Just this morning I was sitting at breakfast with my wife, watching and listening to the news as we always do. When the commercial break came, we were subjected to one political ad after another. I looked at my wife and said, “I will be so glad for the election to be over so we won’t have to put up with these political commercials anymore!” Or at least for a while.
I understand the importance of free speech as it applies to political discourse. I understand that “mud-slinging” in political campaigns goes all the way back to the earliest years of our nation. I also understand the value of keeping those in office accountable and making the public aware of what they’ve done and said.
But I don’t understand how someone can be a reasonably respectable member of a community and in the public eye, more or less, for years, and then just before an election, suddenly we are told that they are despicable human beings who have done and said despicable things. Until the primary is over; then the accusers link arms with the candidate and tell you why you should vote for the one they had been slandering only a few short weeks before. I don’t know which offends me more: that political campaigns assume we’re stupid enough to fall for such transparent tactics, or that vast numbers of the American public do seem to fall for such transparent tactics.
When it comes to politics, there are other things I don’t understand. I don’t understand how anyone can blindly vote for one party over the other, based on what seems to be brand loyalty, rather than on a serious understanding of what those parties have said and done in recent years. This is way more serious than rooting for the Cubs, no matter what.
I don’t understand how politicians can claim to be people of faith and conscience, and then rationalize taking stands against some of the things their own faith teaches.
I don’t understand how Christians can keep voting for politicians who claim to be people of faith and conscience, who then take stands against some of the things their faith teaches.
I don’t understand how any Christian can vote for any politician who supports taking the lives of babies in their mother’s wombs.
I don’t understand how Christians can vote for candidates without thinking about the effect it will have on the courts. It is the courts, led by the Supreme Court and the appellate courts, which have had the most negative impact on how Christians and churches live out their faith in the public arena. But, hey, we’ll vote for our “team” without thinking about how it might stack the courts against us, possibly for decades.
I don’t understand how people will just stay home and not vote, because neither of the candidates fully lives up to Christian standards. Listen, sometimes neither do we. (I heard what you said when you slammed your fingers in the car door.)
I do understand thinking, “Can’t we come up with better people to choose from than this?” But it won’t be the first time I’ve held my nose and voted for someone.
A candidate has to do more than simply tell me that they are a Christian. I have been sorely disappointed in some politicians who even claimed to be “born again”. I got to the point years ago where I decided I would vote for an atheist if I agreed with his or her stances on the issues. If God used King Nebuchadnezzar for His purposes, then He can use even pagan politicians. But it is still our duty to try to put the best (or at least the best available) in office.
Something that helps me is to remember the book of Judges in the Bible. It was a dark time in Israel’s history, and twice the Scripture said, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25) It sounds a lot like our time. And over and over again, when God’s people were being oppressed, they cried out to God and God sent them a deliverer. But some of those deliverers were not very nice people.
I used to think Samson was cool, kind of the Bible’s answer to Hercules. But Samson was an arrogant, lustful, womanizing man who was disrespectful to his parents. He was hardly a paragon of moral virtue. And yet God used Samson, in spite of his sins and shortcomings, to answer the prayers of His people and deliver them from their enemies.
And I keep praying that God would send us a deliverer: someone God can use despite their shortcomings to deliver us from our enemies, at least for a time. God has already blessed America abundantly. I’m praying that God would have mercy on our country for how we have turned away from Him. And I pray that God might visit our nation once again with a true, heaven-sent revival, another “Great Awakening”. We surely need it.
When Christians are persecuted, the Lord Jesus takes it personally. Jesus confronted Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christians, by saying: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:5) We have an obligation to do what we can to protect Christians, and to protect our ability to live out our faith in the public arena. So get out and vote for those you think will do the most to protect God’s people, those who will help us to live peacefully and quietly so we can tell others how to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
In other words: go vote for Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria!