Well, it is almost over. After seemingly endless months of one of the most “unusual” presidential campaigns in American history, it is soon time to cast our ballots. Here are some things I think believers in Jesus should keep in mind during this next week:
- Genuine Christians plan to vote for different candidates this month. Some are voting for Trump, primarily to prevent Clinton from becoming President. Others are voting for Clinton, primarily to keep Trump from winning the election. Some are supporting a third party candidate whom they believe is preferable to either of the major party candidates. Though I can make a strong political argument as to who I believe is the best choice, I cannot make a strong Biblical argument to support my position (I doubt you can either). Thus, I should respect the opinions of my Christian brothers and sisters, even if I believe they are supporting the wrong candidate.
- Every political candidate is a sinner, but the flaws of Trump and Clinton seem especially obvious. In the view of many, the strongest argument in favor of either candidate is that his/her opponent is even more immoral or less qualified to be President. As Christians, our arguments in favor of a particular candidate should not include a defense of sexual immorality or dishonesty. Nor should we attempt to justify his/her positions which are clearly contrary to Biblical teaching. Supporting a particular candidate does not require we endorse that person’s behaviors or opinions. A faithful witness for the gospel may even require that we explicitly distance ourselves from some of those behaviors and opinions.
- A candidate’s character, competence, and positions on particular issues are relevant, but should probably not be the most important factor when choosing for whom to vote. Because the Bible commands us to “love our neighbor” and to be concerned about “the interests of others,” the impact upon our nation is the most decisive factor to consider. Will we be better off or worse off if a certain candidate is elected? Will he/she do more good or less harm to our country than his/her opponent? So even though a particular candidate might be guilty of more obvious sins, be less competent, and be wrong on key issues, I think it would still be right to vote for that person if I am persuaded he/she will do less harm to our nation than his/her opponent. This year I plan to vote for someone who I believe is deeply flawed, but who I am convinced will do less harm than the other major candidate. I don’t believe that is compromising my Christian beliefs but is simply making a wise decision.
- This election will not change far more important theological realities. On November 9, newspaper headlines will declare “_____________ Elected President.” Whatever emotional reaction we have to that news, three things will not have changed: First, God will still be sovereign. He is, has always been, and will always be the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of the universe. Nothing that happens in this election will change that. Second, our calling as Christians will still be to faithfully trust and follow Jesus. We need to be clear, wise, bold, and gracious in our witness for Christ and the gospel no matter who the next President is. And third, those Christians who voted for another candidate than we did will still be our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is our loyalty to Jesus which binds us together, not common political opinions.
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church