Voting with Both Eyes Open

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Blog | No Comments

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As I ponder and pray about the coming election and what my religious and societal duty to voting the correct person into the office of president is, I find myself engulfed in thought and emotions regarding so much of the words being tossed to and fro by both friends and strangers. I’ve noticed that many Christians who oppose our female candidate immediately go for the throat. That is to say, the logical course of thought is an Ad Hominem, an “attack of the man.” And of course those Christians who oppose our male candidate are doing exactly the same. Now, I want to be clear here I do think there are severely flawed characters in both candidates, and character does matter regarding how the office of the president will be used. But I think there is a bigger and a deeper premise that is hidden or dare I say, that’s being avoided altogether.

         And this hidden premise is the human condition. That is the say, sin. It seems to me that many believers are looking for a candidate who is more like them—better—not so messy in there thinking and their words. The reason I bring this up is because I think it is not only a false premise to base a vote on but it also undermines who God can use. There is a popular story about G. K. Chesterton, in which, as the story goes, he was being interviewed by a local newspaper. The interviewer asked Chesterton what he thought the problem with the world was. Unlike the discussion that seems to be going about all over the place regarding the presidency, he avoided or rather skipped over all the excuses and the myriad of social and cultural issues. Chesterton’s response, I think, is my response, he said “I am,” His answer was that he was what’s wrong with the world. What was he talking about? Let me explain it to you by way of Romans chapter 3, ”What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[1]The point the apostle Paul was making here is very clear. All mankind are desperate sinners!  Marguerite Shuster quoting, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in an article in Christianity Today, mentioned the fact that Niebuhr was known for saying, regarding original sin; “the idea that every one of us is born a sinner and will manifest that sinfulness in his or her life—is the only Christian doctrine that can be empirically verified.”[2] Outside of what Jesus has done for us sinners, we deserve to die. What this does, I think, is level the playing field. It makes it plain that either of our candidates are just like us, in the sense that we are all sinners. Why does this matter? It matters because if we’re going to judge people based on their sins as a measure of who gets our vote. Then we ought to avoid the ballet box altogether fore we enter hypocrits. Just because our particular sin has not been exposed and magnified by the media does not give us justification to shrug them off in our attacks against other people. So what do I think is the answer for both how we ought to vote and this problem I’ve brought up called sin?

          I think the answer is the same for both. In regards to our sin the only answer for mankind is the justification the comes to us only through God’s grace and mercy in the person of Jesus Christ. Which, by the way, is the good news. How does Jesus have anything to do with how we vote? If Jesus as the second person of the Trinity, as God incarnate, set out to display mercy and grace and love with the highest regard towards truth, we are to apply the same principles in our decision to all the offices that require our vote. I think we need to be more thoughtful on what our vote means to not just ourselves and our own pocketbooks and freedoms but also, every person that will be affected that we don’t necessarily touch. Let me give you an example of what I mean. One of the largest issues that I face personally in the race towards presidency and all the offices that are up for the taking, is abortion. It is clear both through the science and philosophical evidences that abortion is the taking of the life of a whole distinct human being.  This is the life that I personally may never come in contact with but as a believer and follower of Christ I must consider how my vote will affect this person. Now, I’m not going to argue why I believe abortion is the taking of life I only mention it to illustrate how our vote affects everyone around us. And we are not to look at the person (candidates) alone and all their good or bad actions that have been magnified by the media.  We must look at the platform and the policies that the person represents and the many offices that will be fulfilled by the president’s choices. So before you enter that voting booth this year let’s set aside all the statistical analysis that we have done on social media that show how much we side with a candidate and how much we oppose the other candidate. And recognize that those percentages do not matter. We ought to look, if you will, through the person of Jesus Christ and how he taught us to live.  Using those tools, of grace, love, and truth. We are not to tolerate the taking of innocent life or any other circumstances that may arise, that contradict the Biblical ethic, based on the policies and platform that our candidates may or may not represent.

[1] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Ro 3:9–18.

[2] Marguerite Shuster; The Mystery of Original Sin:We don’t know why God permitted the Fall, but we know all too well the evil and sin that still plague us; Christianity Today; April 19, 2013