18:21) They must be brave and willing to fight for what is right, well spoken, and the evidence of God’s calling must be apparent. (I Samuel 16:18) In addition, potential statesmen leaders and public servants who are leaders in their own families, communicate a consistent vision, keep their word, seek and consider sound advice from other God-fearing people, and correct wrong with wisdom, patience, facts and a Godly caring for others.

    The Iowa Family PAC, and IFPC Action, intend to seek out potential statesmen leaders and public servants who will commit to uphold the biblical principles of individual responsibility, recognize family as the foundational unit for social structure, defend the sanctity of human life, commit to limiting the size and cost of government, promote high quality education and the ability to choose between public, private, and home education, encourage an ethical free enterprise system, and defend the Constitutional separation of powers. In general, they should promote the moral truth that our Founding Fathers drew from the Bible as the principal foundation for our society and Constitution.
    There is no separation of religious and secular in this world that God created, candidates must understand His standards for right living and righteous leadership are universally applicable. So, with an acknowledgment of the fact that every candidate and elected official is human and lives in a fallen world, the Iowa Family PAC and IFPC Action will seek to apply the same standard of morality, ethics, and behavior to civic leaders as are applicable to religious leaders, the Iowa Family PAC, IFPC Action, its Board of Directors, its officers, and its employees. (I Timothy 3:4-5; Proverbs 25:28)
    When civic leaders with whom the Iowa Family PAC and IFPC Action have partnered fail to meet, or openly rebel against, Biblical standards and principles, we commit to privately calling on those individuals to make appropriate corrections. If the deviation continues, the Iowa Family PAC and IFPC Action reserve the right to publicly call for corrective action, retribution, or the resignation of the rebellious ruler.

    The Iowa Family PAC and IFPC Action will not measure one candidate for office against another. Instead, each candidate will be measured by their desire and efforts to honor God by striving to meet His standard. There is no obligation on the part of the Iowa Family PAC, or any follower of Christ, to support “the lesser of two evils” in any political contest. When no candidate exists who can sufficiently make the case that they will strive to honor God as a statesman leader, the Iowa Family PAC will seek to represent God’s principles in the political process without endorsing any candidate.

    The Iowa Family PAC does not accept the notion that by refusing to support one candidate we somehow become responsible for the election of another. We answer to God, not to a political party.
    According to the Bible, “God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” (Psalm 75:7) Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
    On August 19, 1840, Daniel Webster said, “Nothing is more unfounded than the notion that any man has a right to an office. This must depend on the choice of others, and consequently upon the opinions of others, in relation to his fitness and qualification for office. No man can be said to have a right to that which others may withhold from him at pleasure.”
    It is our desire to determine who God would have us support for office, and not presume to be able to apply God’s blessing to the candidate of our merely human choice.

  13. Wesley

    October 31, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Mark don’t worry about the length I appreciate you taking the time as a Christian to think through these important issues. I hope that all Christians will think through the issues in a Christian worldview.

  14. I cannot vote for a candidate just because we have the same views on abortion and same sex marriage. I also have to look at what his views are on taxes, war, etc. Regardless of who we have in office, democratic, or republican, we are still going to have abortion, abortion has always been around and its not going anywhere becasue of who is in office. Same sex marriage has been on the rise for many years, even back when we had a republican in the White House….so truth is, regardless of who is in the office these things are going to take place. God already knows what is going to happen, and these things must take place in order to set up the path for His coming. So while I cannot agree with the democrats on many of there stands, I also cannot vote for a republican who I feel is going to put this country in more of a financial strain thn we are already in

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