Recently the president of my church body wrote about the elections and it got me thinking about what could I write about it.
Being a Lutheran Christian, I do not see voting as a way to “Christianize” America. That can only happen through preaching/witnessing to Jesus and His saving grace. Thus, I share Luther’s comment “I would rather have a smart pagan than a dumb Christian as my emperor!”
Maybe instead of looking at the personalities of the candidates we look more at their policies. But even then, how do I as a Christian analyze their policies?
Here is the one overriding question a Christian might need to ask: “Which candidate has plans or policies that will help my neighbor” Martin Luther strongly preached that we are free in Christ to serve our neighbor. Similarly, Paul stressed “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 He also said, “whatever you do do to the glory of God!” 1 Corinthians 10:31 Luther often stressed as did St. John and Jesus that we love and serve God by loving and serving our neighbor (cf. Matthew 25:31ff; 1 John 4:26)
Here I agree with my denominational president that each of us has different life experiences that shape our thoughts and desires. Thus, Christians may indeed be similarly motivated to help neighbor but come to different conclusions and thus, cast their ballot differently.
So, who is my neighbor? Anyone who has need of me according to the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Many Christians including Lutheran Missouri Synod Lutherans would think of the unborn child that needs our help in order to experience that inalienable right to life our constitution states. Certainly, they cannot speak up for themselves at the ballot box. Likewise, the woman carrying that child needs our help.
Who else? The poor is another answer and the poor indeed are stressed in the Gospel of Luke. The poor today include the black families which suffer from a terrible high unemployment rate that has not changed much, if at all, during recent years.
While we are to do good to all men says Paul’s admonition he does add “especially to the household of faith.” Christians around the world but especially in the Middle East and North Korea are being kidnapped, raped, and even butchered just because they are Christians. Dealing with ISIS would help some of the persecuted Christians. The outcry about such things needs to come also from our government to other governments that allow such a GENOCIDE! Which candidate will speak up against persecution? Which candidate has policies that will lessen the occurrence of persecution and bring perpetrators to justice? And here in America Christians who own businesses have experienced a lower level but still very felt persecution as their business are being sued solely because they are following godly principles. The consciences of many Christians are being disrespected and even martyred on the altar of political correctness.
Who else? Who else would you add? Students with crushing loan debt? Veterans not being well served by the VA hospitals? Christians who are not being accepted into colleges because they are Christians? Physically and mentally challenged people? (at least one of our local communities has an issue on the ballot related to them)
No doubt your life experiences would make you add yet others to remember as you go to vote. And certainly, if we worked together the compiled list would be very long!
So, this November how should a Christian vote? (Notice I did not say for whom should a Christian vote). If we follow the admonition of Paul, John and Martin Luther we will study the policies of each of the candidates (go to their official site and/or the site of their party–much more helpful than Facebook!!!) and pray about which candidate will improve the lives of OTHERS over the next 4 years. In a few weeks the disgusting rancor of these races will be over. Please consider turning down the light on the candidates’ past and their personalities and turn up the spotlight on their policies! Most of all think of “your neighbor”.
And then go and vote in November seeking not your own good but especially the good of your neighbor!