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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.
Monday, November 05, 2012
Should a Christian Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils?
On the other points, I can understand some people's misgivings. But I think we need to better understand just what is happening during a presidential election and why voting is crucially important and possibly even commanded by God for all faithful Christians.
First, I think that the idea of the "lesser of two evils" has no merit. I actually think it doesn't apply in the U.S. political process. Our entire political system is not structured to find a single position on all issues. It by nature takes into account those who differ, as they are represented and their disagreements should be included and weighed in the discussion.
The point of American politics is much like football; it is a game of inches. One strives towards his goal line, but understands that forward progress is better than backward progress. That's why I currently oppose promoting legislation that bans all abortions. I am personally against elective abortion in any form except when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. However, to seek to advance legislation at this point would actually set the pro-life movement back and more babies would be lost as a result. The goal isn't the laws; it’s the lives of the children at stake. This is why compromise is a key part of congress passing laws, something I think both sides of the aisle have forgotten. Ideology is great; it gives you a goal to focus on. But any team that is only throwing to the end zone will soon have their game figured out and be quickly defeated.
Choosing a president, a senator, or any elected official plays out the same way. The office of president is especially powerful in this aspect. Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will lead our nation for the next four years, there's no escaping that. Gary Johnson and other candidates may have been seen as more palatable, but they simply won't win. So, I would urge you to vote for the candidate that you deem more closely aligned to your goals and beliefs as a Christian. We choose presidents, not kings, and we are able to re-choose every four years for the express purpose that no one man will ever be the candidate that is perfect.
Lastly, I would note that in Romans 13 God tells us that the governing authorities are provided the sword by God to do good. We tend to read that verse and think of the president or the government writ large as that governing authority. However, in our nation it is we the people that are the ultimate seat of authority. We decide who is president and who sits in congress. That means that God has given us the sword—the sword of the vote—to wield for the good. As a believer I think we would be remiss in our duties if we were to keep it in its sheath because we disliked both candidates. On some issues Romney and Obama are close. On other issues, they are not. There are more issues where both have sought to reflect the views of their constituency when in the past they have held a different view. (That last item is not a "flip-flop" or pandering as is often portrayed in the press. I think it is appropriate as long as the candidate keeps his word and actually does what he promised after the election.) But there are enough clear differences between the two to know what they are and to be able to make a choice.
I urge you to exercise your sword, for God does not give it in vain.
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