Three Myths and the Ethical Voter

    As Christians I believe we are challenged by the scriptures to involve ourselves to make our government as ethical as possible following the precepts of the word of God. There are so many today who simply fail to exercise their voting rights or attempt to justify blatantly ungodly voting choices for self-serving positions.

    According to Jerry Cox of the familycouncil.org there are three myths about Christians involvement in politics.  Like Jerry I too have heard these same arguments/excuses from Christians on a frequent basis.

    moses-ten-commandmentsFirst Myth: “Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics.”  Could anyone argue that Moses was a politician? Did his political actions diminish his spirituality or his godliness? The entire of the Old Testament is about God’s selection of his chosen people and their political and spiritual journey as a nation.   Sometimes it was closer to God,and other times it was far away.  The politicians (Leaders,Judges,Kings) ruled the people and in in turn were influenced by the expressed will of the people.  God gave many directions to the people as to the direction for their nation.  It was not just the Judges or Kings that were held to account but every member of the society.  “If my people,which are called by my name,shall humble themselves,and pray,and seek my face,and turn from their wicked ways;then will I hear from heaven,and will forgive their sin,and will heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14.  It does not say,“If the king . . .”  This is not a commandment to the leadership,but to the people who are expected to follow God,express their will to do so and collectively to turn the politicians/leaders toward God. Should they fail to do so,they will certainly not be held blameless in the results that came for violating God’s command.  In Mathew 3:7 John the Baptist called out the leaders as “sons of vipers”challenging them to “produce fruit worthy of repentance”. That was as much a political speech as any heard on today’s election trail. He was challenging the political leaders of the day as we do by voting or political actions. If Christians should not be involved in politics,then who do you propose should be involved?   

    Second Myth: “You can’t legislate morality.”  Laws are created by legislative bodies who propose what they think is good or right,or beneficial either to the society or to themselves and their friends.  Each legislator presents his own version of “morality”in the proposed bills.  Whether it is taxing the whole of society to provide benefits to the whole,or to the certain individuals he personally favors,or if it is making certain acts unlawful it always originates as his own version of “morality.”   The legislative goal is producing beneficial outcome to self,friends,or society based on the morality of the legislator.  If Christians led by godly moral codes do not lead  the society then who’s morality do you think will prevail in its leadership? 

    Third Myth: “My vote doesn’t count.”  We have been blessed with a nation that allows self rule,primarily through the medium of the ballot box. That is a gift of God that we have inherited through the sacrifices of our forefathers.  Should we reject this gift God has given us to rule our nation and direct it into godly paths by some lame excuse of the futility of the value of the vote of a single person? We all owe to God the recognition of his gift by examining the options and voting ethically. Whether our will prevails or not,the fact that we have expressed that will affects the elected rulers.  If we,the ethical refuse to vote,then the society will most certainly be ruled by the unethical.  How could that be pleasing to God?

    voter-clipart-voteWith every vote there are two possible ways to proceed in order to be an  “ethical voter”.  We can either cast an offensive vote,or a defensive vote. The offensive ethical voter can vote for the godly candidate/issue that will most closely direct the government in a god ordained path .  When no such is available,the defensive ethical voter can vote for the least ungodly candidate/issue.  The one that will cause the least damage to godly direction of the society.  I believe either of these options is honoring God.  To fail to do so is to squander the gift God gave us of self-government and dishonoring Him.

    It is like the servant in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:26-27) who hid the master’s gift in the ground and gained the master’s ire,  “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers,and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”  The word charges us to do what is within our ability.  We are not responsible for the actions of others and ultimately the results are up to God. We are only commanded to obey and to be “ethical”toward Him. As it says in Joshua 24:15 “. . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house,we will serve the LORD.

    Whichever path we as Christians choose,God deserves no less than our best effort to turn our little corner of the nation toward Him.  We first must appraise ourselves of the issues/choices available,educating ourselves in the most godly paths.  Then we must exercise God’s gift of self-government to cast our votes most aligned with the word of God as we have come to understand them.  To do less is not being “godly”or being “spiritual”at all.  It is just being too lazy to seek and to do God’s will. That is certainly not likely to elicit his favor.

