“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.
It is the hour of decision. The time for this noble purpose is upon us.
You and I must choose.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The stakes have seldom been higher.
Our families. Our faith. Our freedom. Our future.
Our country and today as never before, yes, the world.
We enter upon our quadrennial season of presidential politics blessed as no people on earth have ever been blessed – with the individual right and collective duty to determine the destiny of our American Republic.
Men gave their lives to defend our freedom of self-determination. They fought and died so you and I could quietly mark a secret ballot and have a voice in deciding who one of the most powerful people on earth will be.
Only three men have occupied the Oval Office for the past quarter century. The American voters have elected each of them twice.
Their longevity in the White House makes this election even more important – perhaps the most significant of our lifetime.
Americans enter this political season angry, fearful, disillusioned and deeply divided.
The Christian voter looks to God, places ultimate trust in Jesus Christ and embraces hope over despair.
How then, shall we vote?
1. We must think for ourselves and never let anyone else take the place of our own judgment, aided by prayer and reliance upon the God of the nations. There are those who would earnestly and with sound conviction seek to influence our vote. Some are less sincere. They seek power and boast of their “numbers”. But while our vote may be informed by others it must never be manipulated or taken for granted.
If you value your citizenship, then pray, read, study and mediate – for yourself. No one should speak for you – not your husband, not your wife and not your minister. Beware of endorsements. God’s not endorsing anyone. It may take more work, but thinking independently is worth it.
If you do that when you buy a car, why not when you vote for the leader of the free world?
2. Where a candidate stands on the issues matters more than where he attends church. A candidate’s religious beliefs, likes yours and mine, is a question best left to himself and God. The founders were wise to prohibit a religious test for public office and even wiser to insert that prohibition in our Constitution. They rightfully feared both prejudice and pandering.
Let faith be weighed among other considerations but never alone. Martin Luther said he’d rather be governed by a competent Hun that an incompetent Christian. Luther was right.
3. On abortion and gay marriage the next president will be able to do little, if anything. While they matter deeply to Christians as issues of biblical morality, these divisive questions must not determine the Christian’s vote at the expense of other public policy concerns.
What a president believes about the definition of marriage won’t matter much if he makes a mistake with North Korea, Iran or Russia.
4. Where a candidate stands on non-economic issues, however, still matters deeply. A president’s views on family, social responsibility, crime, gun control and religious liberty will help to shape the direction of our nation in many ways that transcend mere economics. His or her views on the judiciary, for example, could determine the makeup of the Supreme Court for decades.
5. Nothing matters more than a person’s character. And when that person is the President of the United States, his or her character can be paramount in charting the nation’s course. Our country’s greatest leaders have been men of courage, compassion, vision and integrity. If there is one moral issue that should loom large for the voter of faith, this is it.
The next president will face staggering domestic and foreign policy challenges. Among these are creating opportunities for economic growth, rebuilding a dangerously weakened and obsolete military, forging a just immigration policy, reducing the deficit, restraining an arrogant and bloated federal bureaucracy, reforming entitlement programs, and restoring the trust of America’s allies.
Any two or three of these would test the ability of the most gifted executive.
So our next president would do well to remember the humility of a new leader’s ancient prayer for “an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I Kings 3:9, KJV).
Following the vote in Philadelphia approving the new Constitution, an anxious observer standing on the steps of Independence Hall asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of a government had been created, a monarchy or a republic. Dr. Franklin, who had wisely guided his younger colleagues in designing the greatest document of self government in the history of the world, smiled and told the lady, “A republic, if you can keep it”.
If we can keep it.
Preserving our Republic is what this next election is all about.
Nothing less is at stake.
This summons the thoughtful, well-informed, active and sober engagement of every Christian citizen.