As I type the words for this article, my mind is on the future of this nation in general and the democratic process in general, specifically the upcoming elections.
There are many who feel that Christians in general should keep their noses out of the political process or at the very least should be careful not to let our beliefs influence our vote. That of course is a ridiculous demand since everyone votes according to what they believe. Those who advance such a ludicrous philosophy argue that people of faith should not be allowed to force their morals on the general public. The reality of the matter is every time some law is enacted someone person or group has in fact imposed their morals on the general public.
Two quick examples. Those who are fighting to remove any and all references to God from our currency or Pledge of Allegiance are working to force their desires upon all Americans. And when the Supreme Court of this nation enacted the murderous laws of Roe v. Wade decades ago, a moral (or more correctly a great immoral) standard was forced upon everyone. Stand up against that today, and you are told that religious beliefs should not affect public opinion. But those who believe in the tenants of abortion on demand are lauded for standing firm in their beliefs. This double standard must be exposed for what it is.
Let evangelicals stand up and be counted for supporting a certain candidate and with that arises a hue and cry of foul and threats to remove our tax-exempt status for making a political endorsement. On the other hand, you can't turn on the television during an election year and not see many of our more liberal candidates being lauded by more liberal leaning pastors or churches, and that seems to be acceptable. It is a double standard and must be exposed for what it is.
Should Christians be involved in the democratic process? Absolutely. It is both our right and our own moral obligation. I have no hesitancy of adding my voice to that of the honorable John Jay, a framer of the Constitution and the first chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who stated, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
Am I suggesting that as Christians we should all vote a certain way? Absolutely. If you are a Christian, there is only one responsible way to vote. And, yes, I am going to tell you what that way to vote is if your anger has not yet caused you to throw down the paper in disgust.
As a Christian the right way to vote as a Christian is to know the issues, to know where each candidate stands on those issues, (and I think the Christian should pray about those issues) and then the Christian should vote his or her conscience. That is the right way to vote.
Too many of us (myself included at times) are lazy when it comes to this important political process. We tend to vote only according to party lines or we tend to vote on how a person looks or presented himself rather then on whether or not we agree with his stance on the issues.
Years ago, in my first election, I received one of those "here's where they stand brochures" that today some decry. The way I've got it figured is any politician who doesn't want me to know where he stands is hiding something and he or she will not receive my vote.
But that aside, that first "here's where they stand" piece was unique in that it didn't identify by name the candidates. It simply gave their responses to the issues of the day (identifying them as candidate X-Y & Z), asked me to check agree/disagree boxes, and then, only at the end, after those issues were tallied up, did it finally identify each of the candidates. That was a great approach and really opened my eyes as a first time voter.
Here's a news flash: not every candidate of the party of your choice is a Christian and not every person of the other party is of the evil empire. Know your candidates, know where they stand on the issues (and watch the misinformation being disseminated on the internet) and vote your conscience.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA, 30016. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org