This is a follow up post to what I wrote about Roy Moore. How should a person vote? How should they weigh the issues? This also looks at the flawed thinking of some evangelical voters. Part of this post comes from an EFCA Church blog at The Orchard in Door County, Wisconsin.
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
John Quincy Adams
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.”
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseerdesires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 NIV
Thomas Jefferson (from Wikipedia)
Listen to Nancy Fluker speak about how conservative Christians should vote for Roy Moore despite the child molestation allegations.
This is a post I planned to do the next time there is a national election. However, due to the previous post called, “The United States Senate Race in Alabama and the Culture Wars; Plus the Issues Dogging Roy Moore and the Problem of Evangelical Christians Embracing an Alleged Child Molester,” I want to do this post to compliment an important topic. How should Christians vote or what shouldn’t they do? Its an issue that needs discussion especially after what is shaping up in Alabama. When you consider the choices…an alleged child molester vs. a conservative Democrat and people choosing the alleged child molester, there are some deep problems. Last year during the contentious Presidential election an EFCA pastor in Wisconsin wrote a post on his church blog that I felt had some nuggets of truth in it. But let’s look at Doug Quenzer of The Orchard in Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin.
Doug achieved a Bachelor of Science in 1977 and a Master of Divinity in 1981. Today he lives in the Ellison Bay area and works in real estate doing appraisals. His other job is pastor of The Orchard. The Orchard is a recent church in the Forest Lakes District of the EFCA. It appears to be a house church that meets on Monday nights and serves northern Door County. For those who do not know Door County is the tip of the peninsula northeast of Green Bay. When I lived in Milwaukee I drove up to Door County on a regular basis. Being up there when summer gives way to fall is something that everyone should be fortunate enough to witness. Towns in Door County such as Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor and Bailey’s Harbor are peaceful and nice places to visit. On the church blog Doug wrote a post about how to vote for a political candidate. Its called “How do I Determine who gets my Vote?” I am going to run the post in its entirety and then I am going to add some commentary on how people should vote.
This political season has surely been interesting. All the political pundits have been wrong or confounded. I am not going to tell anyone who to vote for. That’s not my place. But I do believe that it is my place to discuss the kind of person that a leader should be. Why? The Bible is very clear about what character qualities should exist in a leader.
As a government for the people and by the people we have a sacred obligation and privilege to elect our leaders. Those individuals we elect can greatly influence the direction of our country! For example the next President is going to most likely nominate 2 to 4 Supreme Court justices. Do you think the court has an impact! Unfortunately too many people (including Christians) have neglected that responsibility and have not thought clearly and deeply about what they are doing when they exercise that responsibility. I sometimes wonder if I would ask some basic civics questions of Christians whether they would be able to answer them correctly. From time to time we see news people ask the public those basic questions and frankly I’m shocked at the level of ignorance. And I also wonder if the average person knows the difference between one political philosophy and another or one economic philosophy and another. For example, “Do you know the difference between a socialist and a capitalist, a progressive and a conservative, a libertarian and a liberal?” Unfortunately even some politicians don’t know! The leader of a major party was asked on MSNBC what the definition of a socialist was and she literally was stumped. Couldn’t answer. Yet on the Democrat side we have a self-defined socialist running for President. So before you vote every person should think through and ask this question, “What are the differences in economic and governing philosophy between the candidates? How does this square with the constitution? Does this make sense? Is it realistic? Do I agree with it? etc.” Be informed. Read their positions on their web sites. Do some investigation of their positions and the arguments against their positions. Ask, “Are these positions Biblical or is the Bible silent on them?” Think about their experience and qualifications for the job.
But as I said maybe the most important thing we should look at is the character of the person we are voting for. What kind of person is the candidate? When the Apostle Paul was writing his protege Timothy about choosing leaders for the church in Ephesus, Paul made some very clear and specific guidelines on the type of person that should be a leader in the church. You can read about them in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. I’m just going to list them off: above reproach (doesn’t have anything disgraceful in background), the husband of one wife (marital fidelity), self-controlled, sensible (heart of wisdom), respectable (worthy of respect), hospitable (gracious to strangers), an able teacher (able to get ideas across so people can understand them), not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle (treats others with respect and care), not quarrelsome (doesn’t like to argue), not greedy,–one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (The idea is that if he/she can’t manage their own household how can they manage anything else!), good reputation among outsiders.
It’s a pretty extensive list, and no one is perfect. All leaders will have some short-comings and strengths in certain areas. But this is the guideline, and Paul didn’t tell Timothy to lower the standards just to put someone in the position of being a leader if he can’t find someone to fill a position. So if you are going to vote take this list, look at the candidates, and see how they measure up. No candidate is perfect. But which candidates seem to most closely mirror these qualities. Then take those candidates that you think most mirror these qualities and begin to investigate their positions; their philosophy toward governance. Look at their positions’ pros and cons, and prayerfully ask God for a heart of wisdom. Also talk to others about the candidates. Get their opinions and insights. They might give you important insights and information you hadn’t thought about.
