As Americans, we are blessed to live in a nation where we choose our own leaders and where we have freedom of speech in the process of doing so. Although the candidate choices presented to us in any given election or for any given position may not be our favorite personalities and may not align with our views on every issue, we should not lightly esteem the opportunity to select who will represent us.
As Christian Americans, we want the Word of God to inform every decision of our lives, including for whom we vote. This is not to say that our vote is an endorsement of every aspect of a candidate’s life. It is to say that it is a biblically-informed selection between the choices available. And this process is not nearly as complex as some would suggest.
In fact, most of the positions up for vote in this coming election (and there are more positions than the presidential position!) can be selected through the following criteria:
1. Policy Alignment
I have written before of three major policy positions I believe must be taken into account in an election:
Life—Every unborn child is a person created by God who deserves the opportunity to live out his God-given purpose. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Christians who argue along the lines of, “Yes, unborn babies are important, but so are economic policies that help this or that disenfranchised group,” are not understanding the seriousness of abortion and sacredness of life. Because this is so abundantly clear in Scripture and because the taking of a life is irreversible, when given the choice between a candidate who supports life in the womb and one who supports that life being taken, I will always vote for the pro-life candidate.
Israel—In the early pages of Scripture, God promised a special blessing to nations who support Israel and a definite curse to those who harm her. Genesis 12:3 says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” I believe that some of God’s blessing upon our nation can be attributed to our continued support of the State of Israel, and I am always concerned by candidates who tolerate antisemitism or who support policies that weaken our support for Israel.
Family—From creation, God built the home as the foundation of society (Genesis 1:27, 2:24; Ephesians 5:22–25, 6:1). Any politician who attempts to redefine the biblical foundation of a home and marriage is, in fact, chipping away at the bedrock of society.
Good leaders—and good Christians, for that matter—may differ on the specifics of forming financial or foreign policies that are most likely to help the American people. But because the three I just listed are clear in Scripture as definite either/or choices, I care most about these.
2. Stated Platform
When it comes to policy alignment, even with the three I just mentioned, not every candidate checks every box, and sometimes there will be multiple candidates who check a box. So my next criteria is the platform on which a candidate is running. In most electoral races, this boils down to with which party a candidate has chosen to run.
In years past, the two primary parties of American politics had similar end goals but different paths on how to get there. That is, both parties wanted to see America flourish and, because our nation was, by and large, comprised of more Christians than it is today, both parties tended to have similar views on clear moral issues. That is not always the case today.
I recently came across a guide that provides a comparison of the party platforms for this election season. It compares the party platforms on the sanctity of human life, redefining marriage, conscience rights in healthcare, religious liberty, international religious liberty, and several other areas. (You can download it here.)
If all things were equal in policy alignment and stated platform, I would then make my selection based on the candidate’s personality. This may include everything from relatability to communication style to likability. But where there is significant differences in policy and platform between two different candidates, personality doesn’t factor into my decision at all.
The reality is, no matter what a candidate’s personality is—whether it is bombastic and overbearing or compassionate and relatable—what will matter for his or her time in office is what policies are implemented and what platform is furthered.
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As we approach this election, I do believe it is an American Christian’s civic duty to vote. But I think it is important that we remember that no candidate represents our ultimate hope.
As a father, grandfather, and pastor, I deeply care about the preservation of moral values and, especially, religious liberty in our state and nation. I believe those values and liberty are on the ballot this year (on both local and national levels). So, for those reasons, I’m going to vote along the considerations in this post—even if I don’t particularly care for everything about every candidate I select.
As a Christian, I remain confident in the sovereignty of God and the power of the gospel. I continue to pray for a spiritual awakening, and I continue to preach the gospel of Christ. Ultimately, I look forward to the Millennial reign of Christ when Jesus—the only perfect ruler who will establish the only perfect government—will rule.
But meanwhile, I still vote.