Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Says Who?


A friend in Florida attended a political rally recently and this was one of the pictures she took.

I have some basic, fundamental problems with that sentiment.

1. Jesus (the real Messiah) said the world would know we are His disciples because we love one another.

2. Unless I divulge the information, how I vote is known only to me and God. So, how will the world identify me as a Christian by my vote? Instead, the world may choose to identify me as a racist or a homophobe or a war-monger if my vote is my “witness”. But love for other believers? That’s a witness that can’t be confused.

3. It assumes that genuine Christians have only one choice in the election. And with that assumption is the implication that if I don’t vote that way, I must not be a Christian. Yet, quoting Jesus again (He is the Founder of the movement, and therefore has the authority to define the terms), Christians are born into God’s family by believing that God sent His one and only Son to be their Savior. That simply means that Christianity is not procured nor is it maintained at the ballot box.

There’s a lady here locally who gets revved up every four years and goes on her own personal email campaign to ensure that everyone else understands the issues and where God stands on them. Somehow I’m on her list, although I’ve blocked her on one of my email accounts. It’s not because I prefer to be ignorant of the issues, however. It’s because I see people placing their hope in men and women, not in the eternal Sovereign God.

Bottom line is this: As one of His children I’ll answer to God for my vote. It is my responsibility to both know the issues and whether or not God has given clarity on His position by studying His Word. I believe He has given clear doctrine on such things as life, mercy, justice and our role as stewards of the planet we call home.

Should my faith influence my vote? Absolutely. How can it not? Is my faith proclaimed to the world by my vote? The world that needs to know the salvation offered by God isn’t going to find it by how I vote. What will attract men and women to Christ is how we love one another.
By all means, vote! And base your choice on principles not party. But the genuineness of the Christian culture will be shown in the days ahead by how we love each other. And my hunch is that the opportunities are going to be increased.
(If you want to know my position on the issue of life, simply go over to the right and find posts I've written under the label "Pro-life".)

16 comments:

marie said...

Well said.

CPyxis said...

I find reconciling my Christian beliefs with politics very confusing. There are elements of each political party that seem

The Bible teaches again and again social justice and advocacy for the poor. So I believe strongly in representing and serving the needy and for that reason I support the liberals. The Democratic party is more likely to support programs for the poor, especially children, and is more likely to take a compassionate stance towards needier humans, domestically and internationally. It's simply a fact that we're all children of God and we must treat each other that way.

Yet the Republican party represents more traditional social values such as a pro-life stance, advocating for marriages and families, discouraging substance abuse, and so forth.

So it's hard to decide what to do. Neither candidate embodies all, so in this non-ideal situation with only two major choices, one must struggle to decide which is likely to lead in the most value-driven direction, understanding neither will be perfect.

Paul and Christy said...

Well written. Thanks for an awesome thought provoking post.

Bill and Peggy said...

Rick, I don't usually do this but, I posted picture on my blog of someone you might know.

http://morejourney.blogspot.com

Bill

marcia said...

Very well-said Rick! Heard a very interesting discussion today on Dennis Rainey's Family Life Today broadcast about how many evangelical Christians are perceived as hypocritical and "holier than thou" exactly because of attitudes such as this. We can't elevate ourselves and still expect to be able to connect with our non-Christian neighbors in a way that will attract them to our Jesus! That broadcast caused me to look into myself today...and this post has also made me think! Thank you!

mapsgirl said...

I think this is the first time I've commented on your blog! How exciting!

(I found you through Nate)

Your topic today made me think of a topic our associate minister posted on the blog for our Wednesday night "immersion" service. I thought you might like to read it.

In Canada, we had an election at the beginning of October and we discussed the election, voting, Christianity and "whether or not it is right for a christian, a follower of jesus, to vote their faith."

http://getimmersed.blogspot.com/2008/10/would-it-be-so-wrong-to-pray-for-rain.html

(Just some background...our Wednesday night "immersion" service is a gathering with not a lot of structure but a lot of discussion. There's a good description of it in the "about us" part on the right.)

Thanks for blogging...I do enjoy reading it!

Brenda said...

The outcome of this election will not be a surprise to God. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Rom.13:1) Democrats and Republicans should come together as Americans to support our next president, no matter who he is. We, as Christians, need to uphold our leaders in prayer. Only God has the whole picture, and He is ultimately in control.

melissam2 said...

While I don't agree with the sign holder's expression, I am loathe to judge their heart... for a long time, Christians as a voting block have been chastised and degraded... I believe the sign makers point is - we vote, and we count. Because sadly, they want every vote to count, except votes against them, and they will go to great and expensive lengths to make sure they have "voters" whether they are real or legal. This election season has been sad and troublesome.

The Beaver Bunch said...

I have turned this post over and over in my mind so many times, wondering if I dare comment. Finally, I figured I must, to get it off my mind.

