With less than a month to go before the election, political blog posts are popping up everywhere, as expected. My blog is certainly no exception, though I expect that from here on out I’ll turn my attention back toward other matters for a little while.
Today, though, I just want to highlight some prominent Christian thinkers/authors who have written strong arguments in favor of a particular viewpoint of how Christians should approach the election. There seem to be only two real options out there, with a few varieties of each: 1) Voting against Obama (as opposed to voting for Romney), or 2) Voting your conscience (either a third-party candidate or abstaining).
It comes as no surprise that I’ve not seen any posts titled “Why Conservatives Should Vote for Obama”, but I think it’s telling that I also haven’t seen anyone really talking about how much they love Mitt Romney. Maybe I just don’t run in that crowd. If you’re aware of a staunchly pro-Romney article from an evangelical perspective, I’d love to see it.
Here are some of the best representative articles of what our options appear to be:
Voting Against Obama / For Romney
Wayne Grudem, author of Politics – According to the Bible, was one of the most prominent supporters of “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”. While I’ve yet to hear his actual sermon from yesterday morning, I’m assuming based on things he wrote leading up to it that he endorsed Mitt Romney. He has compiled a list of 24 “moral and spiritual issues in the 2012 election” with differences in the two main political parties detailed. From his conclusion:
In the current political system in the United States, every vote for every candidate is much more a vote for one party or another than for the candidate. This is because laws are not passed by individuals but only by one political party the other, under the leadership of that party’s elected officials. Therefore Americans need to choose which column best represents their view, and then vote for candidates in the party that represents that column.
Dan Phillips pulled no punches in saying, “This election’s choice: Romney, third-party (=Obama), or don’t vote (=Obama)”. While he’s no admirer of Romney, he thinks any Christians who don’t vote for the GOP candidate are “idiots”. (See my response to Phillips’ article here.)
You want to make a difference? Vote for the only candidate with any possibility of making any positive difference in any of the categories I’ve outlined. That would be — much as I regret to have to say it — Mitt Romney.
Phillips’ fellow Pyromaniac Frank Turk makes a similar argument, utilizing mathematics. Primaries, he says, are the place to vote your conscience. But in the general elections,
You have to vote for someone with a mathematical likelihood of winning if you really want to affect change… a vote against Obama but not for Romney ensures Obama’s victory.
One variation on this theme is seen in those who argue explicitly against voting for the Democratic Platform, without actually endorsing a candidate. This is best represented in this John MacArthur clip from last Sunday:
Voting Your Conscience
What of those who can’t bring themselves to pull the trigger for Romney, yet know they can’t vote for Obama?
Douglas Wilson attempts to carve out a position in which he can prefer a Romney win on one level, yet not vote for him to help make it happen. Though many have critiqued this as an illogical viewpoint, he makes a good case for it. And while he thinks that Obama will lose, he feels “we will deserve everything we get” if Obama wins.
So I grant that Obama is bad and that double Obama will be double bad. Got it. And I grant that Obama will be far worse than Romney if you placed them side by side and kept them there. But who is going to follow Romney? Will it be eight years of Romney, then eight years of Ryan, and then the millennium? Come on. Republicans will do what Republicans do, which is to say, they will screw it up somehow. They always seek to propitiate the gods of bipartisanship.
Thabiti Anyabwile says that he won’t vote. In his first argument for why not, he turns to W.E.B. DuBois for justification in protesting a “helpless vote” by not voting. After taking a lot of heat he wrote an excellent follow-up article, the best part of which is his insistence that Christians need to “care about abortion and more than abortion.” I couldn’t agree more!
It’s not rhetoric I want in my candidate, or invented lives and embellished pasts, faux images and focus-group-tailored soundbites. I want to elect a free man, someone who stands flat-footed and leans into the cross-current of moral drift with conviction and courage. If he’s out there, he has my vote. And if a two-party system denies a righteous man opportunity to stand for justice then the system itself is the evil we need to oppose.
Principles for Voting
Perhaps the most helpful thing to keep in mind this November are certain Biblical principles which should guide our voting. Many Christian leaders have spoken on this without endorsing any candidate or platform (which, by the way, is the best way for a pastor to address politics from the pulpit, in my opinion). The best succinct version of this is R.C. Sproul’s article Principles for Voting, much of which is taken from his excellent book on Abortion.
Another excellent resource is Tony Evans’ new book How Should Christians Vote? The book is this month’s free download from ChristianAudio. I listened to it this weekend. I’ll try to get a full review posted sometime this week, but for now I commend it to you. It’s less than two-and-a-half hours from start to finish, and will be well worth your time.
As for me, I’ve all but made up my mind, but I’m probably not going to tell you who I’m voting for. In fact, I’m probably not going to write much more about the election until it’s over. I am interested in hearing your take on these articles, though. Who speaks for you? Are there any viewpoints I’m missing?