    Chuck Chatham

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    The Arkansas Voter’s Guide is available from the Family Council.  It provides accurate,non-partisan information about candidates running for office in Arkansas to help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box. There are links to sites that provide faith centered voter information in other states.

    https://familycouncil.org

    What are we learning at church?

    On Sunday I listened to Huckabee who said that of about 80 million Christian Evangelicals in the US only about half are registered to vote and only about half of those actually go to the polls to vote.  That is a sad commentary indeed considering the threats to our survival as a nation,the traditional values of our society,and our freedom to worship are all at stake.

     

    I did a bit of research and discovered that Huck’s numbers,were a bit off,but the results are still highly disturbing.  More accurate records from a combination of recent census data,Gallup polls,and voter exit polls from 2008 and 2012 show the following:
    US Population:  313M      Eligible to Vote:206M
    Identify as “Born Again”or “Evangelicals”  40% or about 82 Million
    This part of Huckabee’s report is right on.  Beyond that it gets a bit fuzzy.

     

    Registered to Vote:146M    ( 71% of Eligible or about 58M Evangelicals)
    Actually Voted in 2008:  131M   (64% of Eligible or about 52M Evangelicals)

     

    That is still a lot of people who don’t go to vote even when it is critical to their religious freedom and the values they profess as Christians.  Even more troubling is that based on exit polls about 42% of Protestants,and 21% of Evangelicals actually voted for Obama in 2012!  What are these people learning in their churches,if anything?  Are their pastors preaching God’s word at all?

     

    There were over 7 million fewer people who voted in 2012 than in 2008 and about 3 million of those were Evangelicals.  Where were they when their votes were needed to curb Obamacare,to preserve the sanctity of marriage,to halt federal funding of abortion on demand,to preserve religious freedom,and to keep the government out of our every day lives?  Where were those that couldn’t be bothered to even bother to register to vote.  What were the 6.4 million self-professed Evangelicals that voted for Obama thinking?

     

    We must assure that our Evangelical church members know what is at stake.  Yes churches cannot endorse specific candidates for office or advocate for those candidates from the pulpit without jeopardizing their tax exempt status,but they can certainly point out the issues at stake both in their literature and from the pulpit and they can stress the need for Christians to vote their faith not just their pocketbook or other special interests!

     

    Churches can still preach what the Bible says and there is no current restrictions to church members,leaders,or pastors personally endorsing anything loudly and publicly that has to do with either issues or candidates. If we do not get out and vote this will likely change.  The Obama administration is currently threatening Tea Party groups,news media,Catholic Churches and organizations,companies that are run by Christians who oppose government rules on abortion,and others are being identified for government restriction,retaliation,and oppression.  Obama has repeatedly bragged ,“. . . we will reward our friends and punish our enemies . . . “.  He is now converting that brag into action through the IRS,the FCC,the EPA,the DHS,and NSA.  As Christians we should be supporting Faith and Freedom above anything else,but we are woefully dropping the ball.

    References:
    http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/more-than-6-million-self-described-evangelicals-voted-for-obama-why-what-else-do-the-exit-polls-tell-us-about-how-christians-voted/
    http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/common/pop_vote.html
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/20242/Another-Look-Evangelicals-America-Today.aspx
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/07/2012-Turnout-Dramatically-Lower-Than-2008

    Some related interesting statistics came to light in my research.  Some 54% of Republicans and 58% of conservatives identify themselves as Christian Evangelicals while only 22% of Democrats and 11% of liberals consider themselves as such.  Of those people not voting the highest percentage (17%) say they were simply “too busy”,(14%) cited illness or disability and (13%) just say they didn’t care. Other typical reasons given are “didn’t like candidates offered,”“out-of-town,”or “forgot.” Considering the voting opportunities in place today,most of these excuses are pretty lame.