‘I want to vote . . .’

Tue, 10/28/2008 - 3:48pm
By: Letters to the ...

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is not authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1). These words are directed to Christians as a preamble to a section on the civic duties of the church.

Human government has been instituted by God for the good of mankind. Our form of government provides privileges and freedoms unrivaled in human history. One of those privileges is the right to vote.

In a few days we will have the opportunity to cast our ballot for the next president of the United States. For whom should we vote? Most registered voters have already made up their minds. What is offered here is a rehearsal of those principles that will guide this citizen at the voting machine.

I want to vote for the presidential candidate who will come closer to providing the kind of leadership needed at this hour in our nation’s history.

I want to vote for a candidate who thinks and makes decisions based on a Christian world-view. A world-view is simply the way in which one interprets reality.

Christian theism, for example, views reality through the lens of a belief in a God who is infinite and personal (triune), omniscient, sovereign and good. Ethics are seen as transcendent and based on the character of God as good (holy and loving).

The reader is encouraged to consult James W. Sire’s book, “The Universe Next Door,” for a helpful development of what it means to think within the sphere of Christian theism. Moral absolutes, the sacredness of human life, and marriage as between a man and woman are some of the features of how consistently a presidential candidate adheres to a Christian world-view.

I want to vote for a candidate who will honor the founding documents of our nation. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. Our form of government, with its rights and liberties for American citizens, is set forth in this extraordinary document. It is not perfect, but it is probably the best mankind can do this side of Christ’s kingdom.

Sadly though, there are those who want to interpret the Constitution according to their subjective whims and whatever the popular consensus is at the moment. The original intent of the authors of our Constitution is set aside to our peril. The matter of the Constitution and how it is to be interpreted bears directly on how this citizen will vote.

I want to vote for a candidate who holds a high view of human life. Abortion on demand may be legal, but as a moral option it undermines society’s responsibility to protect the defenseless.

It is unconscionable for a nation to look the other way while innocent infants are slaughtered in the womb. Laws and moral persuasion work to restrain a low view of human life. We should expect a candidate for the highest office in the land to uphold the value and worth of every individual.

Social usefulness is not the criteria for whether one lives or dies. A presidential candidate who countenances abortion on demand is inviting the dissolution of the nation he must swear to defend.

I want to vote for a candidate who believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages and so-called civil unions for same-sex partners are an insult to the God-ordained institution of marriage. Those who declare themselves to be homosexual certainly have inalienable rights (e.g., jobs and housing). “Nonetheless, legislation and public funds should not promote sinful lifestyles.” A presidential candidate who waffles on this important issue has declared war on the family as a “divinely-willed institution.”

I want to vote for a candidate who will appoint judges who are not hostile to Christianity. The appointment of Supreme Court justices and federal court justices is one of the duties of the president of the United States.

Therefore, a presidential candidate who would likely appoint judges who will use their judicial authority to redefine marriage, deny rights to the unborn, and attempt to refashion America according to a secular social agenda will contribute to the ruin of our nation. Such a presidential candidate will not get my vote.

I want to vote for a candidate who will respect the right of the United States of America to exist as a sovereign nation and who will not subordinate our national authority to the United Nations or any kind of international socialistic world order.

In a paraphrase of what one astute observer has said, beware of any presidential candidate who supports “treaties and conventions” that would empower international agencies to rule over a nation’s economic affairs or who will attempt to transform godless social theories into international law.

I want to vote for a candidate who will uphold a strong national defense and who will refuse to weaken us through any form of unilateral disarmament.

Human government exists to promote the good and restrain evil (Rom. 13:4). Police departments and our armed services function to protect us from those who would seek to do us harm. Diplomacy and treaties have their place but never at the expense of an informed judgment about human nature. We are sinful human beings living in a fallen world. The belief that human nature is perfectible may set the stage for the next world war.

I want to vote for a candidate who supports Israel’s right to exist as a nation. There are terrorist organizations and governmental leaders who wish to destroy the nation of Israel. Will the next president of the United States contribute to the weakening of Israel’s right to defend itself? Listen carefully to what each candidate is saying about these issues.

I want to vote for a candidate who will not subvert our free enterprise economic system. There is a debate being waged at the present time about the role of government in a market economy. Many people are angry at certain financial institutions and are calling for more regulation.

The basic idea of free enterprise, namely, putting men “on their own to make economic decisions, and let them reap the rewards or lack of rewards from those decisions,” is at its best when governed by personal integrity. Those who invite more government controls, thinking that this will ensure a healthy national economy, will wonder what happened when their personal freedoms have vanished.

I want to vote for a candidate who will not think that higher taxes is the answer to every economic and social problem we have as a nation.

Government has the right of taxation. That is not the argument. Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mk. 12:17). If governing authorities are to fulfill their purpose in punishing wrongdoers and commending right-doers, they will need some money to do it (Rom. 13:6-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).

But the Eighth Commandment says, “You shall not steal.” Wise national leadership knows the difference between covering legitimate costs and stealing. Watch out for that presidential candidate who wants to take money by force to fund what he deems as “good causes.” In doing so, government undermines the charitable potential of its citizenry.

I want to vote for a candidate who views justice and mercy not as a means of power and control but as the means of correcting social and personal structures that are evil. The informed Christian voter knows that “the Bible denounces laws that are unjust.” Equal treatment under the law is a cherished value. We are to look for a president who sees himself as the president of all the people, not just the wealthy and the powerful.

I want to vote for a candidate who has personal moral strength. It is not necessary that he be a Christian to govern equitably and wisely. But he must be honest, just, merciful, wise, and tested.

Who are his best friends? What is his political record? If he is a senator how has he voted on key issues? What is his vision for America? Does he tell the truth? What are his virtues? Character is king. A presidential candidate could be Machiavellian in his politics, even though he is a good administrator and makes grand promises. Voters beware.

Voting is not an easy thing. It takes preparation, information, and personal maturity to make an acceptable judgment at the ballot box. Even when we vote for the one who seems to be the best candidate, we may still be disappointed. But this is no excuse to stay home on voting day.

We do not know what is in store for our nation. If government continues to be seen as the solution to all of our problems and an entitlement mentality (confusion of “wants” and “needs”) succeeds in driving the electorate to vote for the candidate who promises them the most, we will have lost the virtues that guard our freedoms and made us a strong nation.

I want to vote for the presidential candidate who has a profound sense of God’s sovereignty over all nations, whose integrity is not for sale, who is not an enemy of Christianity, who will not allow the systematic destruction of the family, who cherishes American liberty, who will protect the defenseless, who is committed to peace through a strong military, who repudiates the abuse of political power, who believes that God is the only absolute owner of all things, who insists on justice for the poor as well as the rich, who knows that religious and political freedom are God-given, not government-given, and who will execute the duties of the presidency in humility under God.

Perhaps you have felt a longing as you have read these qualifications for national leadership. The Christian knows that only the Lord Jesus Christ will bring a perfect government to this world. Our hopes are invested in the coming King of kings and Lord of lords and His universal reign of justice and compassion.

Dr. Howard E. Dial, senior pastor

Berachah Bible Church

Fayetteville, Ga.

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