It’s ironic that my politically related blogs are getting a lot of mileage (the last one got 12,000 hits in the first 18 hours, five times the usual.) If you read my normal blogs, Facebook or Twitter, you know that I regularly focus on Scripture and great quotes of a Christ-centered nature, and almost never talk about politics. I sometimes address the value of human life, but that’s not politics, that’s just loving your weak and vulnerable neighbor, like Jesus said to do (Matthew 22:37-39).
I don’t watch political programs or listen to political radio and rarely read political articles. I do care about helping the poor and needy (including unborn children), and I care about religious liberties, as they relate to our call to follow Christ and love God and our neighbors, and as I try to pass on to my children and grandchildren freedoms that were passed on to me. These are what have motivated me to address these subjects.
In this blog, I’ll respond to some of the many comments submitted to these previous blogs:
Readers’ comments and my responses
1. “Don’t put your trust in Mitt Romney to save this country!”
My trust isn’t in Mitt Romney. Not for a moment. No candidate can save this country, not in this election or any other! Mitt Romney couldn’t save this country if he were the most godly man ever to inhabit the White House. He is only one man, he’s flawed, and, sadly, as I’ve said, especially in the third blog, I believe his view of Christ, the gospel and the true church are seriously in error, contradicting Scripture.
God’s Word is emphatic: “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save” (Psalm 146:3).
Only Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. Only he can bear the weight of our trust. “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD’” (Jeremiah 17:5).
My trust isn’t in this country either. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
Only God can save the USA, and I don’t know whether He will. Clearly, we don’t deserve it, but that doesn’t always stop God, does it? But whether or not this country survives the judgment due us (for many things, including the shedding of innocent blood), we DO know that our God of sovereign grace will go right on saving people.
If Mitt Romney becomes president he could certainly fail. He may come no closer to balancing the budget than Presidents Bush and Obama. Some think he may lead us into an unnecessary war against Iran, or another country. Others have warned that Romney will be guided by the Mormon White Horse Prophecy. Some have commented they believe a Romney presidency would be a great platform for Mormonism. This idea troubles me, though Mormonism has sometimes made converts precisely because its true nature is not known. It’s possible that more public scrutiny will help some not to choose it. Others say that a Romney presidency will be no more dictated by Mormonism than the Kennedy presidency was by Catholicism.
Presidents face many events and world leaders outside their control. Sometimes the difference between a great presidency and a failed presidency is simply what good and bad things happened in the world, and in America, that were outside the president’s control.
Governor Romney is not the ideal candidate. The only question is whether he is a better alternative than the only other man who can possibly win. And whether God wants us to use our vote to choose less evil and more good, or whether he would be more honored if we use our vote to make a statement of our ideals even if our preferred candidate cannot win.
2. “I’m voting for the candidate I most believe in. If we elect a president who takes away religious liberties then we’ll get exactly what we deserve. And maybe persecution is what we need anyway.”
There’s a half-truth in this. As He did in the spread of the early church, God often uses persecution to spread the gospel. In fact, in this world under the curse, God often uses suffering to draw people to Himself (as I share in my books If God is Good and The Goodness of God). Persecution for the gospel will draw a line in the sand so that nominal faith will be sifted out. So perhaps persecution is something God will use to get us serious about living out the gospel.
Still, don’t wise people do what they can, short of denying Christ and his truths, to avoid being persecuted? After all, God uses sickness and accidents to accomplish good. But it is still reasonable to try to avoid sickness and accidents. God does indeed use persecution, but isn’t it still reasonable for us to take steps to avoid persecution by defending religious liberties and seeking to elect a president who will preserve those liberties?
I think the “it’s not my fault” approach can be a bit irresponsible. Might not it be partly our fault if we didn’t vote for the only person in this election who could reverse the stripping away of religious liberties?
The argument that we’d be getting exactly what we deserve is certainly true. But that doesn’t mean we should seek to get what we deserve or stand by apathetically as freedoms people died to purchase are taken away from us. What we should do is stand for liberty, make efforts to preserve it, and then if it is taken away, trust God to use our suffering—and that of our children and grandchildren—for His glory.
3. “The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen, but do you see in any of his writings an attempt to use his rights as a citizen to influence a city? No. He used the message of the Gospel, the power of God to those being saved.”
It is absolutely true that Paul’s great faith was in God and in the power of the gospel. But in fact, Paul did use his rights as a Roman citizen to call for justice in how he was treated: “As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, ‘Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?’” (Acts 22:25).
Paul appealed to his rights once again, with God’s kingdom in the forefront:
Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” (Acts 25:10-12)
Scripture models for us how to have our minds on God’s kingdom, and not put our hope in the kingdoms of men. But at the same time, we should recognize that God has sovereignly used American churches, with our liberties, to send out missionaries all over the world. Now, persecuted churches can also send out missionaries. But while we still have rights, it makes sense to steward them and protect them. This is why I applaud the many Christian organizations that have filed lawsuits against the government for attempting to take away their freedoms by forcing them to pay for insurance to provide abortions and contraceptives for all their employees (see my blog on religious liberties).
4. “I won’t vote for any candidate that would allow a single baby to die. Since Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would allow babies conceived by rape or incest to be aborted, it would be wrong to vote for them.”
