This blog is in response to a comment I received on my last blog, “What Principles Guide Your Vote?” Here it is:
<<Great article. Appreciate your thinking, especially since it mirrors mine.
I was taken back though by your need to say you were not endorsing a candidate. It is not that I think you need to endorse a candidate, it is that if you follow your own principles you have only one choice for voting among the two main candidates. At least to me that seems obvious. I have noticed that there seems to a great reluctance among those who clearly would not endorse or vote for the current President to admit that they will be voting for Romney. I have wondered if his Mormonism is the issue. What are we afraid of? The issue of religious liberty alone is cause to say we need another man running this country.
My thought. Write the article and let the chips fall where they may without the qualifier because unless I have missed something in what you said, you are endorsing Romney, or at the very least, will be voting for him.
I hope you know this comes from a friend.>>
I do know this comes from a friend and I really appreciate the comments, especially since you said it was a great article! Let me reply because I did make an intentional choice. But not for the reasons you state. Mr. Romney’s religion doesn’t play into my decision, neither does my fear at taking a stand. It was a deliberate choice that I think other Christian leaders ought to consider.
1) My article was about principles. From the moment I say I support a certain candidate, 50+% of the people who may read my blog, may never get past that name. I hoped my readers would get past the names of politicians to the principles that are rooted in God’s Word. I know that there are godly Christians who will be voting differently than me. I’m okay with that. I just want them to know why, biblically, they are voting the way they do. And I thought it would be good to have a discussion about it.
2) If I endorse a candidate, I may be unwittingly endorsing someone with whom I disagree on many things. To endorse, in my position as a spiritual leader, I may be aligning myself publicly with someone that doesn’t reflect godly values in other areas. I don’t want that kind of public alignment. I remember hearing Billy Graham’s regret after he heard audio tapes made by Richard Nixon. With some, it undid his credibility, just as his latest endorsement has done. In the voting booth, I have to make a choice, but there it is easier to dissect what I agree with and what I disagree with and then make a private decision.
3) This election is bigger than one presidential candidate. There are many local issues and local officials that are being elected into office. My endorsement of a candidate could communicate endorsement for a party. And there may be others in the opposite party at various levels of government who are more aligned by the principles I have outlined. In some ways, I think the local elections are more important than that of President. These are the people who affect our school systems, our court houses and state legislatures.
4) I don’t know what God is up to. As a pastor, I have a responsibility to represent what God has revealed, or at least be clear when it is only my opinion. In my blog, I was writing about biblical principles. And I believe them to be important. But I don’t presume to know who God wants to hold office. Why did God raise up Nebuchadnezzar, or even the evil kings of Israel? God may be doing something with this nation that I can’t perceive. So, I try to share the values and the principles that are rooted in God’s Word and I rely on Him to determine the outcome.
Whether or not you think these are good reasons, here they are. In all of this I am certain of a few things:
1) The gospel of Jesus Christ is more important than any political argument or solution we vote on.
2) Believers will always have differing opinions on what are the most important things.
3) God still sets up and brings down rulers of nations.
4) And, only One Kingdom will stand!
There’s room for more opinion, so give us yours. What are other reasons pastors need to be careful about political endorsement? Or, what are reasons pastors should endorse candidates?