How can a faithful Christian, in good conscience, vote for a person who is not a biblical Christian? That seems to be the dilemma we face in this year’s presidential campaign. Just so you know, I, personally, am not real thrilled with the choice I have to make this year. In this election, we have two people running, neither of whom are biblical Christians. Barack Obama was part of a church in the very liberal United Church of Christ denomination. His church follows a form of liberation theology which does not reflect biblical Christianity. Mitt Romney, of course, is a Mormon. Interestingly both groups claim to be Christian but, based on a biblical understanding, neither of them are.
So, what are we supposed to do? We actually have several choices. We could simply not vote or vote for one of the smaller party candidates. Another possible choice would be to simply ignore the issues, hold our noses and vote for our preferred party. But as a Christian who wants to be faithful to Christ in fulfilling our civic responsibility, we really need to be more responsible than that.
There is, actually, another choice. As a Christian, our highest loyalty should not be to a political party or to an individual politician. Rather, it should be to Christ. And this applies in this election in a special way since we will not be able to vote for a biblical Christian. This other choice involves understanding the policy implications of the beliefs of the two candidates in order to determine which most closely aligns with our Christian faith. The reason this is so important is because these policy decisions affect the environment we live in. And it is this environment which determines how we are able to express our faith in the culture.
Each of the candidates, based on their worldview beliefs, has a position and promotes policies which determine the environment we will live in – and the policy implications based on the beliefs of these two men are polar opposites on most issues that Christians are concerned with. Here are a few of the major issues that come into play.
Abortion – One candidate is actively pro-abortion, the other anti.
Same sex marriage – One candidate actively advocates for same sex marriage, the other is against it.
Foreign policy – One candidate supports policies which work against our traditional international allies, while the other supports them.
Immigration – One candidate implements policies which encourage illegal immigration, while the other does not.
Taxes – One candidate promotes a tax policy which is redistributive in nature, while the other favors a policy which encourages individuals to reach their own highest potential.
Public vs. private sector – One candidate promotes greater accumulation of power within the government while the other believes power should be more dispersed with an emphasis on the private sector.
Judicial beliefs – One candidate favors the appointment of judges which have a positivist judicial philosophy (it is okay to make judgements based on current societal trends) while the other favors those who have a constructionist view (judgements need to be based on the intent of the law writers).
Use of political power – One believes it is okay to use political power in ways which stretch the letter of the law in order to promote personal political values while the other believes the law must be followed strictly.
There are other differences, of course, but these issues point out the stark contrast we face. As Christians, even if we are not able to vote for a biblical Christian, we can vote for a person who will implement policies which, at least to some extent, reflect Christian beliefs and promote greater freedom. At the very least, this will provide an environment which allows us to live out and share our faith without having to fight against laws and policies which limit the expression of our faith. If we, as Christians, don’t take our civic responsibility seriously, we may very well find ourselves living in an environment which actually promotes abortion and same sex marriage, favors an anti-Christian and anti-Israel foreign policy, allows for massive illegal immigration, implements a tax policy which suppresses personal income growth, inflates government bureaucracies and shrinks the private sector, appoints judges which will increasingly rule against Christian values, and which uses political power in increasingly dictatorial ways.
It is, indeed, important to vote. Even if we can’t vote for a Christian, we can vote for a person who will implement policies which parallel our values and allow us to be more free in the expression of our faith in the culture.