It is quite possible that the American Christian has never had a more difficult election than the one before us in two weeks. We are faced with two candidates who are far from Christian principles, ideals, and beliefs. I have heard many say something along the lines of “Can’t we just start over?” But, these are the two candidates the American people have chosen and this gives us a pulse on where we are as a nation.
So, how should the Christian vote? How should the Christian view this election from a biblical perspective? My purpose here is not to tell you who to vote for, but rather to give some things to think through. I believe voting is important for we live in a country that does give the people a voice. Should Christians secede from that, the Christian voice would be lost.
First of all, we need to be completely honest with the candidates. Hillary Clinton’s views on abortion are tragic and revolting. There is absolutely no way to reconcile her views on abortion with the Bible. Also, she has been plagued with a trail of scandals pointing to indications of corruption and deception. Donald Trump’s view of women and sex is also irreconcilable with the Bible. He prides himself as a womanizer and proudly displays his cover story from Playboy magazine in his office. His dismissal of these things as “locker room talk” is inexcusable and simply untrue. Trump has also shown himself to be a loudmouthed, impulsive individual who stirs up strife instead seeking to bring reconciliation.
Secondly, we need to recognize is that this is an election year in which Christians will need to exercise much grace with one another. A Christian could find Clinton’s views on abortion repulsive but feel she is more trustworthy with foreign policy, especially when it comes to nuclear warfare. Another could be disgusted with Trump’s treatment of women but feel his likely appointments to the Supreme Court are worth their vote. Others may feel the vice president of each candidate is a worthwhile reason to vote for the primary candidate. This is a time for Christians to extend grace to one another, understanding that Christians may differ on how they vote. This is not the time for Christians to become divided and angry with each other.
Third, we need to allow room for the Christian conscious. I have heard many speak as if Christians have no choice but to vote for Trump. When one says they aren’t going to vote for Trump, I have often heard the quick retort, “Oh, so you are voting for Hillary?”. This is said as if to shame the individual and lay on them guilt for the possibility of Hillary being elected. This line of reasoning is invalid for the Christian and the reason why this is invalid is because of the Christian conscious. A Christian is not obligated to vote for Clinton or Trump. While it may be true that one not voting for Trump may help Clinton, this doesn’t mean the Christian is voting for Clinton. Ultimately, the Christian is accountable to God for who they vote for and should the Christian be convicted they cannot in good conscious vote for either candidate, then they are free to not vote for either candidate. They should not be made to feel guilty for this. The highest good isn’t a republican in office. The highest good is faithfulness to God. Think of it this way. If Stalin was on the democratic ticket and Hitler on the Republican ticket, who should the Christian vote for? You see, there is always a point at which a Christian can’t vote for either candidate. Where that point is will differ for many because of the Christian conscious. Political pragmatism does not supersede one’s faithfulness to God. Or, in other words, the highest good is not voting for the least damaging candidate. The highest good is faithfulness before God.
Fourth, Christians need to stop defending what is indefensible. Clinton’s stand on abortion is indefensible. Every human being is made in the image of God and therefore is of infinite value. This shouldn’t be minimized or brushed aside. Likewise, Trump’s views on women and sexuality is indefensible. Ironically, when Democratic president Bill Clinton was caught in a moral scandal, Christians were calling for him to resign and if not, for congress to impeach him. Sadly, many Christians are now dismissing Trump’s morality as simply “locker room talk” and not that big of deal. Would Christians be responding the same way if Trump were on the Democratic ticket? Let us not be guilty of seeing the worst in the candidate we don’t support and defending what is indefensible in the candidate we do support.
Fifth, character matters. I have heard Christians say things like, “I wish his/her character was better, but we are electing a president, not a pastor.” It is true we are electing a president and not a pastor, but this doesn’t mean character becomes irrelevant. Character cannot be separated from leadership. One’s character will always play a critical role in how they lead.
Sixth, the candidates we have to vote for are sinful human beings involved in a political process. This means that just because they say something, this doesn’t mean this is what they will do. Nor do their words necessarily guarantee their position. For example, not long ago, Hillary Clinton was opposed to same sex marriage. However, now she is for it. Trump was the opposite, supportive and now against it. Both candidates are faced with the temptation to say what they think the voters want to hear, even if it isn’t necessarily their conviction. This is very important to remember. Though many Christians are more supportive of Trump than Clinton, Christians must remember it is not certain what Trump will do because he has no political record behind him as Clinton does.
Finally, we need to have a long term perspective. Governments have come and gone…for centuries. The Church of Jesus Christ is what has prevailed and what will prevail. We must never forget this! This is not a time to be wringing our hands and anxiously casting our vote. This is a time to be reminded we serve a sovereign God who is worthy of all our trust. For too long, American Christians have subtly placed their hope in the government. But, we are to hope in God and His eternal work of redemption. Just consider the Bible and how many times a king perceived to be perfect for the job failed miserably (King Saul) and how many times a pagan king was used by God in a powerful way (Cyrus of Persia). God is not limited by who sits in the White House. So, let us not confuse the kingdom of this world with the Kingdom of Christ!
In conclusion, my goal here is not to tell you who to vote for or who not to vote for. My goal is simply to gather some thoughts to guide us all as we move forward in this election. This is a very difficult voting scenario for Christians. But, let us remember our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and His Church, which will never fail. Let us remember our faith is in Him, the true King of kings who will never fail us! Let us keep this perspective and so think critically, exercising much grace and love with one another. Finally, let us remember the work of Christ is of far more importance and far longer lasting than what happens on the second Tuesday of November.