Every blogger knows: There's no better way to get a string of hate email and outraged comments than mentioning the election in your posts. And yet I am compelled to discuss it here on my platform, because it has been mentioned so often on another non-political platform. The pulpit.
Have you heard that the Scranton, Pennsylvania, diocese priests are supposed to read a pastoral letter which guilt-trips its attendees into voting Republican? It's happening in other churches as well. And I'm embarrassed to admit that it has happened in my own, from the mouth of a guest speaker last weekend, who all but said that real Bible-believing Christians have no choice but to vote for McCain. Fortunately, the congregation at my church spoke out, and the senior pastor took responsibility, formally apologizing for the speaker having crossed the bounds from "informing about the issues and candidates" to "telling you who to vote for".
However, if the string of forwarded Christian political emails that have been flooding my email inbox are any indication, there are inappropriate 'sermons' being preached at many other churches in which the leaders may not take the responsibility of retraction, and for that reason, I'll speak out on their behalf. If I sound a bit left-leaning, I apologize, because it's only an attempt to counter the Republican-Is-Right message currently being bashed over the heads of Christians. The truth is that neither party was created by God or endorsed by Him. Someone ought to direct you back to listening to that still, small voice inside your heart. I hope I can be that person.
"Vote the Bible" is a catchy little slogan. But the reality of our choices is less clear-cut. Both candidates are Christians, yet neither aligns himself fully with the Bible. How then can there then be only one 'right' person to elect? The phrase 'voting the Bible' would have held some water had Huckabee been nominated. What we've got instead is McCain and Obama, neither of whom will work to overturn Roe v. Wade or prevent states from legalizing gay marriage.
We as Christians need to choose a candidate who will be the best leader for our nation. We need someone with experience, strong leadership, decision-making skills, diplomacy, a solid stance on foreign policy, a coherent plan for the economy, and someone who will appoint Supreme Court justices who will correctly interpret the constitution. THAT'S the criteria to be considered, and it's complex.
God cares about ALL the issues, and we should, too. Since He views all sins as being the same and all of us are equally precious in His eyes, I believe that He cares about the innocent lives being lost through abortion AND the innocent lives being lost through war. Both must grieve Him deeply. I'm also not convinced that He cares more about either abortion or foreign policy than He does about the economy: the Bible mentions money more than 2,000 times. The God that I serve is involved in every aspect of our lives, from education to energy to health care.
So we should not, in my opinion, sum up the immensely important decision of choosing a president with a single question that takes two seconds to answer: "Who's pro-life? Well, guess that's my guy!". Christians are called to be sound of mind, and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. We should not blindly follow our Christian leaders like sheep, nor should we ignore the complexities of the many-faceted candidates and issues on the ballot.
We don't have a perfect candidate who will come through for us on all of the issues, every time. Period. Each of us will disagree with both candidates on at least one very significant issue. That's why you need to vote for the man who you believe best embodies those critical attributes the majority of the time. We cannot be blinded by one issue to the detriment of many others that impact our lives on a daily basis.
Your vote shouldn't be decided by your pastor, your partner, or your pals. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives freely and without reproach". God wants us to seek Him out when we make decisions, so that HE can guide us. Your vote is between you and the Lord. I believe the biblical choice is to pray over the issues, and let the Spirit guide you.
It's a difficult concept for most of us to grasp, but the Lord can lead His people to very different conclusions on a particular topic. My parents and I strongly disagree on which candidate is the best, yet we are both following what we believe God is telling us. Therefore when we cast our votes on November 4, we will both we voting for the right candidate.
You see, God is not dependent on all of His people to be in agreement on a single course of action in order for Him to work. There will always be dissent in the body of Christ, and His plan will always prevail. Christians don't agree on speaking in tongues, or when the tribulation will occur, or pre-destination. We don't agree on whether abortion should be legal in the instance of rape, or whether gay couples should be allowed to face housing and job discrimination. But all of us as believers seek to experience God and make decisions based on our understanding of who God is and how He works. And we each understand that God prevails above all.
We can be assured that the outcome of the election is part of God's perfect plan for an imperfect world. Promotion comes from neither the east nor the west [the left or the right]: God alone raises up kings and brings them down. The person who gets elected will be the one that God is allowing to lead our country. Our fate is not in the hands of McCain or Obama; it is in the hands of God. There is a course of history laid out in the book of Revelation and it's prophecies will come to fruition, exactly as the Lord planned.
The almighty God is not secretly rooting for one candidate to win so that the course of history will stay on track . He's going to accomplish His purposes no matter who we vote for. That is the ultimate comfort. We have no reason to fear any candidate or experience anger about a candidate leading in the polls. We have no reason to fear the 'wrong' person being in office. Both candidates are Christians, doing their best to follow what they believe is right. Let God speak to them. Let God speak to you. Pray that everyone involved would have godly wisdom. Then keep your faith not in either candidate, but in the One who has raised them up. His purposes will prevail and He will be victorious.