The Christian Vote?

There are some “hard” questions I get asked, as a pastor, and maybe you have wondered about some of them as well… So here is Hard Question #9 – “How are we supposed to vote in elections as Christians?” And I am going to limit this blog answer to no more than 850 words just so I can be as succinct as possible. Ok? Ok.

I answer this the same way every time someone asks me how Christians should vote… “Just like everyone else. Make sure you’re registered. Find out where your polling station is. Go and cast your ballot on election day.”

I know that I’m not really answering the way they want. I know people that ask that are really asking “Who?” they should vote for or which political party aligns most closely with Christian standards. This year, rhetoric from the two sides of the political coin has intensified the debate amongst Christian voters… and both of the major party candidates seem to say similar things to evangelical voters… “You can’t possibly vote for the other candidate if you are a Christian.” The truth is, that if we are voting for who we think best shows the values and characteristics of Jesus, they both fail… often. But in truth, so do I. Daily.

The thing about voting for someone to lead us as a nation, I don’t think making it a litmus test of our own Christianity is a fair thing to do. I will choose the person I want to spiritually help guide and mentor me far differently than I will choose who I want to govern the country in which I live. The President of the United States of America is the Commander in Chief – not Pastor in Chief.

The President needs to make quick decisions that are firm and unwavering. The President needs to be bold and confident. The President needs to be focused on justice, liberty and upholding our Constitution. Is my preference that they believe in the one true God? Absolutely! Are they going to lead me spiritually? No. There have been many of our Presidents whose faith I admire and look to as a symbol of hope and encouragement but we also have had Presidents who may have claimed faith but their personal lives did not reflect that faith outwardly – and yet they still were pretty good Presidents. And vice versa, Presidents who were men of great faith but were the worst leaders.

On social media, the majority of posts I read on this topic tend to focus on what a terrible person Donald Trump is… labeling him a racist… pointing to his very non-Christlike lifestyle… pointing to his words that he speaks as hate filled and derogatory… One post I read recently said, “If you vote for Trump, you are not my friend and you are not a Christian regardless of what you claim!” They went on to say that voting for Trump would be tantamount to personal approval of the mistreatment, destruction of and murder of peoples of color. Wow… that is a whole new level of ridiculous.

Donald Trump has absolutely said many things that I disagree with but don’t tell me or anyone else that voting for him disqualifies me from following Jesus.

It’s far from just people posting on Facebook their moral judgments about Donald Trump that has bothered me. Max Lucado, a pastor I have a great deal of respect for, recently took, what he called, an unprecedented public stand against Donald Trump. In part, he said on his blog (in part), I’m a pastor. I don’t endorse candidates or place bumper stickers on my car. But I am protective of the Christian faith. If a public personality calls on Christ one day and calls someone a “bimbo” the next, is something not awry? OK. I get that… but he didn’t stop there… he went on to say, When it comes to language, Mr. Trump is in a league of his own. “It is out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus said.3 Let speech befit the call. We, as Christians, would do well to summon any Christian leader to a higher standard. This includes pastors (especially this one), teachers, coaches and, by all means, presidential candidates. 

So Max Lucado got angry enough to take a stand against a candidate running for office because that candidate claims to be a Christian but doesn’t portray the heart of a Christian? Am I missing something? Isn’t that the exact same problem he should have with Hillary Clinton? Hillary Clinton supports, promotes and condones unfettered access to abortion and saying that a mother should have the right to terminate the pregnancy because an unborn person has no constitutional rights!. (That alone keeps me from voting for many democratic party candidates.) Call me old-fashioned. Call me narrow-minded. But where is the moral outrage over a politician who so strongly and vigorously defends and fights for abortion while simultaneously talking about their faith and belief in Christ?

So, if you’re a Christian, how should you vote? Well, it’s very simple. You

– – – {850 WORD COUNT REACHED) – – –

Jason Rehmel is the Lead Pastor at Eastside Christian Church on the east side of Cincinnati. If you are ever in the area – stop by and say hello! Weekend service times are Sundays at 9:30am and 11am!

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