What Is Your Stance on the Two Major Political Parties?

There are Christians who are Libertarians and Constitution Party members, as well as Republicans and Democrats.

I am a registered Republican, largely because their platform is prolife. They have been generally more pro-family and have shown more respect for matters like school vouchers that would allow people more educational choice and provide more competition that would force public schools to have to raise their performance standards.

However, I do not like the fact that many Republicans seem to be only nominally concerned about the plight of the poor, and have not been outspoken on matters of social equality and environmental concerns.

While I applaud the concern for the poor and racial minorities, I do think that some Democratic leaders do not advocate programs that are actually helpful, and many that are harmful to the poor. Concern for the environment is a Christian value, since we are God’s stewards of His Earth, though there are people who misrepresent various environmental concerns.

If there were a race between a prolife Democrat and a prochoice Republican, I would vote for the Democrat. I never vote for someone simply because they are a Republican. It’s what they believe that matters. If two opponents were both prolife, I would compare their positions on other issues.

There are genuine prolife help-the-poor steward-the-environment Republicans and Democrats. But I hate that sometimes we seem to be given a choice between voting for someone who is committed to the killing of unborn children, on the one hand, and someone who is committed to supporting big business even when it means damaging the environment and marginalizing the poor. While no financial system is perfect, I do believe that capitalism has far more to commend it than socialism.

Some people believe that it is wrong to be “single issue” about the matter of abortion. In order for me to vote for a candidate it is not sufficient that he or she be prolife, but it is necessary. Why? Because personally I can’t cast a vote for someone committed to the killing of children any more than I could cast a vote for someone who says “it’s fine to kill unwanted illegal immigrants.” I don’t think I could stand before my Lord and say in good conscience, “Yes, this man was dedicated to the right for people to kill their children, but I preferred his environmental policies, so I voted for him.” (I agree with John Piper’s position on not voting for pro-abortion candidates; see One Issue Politics by John Piper.)

Nevertheless I think many environmental concerns are legitimate (others of course are extreme). Since no one ever actually says “I’m against the poor,” but “I think there are better ways for us to help the poor than throwing money at them without expectations....” it’s often more difficult to vote “single issue” regarding the poor because it’s about strategy and wisdom. Still, God does desire us to have a genuine heart for the truly poor. I address in Helping the Poor the different reasons people are poor and the importance of being good stewards in helping the truly poor among us.

I address some related concerns in my article Conservative, Liberal or Christian? It’s my belief that Christians in America tend to be seduced by the power offered them through politics.

If we are asked, “Are you Republican or Democrat?” or “Are you liberal or conservative?” I think we should respond “On what issue?” Our answer should be based on being biblical and Christ-honoring, not based on whether or not it is in keeping with any political party. God is not Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Constitution Party or anything else. He is the ultimate independent, and we are to follow Him first and foremost, and make all political alignments secondary.

I think Lyndon Johnson, for example, genuinely wanted to help the poor, but the welfare program has hurt countless poor in countless ways. The solution of course is not to stop helping the poor, but help them in smarter ways, perhaps finding an American equivalent to the models of African microenterprise. The problem is “compassionate Conservatives” which might have worked with a different heart, seems much more a ploy or a strategy of taking the higher ground of compassion without necessarily feeling much compassion.

Bob Casey Sr., when he was a democratic governor of PA, was outspoken against abortion, and I wished I lived there just so I could vote for him. He wasn’t allowed on the platform of the Democratic Convention because he was prolife. I loved the fact that he was willing to take the heat and try to change his party, as opposed to some nominally prolife Republicans who are only that because their power base wants them to be. I am disillusioned with both major parties, and I think there is way too much hope put into politics in the first place. I also think it’s unhealthy for Christians to be a voting block and pawns in the game of political power, rather than followers of Christ who don’t give a rip whether on any individual issue they look conservative or liberal, but simply whether they are biblical and reflect the heart of Christ.

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Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries