Election Thoughts

What you are about to read is written to make you think. My goal is not to change anyone’s mind, but to express my own thoughts and opinions as I keep getting asked “How can you be a Christian and NOT support Trump?”

I am seeing a lot of Christians whose votes appear to be driven by fear. There seem to be four main fears: immigration, gay marriage, persecution, and abortion. I do not believe for a second God wants us voting based on fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”. (ESV)

Let’s get into immigration first. Did you know the Bible actually tells us to allow immigrants into our land?  L eviticus 19:33-34 says “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” We are also told in Matthew 25:35 – 40 when we do something such as feeding the hungry, it is as if we are doing it for God. Now, how can we possibly justify keeping immigrants out of our land?

Oh, right, they may try to kill us, take away our religious freedom, and/or destroy our country. So you would rather go against God’s word than trust Him to take care of you and your loved ones?  What about those families who mean us no harm and only want a better life for themselves?  Do you realize how difficult and costly it is for many people to get to America, even illegally?  In my area, we recently had some people come in illegally from Mexico and Honduras. They each paid to ride in the back of an eighteen wheeler. They were dropped off about 60 miles outside of their destination, after riding all day in the back of a hot, metal truck. Think about how desperate you would have to be to ride in the Texas heat in the back of a metal truck with no fan, let alone air conditioning. They were risking their lives to get here.

Working in an inner city, I have worked with many immigrant families (from many different countries). The parents work hard and the kids are usually some of the best behaved kids in my class. I can’t fathom how we could possibly deny these families entry into the U.S., especially since nearly all of us come from immigrants. It was ok for our ancestors to come over, but not other people?

The thought of persecution is scary, but I fail to see a logical reason to vote based on this fear. Persecution is going to happen to every Christian – even if it isn’t on a national scale, it will happen to you personally. I would be shocked if you couldn’t tell me a specific instance where you felt persecuted because of your religious beliefs. Now, I have seen people say we weren’t told to seek out persecution. True, but we were told to expect it. Jesus told us we would be persecuted in John 15:20. So, how can you possibly justify going against God’s word by voting against immigration just because you might be persecuted? Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons does not make it right.

And for the next topic, gay marriage. I just can’t comprehend how this affects your life so much that you vote against it. Do you realize how hated gays feel by the church in general? Do you really believe that’s what God wants? For us to ostracize an entire group of people to the point they feel God can’t possibly love them?  The church allows so many sins (lying, pride, greed, & adultery to name a few), yet this one is not ok?  Do you not realize that God is just as disgusted by whatever sin is in your life as you are by gay people?  There’s no sin hierarchy, people. And I’m tired of feeling like I am aligned with those of you who hate gays, just because we both identify as Christians. Where’s the love? And don’t tell me you love gays if you are voting against gay marriage. You may love specific gay people, but those who don’t know you just see hate.

And stop comparing the allowing of gay marriage to Sodom and Gomorrah! They had a culture of rape – they demanded that Lot send the angels out so that they could have sex with them. That doesn’t sound like consensual sex to me.

And about now you are wondering how I can possibly be pro-life and tell you it’s ok to vote for someone who is pro-choice. I definitely understand your struggle on this one. For me, I had to come to the conclusion that it is irresponsible to vote for a candidate based on just one issue. I’ve never felt comfortable basing my vote just on the candidate’s stance on abortion. Do you really believe all God cares about is how candidates feel about abortion?  So, why would you just vote based on this one issue? And how can you trust a candidate with NO voting record?

And how can we ask for religious freedom, yet tell someone else what to do with their bodies? For that matter, how can we ask for religious freedom and dictate social norms?  God gave us all free will to sin.  I’m all for protecting personal rights, but if someone’s sin isn’t harming you, there’s no need for legislating against it. Keep in mind 1 Corinthians 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” If we are going to get it wrong, let’s at least err on the side of love.

And here’s another favorite verse of mine, 1 Corinthians 10:23 which essentially states everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. What might be a sin to you, is okay for someone else. You are not God and do not get to determine what is right for others. No, I’m not doubting the validity of the Bible and what is laid out as sin. Last time I checked, we aren’t actually stoning people for adultery anymore. And we all wear clothes with mixed fibers (Deuteronomy 22:11).  Do you think God is ok with this? So why are those sins ok, but not others?

There isn’t going to be a perfect candidate for many reasons. We are all flawed. We can’t expect a non-Christian to hold Christian values. Yes, some of them may line up, but it probably won’t be 100%.

Last of all, please do not forget that there’s more than just a presidential election going on this year. I’ve read that 88% of congress is up for reelection. And, if you really want to see change, please vote at the state and local levels. As a Christian, pray about your votes. Don’t just assume you know the right thing to do without actually seeking God. Even if the best Christian you know tells you who to vote for, please seek after God first!

I realize not everyone will agree with me, and that’s okay. But, let’s keep the discussion respectful! Please adhere to the following commenting guidelines:

  1. No cussing – please keep it clean.
  2. No name calling. It just tells the other person you know your point is weak.
  3. Most importantly, use proper spelling and grammar. Being unclear, using bad grammar, and misspelling words all make it hard to take you seriously.