There have been dozens of comments to this effect.
Now, this would be exactly right if the other viable candidate’s position saved more children’s lives. But we are in a general election in which 95% of voters have indicated they will vote for either President Obama or Governor Romney. President Obama supports the legality of all abortions. He favors no law which would save the life of a single child. Governor Romney favors laws which would keep legal only 2% of abortions, while making illegal 98% of all abortions in this country.
Yes, you can vote for Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, who believes all abortion should be made illegal. But in the last poll I saw, he has the support of less than 1% of the population. If he cannot come anywhere close to winning the election, he cannot help any children.
By refusing to vote for Mitt Romney, who favors saving 98% of children, and casting your vote for a man who would save 100% if he could (but of course he never will when getting 1% of the vote), you end up helping elect another man who favors abortion for 100% of those children.
Now, I realize the president doesn’t have any power to implement such a law. But I am addressing this because a number of states have attempted to enact various lifesaving laws, including informed consent, parental consent, and making abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest and endangering the life of the mother. So just think in terms of what the candidates favor, not simply what they have the power to do. After all, the point is many are refusing to vote for such candidates because of this position.
“We don’t dare think pragmatically.” More on this in the next blog, but for now, can I just say that if 100 babies are drowning, I would rather jump in and save 98 of them than stand on the shore and say, “I’m not going to do what I can to save any of those babies unless I can save all of them.” If saving as many babies as you can even when you know you won’t save them all is “pragmatism,” so be it. It is also just doing what you can to save precious children God loves. No one believes more strongly than I do that children conceived by rape and incest are just as precious as other children. But we must begin somewhere, and after 40 years of legalized abortion, every poll shows that people will not approve a law that wouldn’t allow for abortions in the cases of rape and incest.
Be sure you are thinking clearly about this. If you have 100 babies who are going to live, and you say it’s okay for two of them to die, that is horrific! But this is not our situation! If you have 100 babies who are already going to die, and you can’t save all 100 but you can save 98, shouldn’t you do so? To sacrifice the 98 because two are going to die is illogical. It can be argued that it is immoral. How ironic that people would take the moral high ground by allowing the 98 to die when their brothers and sisters are trying to save their lives. Can’t we do what is possible to save the 98% and then do all we can to persuade people not to kill the other 2? (I’ve also written on the question of the life of the mother being at stake.)
Twenty years ago in Oregon there was a ballot measure that would have made abortion illegal except in the cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother. Had it passed, it would have saved tens of thousands of lives. But two groups rose up against it. The abortionists, with Planned Parenthood on the one hand, and on the other hand many prolife Christians who said they would not support a measure that allowed even a single child to die. But of course, those children and fifty times more were already dying. And since they couldn’t save every life, by voting against the measure they chose not to save a single life (to the utter delight of Planned Parenthood and the abortionists).
These no-compromise believers may have slept well at night, but all those babies whose lives were not saved kept crying out to me.
5. “The Republican Party is not consistent with its prolife platform.”
Many have commented they believe the Republican Party is not telling the truth when it affirms a prolife platform. Or, at least, you can’t count on a Republican president following through (never mind the Mexico City Policy, which they have followed through with). But I have another question. Is there anything about the Democratic Party’s platform and actions that makes you doubt even for a moment that it will fully support the death of every unborn child at every stage of pregnancy right up until birth? So if you’re really prolife, you can be skeptical whether Republicans will do the right thing, but you can know for sure—and if you doubt this for a moment look at what was emphasized again and again at the Democratic National Convention—that if President Obama is reelected, abortion will be more firmly entrenched than ever in any policies and healthcare mandates that come from the White House. (See this African American pastor’s plea to Christians in the black community to not go along with this and other agendas.)
I will tell you this—if the Republican Party’s platform called for the legalized death of any poor and needy person, any person of any race, gender, sexual orientation, age or size, I would not retain membership in that Party. (I say this recognizing that the Republican Party is very flawed, and I am not enamored with it in any way, and I respect people who have left it to become independents or members of a third party.)
6. “These blogs have seemed to embody the very opposite of an eternal perspective.”
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
This is an eternal perspective—to always look beyond our circumstances and trust that God is sovereign, and that He is working all things together for the good of his children (Romans 8:28-29). If this election turns out different than we hope, so be it. God will still be on the throne.
Our jobs are temporary, our health is temporary, our culture is temporary, our lives in this world are temporary. However, having an eternal perspective doesn’t mean you quit your job, refuse medical care, and don’t step out of the way of an oncoming car!
An eternal perspective doesn’t mean indifference to the world. You can have an eternal perspective and at the same time have a realistic view of what you can and cannot accomplish with a single vote in a single election.
You cannot bring in God’s kingdom with a vote. So some of us, seeking to honor our King and to help government restrain evil, vote for less evil and as much good as we can among the candidates who can possibly win. Then, regardless of the results, we move on, serving Christ and living in light of eternity, and reminding people America is not their true home. (In some cases, you might also spend the next four years investing in alternatives so that next time there is a candidate with even a remote chance to win who is better than either of the two electable choices were this time.)
More Election 2012 Blog Posts