But be informed! Don’t just vote on the basis of emotions such as anger. Don’t vote on the basis of rhetoric or negative campaign ads. The anger of man does not bring about the righteous life God desires. Anger may motivate you to investigate, but it shouldn’t be the basis of your vote. Gain a heart of wisdom. Then prayerfully make a decision, go to the polls, and exercise the responsibility of voting.
“I’m a Evangelical Christian and I will vote for the Christian.”
In the first post dealing with Roy Moore I watched a few videos as I put the article together. There is one common theme that I am hearing from Roy Moore voters, and I have heard it repeatedly over the years. “I am voting for _______________ because they are an evangelical Christian.” I heard that when George W Bush was running for president. I heard if often and frequently in California, Wisconsin and Virginia. I have to say that I am guilty as I voted for George W Bush in 2000 and 2004 with that same mindset. At the time I was foolish as my thinking was warped. I should have voted for different reasons. When I hear Christians say that they will vote for the evangelical Christian it reminds me of another ploy in evangelicalism. Christian business directories that advertise Christian plumbers, mechanics, doctors, dentists, insurance agents, etc…. The reality is that much of that is a scam. Some of the worst people you can interact with advertise their business as a Christian. You are more likely to be frauded, have a shoddy job done, and deal with issues possibly long term by someone who advertises their Christian faith. I have had a couple of people speak to me over the years of getting caught in this quagmire where they went this wrote and they developed or had problems or issues. To tie this back to voting I think many Christians are making a similar mistake. Vote for the “Christian” without any consideration or thought as to the damage that is being done. Vote for the “Christian” because he says a couple of things that I like but damn I will ignore the allegations of child molestation and rape. Voting for the “Christian” can be one of the worst things you can do. I would also suggest that it shows a lack of critical thinking skills when you have a conservative Democrat vs. an alleged child molester and you are going to choose the person who allegedly asked a 14 year female to touch an erect penis of a 30+ District Attorney at the time. As I watched that video above and listened to Nancy Fluker and like minded individuals I felt sick. Yes I am toward the edge of the faith with one foot outside the door. Yes I am on the end of a long rope. But I stop and cannot fathom how this logic comes together. How is it compatible to be a good Christian who had allegedly engaged in child molestation? What about Romans 13 when it says to submit to the law? Is any of that being followed?
How I Vote and what I look for in a Candidate
I would like to present another way to consider when it comes to voting. Doug Quenzer is correct when he discusses character. Actually look at the first part of the pastor’s post from The Orchard and compare it with what is coming out about Roy Moore? But these are other ways to vote that I would suggest.
- Don’t be a single issue voter. Don’t let an issue like abortion or gay marriage be the only thing that you are thinking about. The fact of the matter is that too much is at stake to act in such a fashion. One issue voters are fundamentalist in their logic and thinking.
- Have the candidates followed the law? Have they had run ins with the law in the past and do they have criminal activity? Take Roy Moore for example..how is a person who allegedly molested a child going to vote on bills in Congress when they deal with crimes and legislation that is dogging him? How is that even feasible? In such circumstances are you going to have someone who can discharge their responsibilities of their job?
- What do competing sources of information say about the person in question? I live in the Washington, D.C. area and I subscribe to the Washington Post. But I get information from many sources. I get them local, I read other newspaper (Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune) and then I read things in a balanced way. I read both liberal and conservative to process information. For example the New York Times will be liberal, while the Wall Street Journal will be conservative. I will read articles and magazines like National review for a conservative perspective. I stay away from stuff like Britbart or the Drudge Report because a lot of that is more of propaganda. During the past election in 2016 I had people share with me fake news items that I asked them about and they became upset. (No, Chicago is not under Sharia law. No, Muslims are not targeting and raping white women in Detroit.) Practice discernment when you read and process information,.
- Do not be locked in partisan thinking. The trouble with partisan thinking is that it can lead you to defend either Democrat or Republican depending on where you stand. If you get locked in that frame of mind then you will not be able to deal with challenging or disturbing news if it comes. By having tunnel vision you are locked and can’t think differently. This is what I think you see in the video up top. People locked in tunnel vision who can’t decide otherwise.
- Vote for the best person. Put country above party and consider our institutions. If you live in the United States you should be proud to live here. Put people in office who will respect the office. From the local town mayor to the President of the United States put people in office who respect the office. Don’t vote for sociopaths or narcissists or people who crave power. Those who want it the most are those who should be kept out. Roy Moore is a perfect example of this. He never had respect for the United States Constitution and showed contempt for it during a good chunk of his career. All he has done is violate his oath. But vote for the best person. This is why I have voted both Democrat and Republican from time to time.
- Think of a wide number of issues. For example these are issues that should be considered. Economic, environmental, free trade, crime, foreign police, US military, NATO and military partnerships, education, justice system, infrastructure, price of food, medical care, national parks, mental health issues, taxation, business regulation, special needs issues for handicapped children, transportation issues, banking and financial systems, immigration, and just a few.
- Don’t vote on fear. Again don’t vote on fear. From my perspective its been incredibly pathetic to watch evangelicals vote out of fear and not faith.
That’s it I want this to be a brief post but I wanted this t follow the post I did the other day. Take care guys and a shout out to The Orchard in Door County, Wisconsin.