 

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4 Responses to Election Thoughts

  1. Gary Byrum says:

    It has been several days since this blog was posted. I wanted to spend some time praying and thinking about my views on the issues addressed. The initial statements and responses have been great food for thought and I love it when people make me think and reassess my own beliefs and opinions. So my hope is that those reading this will also consider my beliefs and opinions. But more importantly, that they will look to Christ as the one who gave His life for us all that we may love others as He loved us and being willing to give our life for others as He did.

    So for starters, what is Jesus’ relationship to politics? Here is what the Bible has to say:
    Isaiah 9:6 – 7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

    I start with this passage from the Bible to show that all government rests on Jesus. He is a political figure. We all, as believers, look forward to the day that His rule extends throughout the earth.

    Let me provide another passage:
    Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

    My point is that God the Father and Jesus His son are the ultimate authority over every nation and people now! Not in the future but NOW!

    Abraham Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg address “…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” If that is true than we have to utilize our privilege to elect our officials who themselves are governed by the people and for the people.

    So being established under God, with Him as the ultimate authority, how do we determine who should govern us? With God being the source we need to look to His set of instructions found in the Old and New Testament. This is not an option!

    The discussion at hand appears to center around right and wrong human behavior. The Church has for centuries categorized wrong behavior into 7 deadly sins. Wikipedia includes an article on these and states as follows: “The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices of Christian origin.[1] Behaviors or habits are classified under this category if they directly give birth to other immoralities,[2] According to the standard list, they are hubris, greed, lust, malicious envy, gluttony, inordinate anger, and sloth,[2] which are also contrary to the seven virtues. These sins are often thought to be abuses or excessive versions of one’s natural faculties or passions (for example, gluttony abuses one’s desire to eat). This classification originated with the desert fathers, …” (FYI – Hubris is basically pride)
    Laws of a nation as well as other divisions of people define what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior. This nation’s laws where originally based on Judeo–Christian precepts as defined in the Old and New Testament. These laws for any nation and/or people group should be based on the Creator’s standard not ours. This has become the weakness of this nation as well as the church when the standard becomes what people do or don’t do instead of the Creator’s standard. (The Old Testament is full of failures of God’s nation/people not keeping His laws and statues. It started with the leaders personal failures; that is, lack of virtues. This did not end well for Israel.)

    As my family will attest I make every attempt to live by what has been my favorite Bible verse for several years now. It is Micah 6:8 “to do justly, to love kindness and to walk humbly before God.” This is not always easy but it is my goal. I also meditate on the 9 fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) hoping that these will become a part of my life as well; that is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. I am a work in process and realize everyone else is as well. Jesus stated that the 2 greatest commandments are first loving God and secondly his neighbor as himself. (FYI my neighbor is anyone and everyone).
    You may be asking what does this have to do with the election of our next President? It means we use a litmus test (that is profile a person as well as the group he/she is associated with – not politically correct these days) based on some standard. So the litmus test is where does the candidate and his party’s platform fall within the guidelines between right and wrong behavior based on the Creator’s standard?

    So we need to ask ourselves, does God approve of the murder of the innocent and helpless? Does He approve and allow for sexual immorality? In order to keep my responses to a reasonable size, I will stop here for today and allow readers to think on where I am coming from before addressing the specific topics of this blog.

    Let me end with a quote from Charles G Finney from his Lectures on Systematic Theology concerning Christian Perfectionism. “It is perfect obedience to the law of God. The law of God requires perfect, disinterested, impartial benevolence, love to God and love to our neighbor. It requires that we should be actuated by the same feeling, and to act on the same principles that God acts upon; to leave self out of the question as uniformly as He does, to be as much separated from selfishness as He is, in a word, to be in our measure as perfect as God is. Christianity requires that we should do neither more nor less that the law of God prescribes. Nothing short of this is Christian perfection. This is being moral, just as perfect as God. Everything is here included, to feel as He feels, to love what He loves, and hate what He hates, and for the same reasons that He loves and hates.
    God regards every being in the universe according to its real value. He regards His own interests according to their real value in the scale of being, and no more….”

  2. charity31 says:

    I still don’t understand how any Christian can possibly justify voting for Trump and the Republican ticket at this point.

  3. william g byrum says:

    I am not sure how to respond to the last comment assuming it is directed at me personally. But even if it is in general, it is very harsh and assumes that Christians, self included, who look to the Bible as the basis for moral direction are not really Christian at all. Where is the LOVE in that? I personally attempt to be very accepting of those who do not believe as I do and attempt to have an emotionless dialogue to find common ground and explore our differences. I learn from those discussions and it has helped affirm my belief in a Holy and Just God.
    As I noted in my previous post the standard that God has set is very clear. He is very accepting of aliens but rejects killing and sexual immorality. The party of the United States that lines up with that is on the right more than those on the left. There is plenty of room for growth and change on both sides of the aisle.
    While we don’t appear to have the best candidates this time around we do need to make a decision on who we think has the best chance of governing ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ based on the person within the context of his party’s platform and vote accordingly.

  4. william g byrum says:

    Please note that I should have wrote ‘their’ instead of ‘his’ in the last line….

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