While I agree with all of your post, especially the parts about knowing if we are believers by the way we love one another not because we publicly vote a specific way.

However, I cringe and little when I think about HOW Christians will vote.

Maybe I'm stepping into boiling water by posing this question and I've considered blogging about it myself...guess I'll test the water here on your blog. ;)

Although neither party is perfect, democrat or republican and neither Obama or McCain will make a perfect president (b/c no one is perfect) this question goes thru my mind:

How can you be a christian and vote deomocrat?

Let me follow that by saying that I'm not doubting the power of Christ. AND, the purity of belief does not hinge on your voting party (b/c salvation thru Christ is not an American thing, so how could it?). Rather, I am questioning how one can put down their Bible and vote.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't democrats believe in abortion and support same-sex marriage? For me, I could never face my Creator and say, "I know you said, thou shalt not murder, but I helped promote abortion."

I don't want to pick a fight and maybe I'm just uneducated in the ways of politics, but again how can one be a believer yet still vote in favor of things so blatantly un-biblical.

Sorry if I start a comment frenzy.

The Beaver Bunch said...

Oh, and feel free to point out things un-biblical in either party. Like I said, I tried to educate myself politically, but I find that media sources are often incredibly biased.

Rick Lawrenson said...

@ the beaver bunch -

By your question you make the implication that voting Democrat is impossible for a Christian because it would violate the will of God.

If you logically follow that rationale, then I'm not a Christian because, I'm sad to say, I violate God's will with every sin I commit. When I get angry for an unrighteous reason, for example, I'm in essence "laying down my Bible" which tells me not to sin with my anger. Am I not?

Personally and theologically I do not understand why a Christian would support a candidate who supported abortion rights. But for me to judge that person as a non-Christian? That's "above my pay grade".

The Beaver Bunch said...

I'm sorry if I implied that a Christian could not be democrat. I doubt that God registers us as voters in the U.S.

I guess I was just wondering, if you had any democratic readers, how they justify voting for a candidate that so obviously supports things that are un-biblical. Just because we do things that are sinful, it does not mean that we are no longer christians. Whether it be voting in favor of abortion or, like me for example, struggling with controlling my tongue. Either way, its sin. I'm not less of a christian if I sin.

I know that I too, do things that are un-biblical. I was simply trying to spark discussion.

thestearns said...

Hi Rick,
I found this web site, and while biased (obviously it's showing how pro lifers can vote for Obama) I think it is very informative.

http://prolifeproobama.com/plpo.pdf

I hope this helps others see how I can vote for Obama and be pro life. While I don't agree with his stance personally, I do think that some of his ideas/plans/campaign promises can lower the abortion rate (more so that what McCain has proposed) and that is very important to me.

I think it's also important for believers to realize that pro life isn't just a check on a ballot. I've been guilty of that too many times to count. I think that promoting life is a lifestyle choice...donating to a Crisis Pregnancy Center, participating in a walk for life, (not picketing or marching, I mean doing something non political) etc. When I simply vote but don't DO anything about the abortion rate I think it becomes too easy for me to judge other people, and very clearly we are commanded not to do this.

I hope this helps clarify.

Take care,
Jenni

Amanda said...

I have Christian friends voting democrat and Christian friends voting republican this year. On Nov. 5th, I'll still love them all, yet I feel that my democrat-voting friends are dead wrong.

My Christian friends voting for Obama justify it the same as some of the commenters here. They feel that there are some important social issues that he is supporting that are Biblically sound principles, such as helping the poor with food, shelter, healthcare, etc. For me, abortion is a very heavy issue. I was torn to vote at all until Palin came into the picture. Social reform is essential! But, it is my GOD that governs my giving, helping, serving, not my government.

I fear that many Christians are being deceived into believing that their tax dollars will be spent on noble causes. I work with the poverty population and can tell you that welfare doesn't strengthen people. IT IS BONDAGE.

I know that's not the topic of this post. What I see most about my democrat friends is that they are not very informed...by unbiased sources. Will their vote be considered sinful? That's not my call. Am I confused by their dichotomous actions? Incredibly. My focus, though, has been education, not argument. I feel a post of my own coming on....

Thanks, Rick, for the thinker!

KM said...

Food for Thought:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-wallis/my-personal-faith-priorit_b_137530.html

Jeremy Keegan said...

A vote for either candidate is the result of weighing a tradeoff and deciding which ones you are okay with. Each side has things that are good and things that are bad. A vote for one is a vote FOR some things and AGAINST other things the other candidate was initiating. There are several very important issues to consider, so you have to decide which are the big ones that you can't part with and vote that way.

Steep ourselves in God's Word and pray for discernment in preparation for Tuesday. Don't vote under the influence of man, but under the influence of God, and your vote will assuredly be cast in the right place.

Daniel 4:17 "the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes."