. The Moral Tragedy
Principles Will Not Bend
But his [the candidate's] unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
II. The Political Fallacy
Hitler vs. Stalin
Registering a Protest
A Sacd Institutioren
Wanted: An “Ordinary Citizen”
Reform Follows Understanding
- If it be conceded that the role of government is to secure “certain unalienable rights, that among them are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” by what stretch of the imagination can this be achieved when we vote for those who are openly committed to unsecuring these rights?
- Responsibilities of citizenship involve a host of personal attributes, first and foremost a duty to one’s Maker, duty to self, to family, to neighbors, and so on. Is it not evident, therefore, that voting is a mere formality after the fact? It’s much too late to be a responsible citizen if the responsibility hasn’t been exercised before election day. Everybody voted for Khrushchev in the last Russian election! Clearly, that was no evidence of responsible citizenship.
- See The Law by Frédéric Bastiat, pp. 16–17. Obtainable from the Foundation for Economic Education.
- One might like to disqualify everybody who receives governmental aid but, then, who would remain? The very bread we eat is subsidized. Those who ride on planes or use the mails, and so on, would be disqualified.
- See The Crowd by Gustave Le Bon (New York: The Viking Press, 1960), p. 4.
Are Christians content to vote for the lesser of two evils? The Republican Party sure seems to think so. Their battle cry of “Anyone but Obama” has been reverberating across the land for nearly two years now, but is that really the kind of philosophy that should determine the leader of our nation? John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said that “it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” This election may be the very first election in the history of America in which neither of the presidential candidates from the two major parties can legitimately claim to be a Christian. Should the Christians of America be willing to vote for the lesser of two evils?
No! We should not. In Romans 3:7, Paul asks a question that has been the focus of countless debates throughout the whole of human history. If we know for sure that telling a lie would accomplish more for the Lord than telling the truth, would the lie be justified by the good that it could accomplish? Verse 8 of the same chapter gives us the answer to that question in saying that we are not to do evil that good may come. The answer of Romans 3:8 stands in stark contrast to the prevailing philosophy of our day which is based on Voltaire’s pragmatic doctrine of “the best is the enemy of the good.” This philosophy is often reflected in the political dogma of the major parties, but the answer of God’s Word is very clear. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught.” (II Thessalonians 2:15)
Consider the instruction given to us in Romans 16:17-20:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Let’s apply this to the particular topic of politics. In this passage, God tells us to mark certain politicians and avoid them – don’t follow them – don’t vote for them. Which ones? The ones who cause Christians to either divide or offend in a manner contrary to God’s Word. Notice that he doesn’t speak of all those who cause divisions and offenses, for even the Word of God causes division (Hebrews 4:12). It is only those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to God’s Word that we are to avoid. This could be someone who says: “We don’t need to be divided over the issue of whether abortion is right or wrong. We all agree that there should be fewer abortions, so let’s just join together to accomplish that goal. Let’s limit our divisions to things like who we want to win the Super Bowl.” This kind of politician is to be avoided. He serves not our Lord Jesus Christ, but his own belly, and he uses good works and fair speeches to deceive the people into following him.
Now, verse 19 has direct application to today’s conservatives. Notice that God begins by praising them for being obedient and having a great testimony, but He said that He would yet have them do something more. He wanted them to be wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil. Notice that the contrast is between wisdom and simplicity not between knowledge and ignorance. The Bible tells us that a wise man “useth knowledge aright.” (Proverbs 15:2) Therefore, God’s desire for us is that we will use our knowledge of the candidates correctly by casting our vote unto that which is good. We are to be simple concerning evil in that we refuse to use our knowledge in a manner that helps these men who are causing divisions and offenses contrary to the Word of God.
Then notice verse 20. What will be the result of rejecting those politicians who cause us to go against the Word of God? When we do this, God gives us victory not over our political opponents but over Satan himself, which brings me to I Peter 5:8-9.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
What is Satan’s desire for this country? Is it not the same thing that he desires for every country? Is it not to turn us away from following God and to cause us to be more and more wicked until God Himself is forced to destroy us? As Christians, we must remember that Satan is our real enemy, not the other political party. Perhaps to defeat our political opponents it would be wise to compromise and permit a little bit of evil into our ranks in exchange for more votes, but that tactic will never work against Satan. This enemy can only be defeated by standing firm and without compromise on what we believe to be true.
Many say that this philosophy is all well and good but that it will never work in the “real” world. Of course, my first question is which world is more real, the world created by God and subject to His laws or a world governed by the imaginations of mere men? But I have also asked these people to explain why it will not work, and I always get an answer along the lines of, “He can’t get enough votes” or “He doesn’t have enough money.” I have never once received the answer of, “Because God will not bless him with a victory.” In fact, God is left completely out of their explanation as if He doesn’t even exist. But we know that God does exist. He does govern the affairs of men, and He never loses. Therefore, His side of the issue is always the winning side.
I am reminded of the passage in Isaiah 46:9-10:
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
However, we must keep in mind that as Christians, sometimes our victory comes in spite of a loss. According to I Peter 3:14-16, sometimes God asks the righteous to suffer a loss so that He can put the wicked to shame.
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled … Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
At first, this may seem counter intuitive, but let’s consider two opposing scenarios. Imagine for a moment that the Republican National Convention has concluded, and a very liberal contender has been announced as the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States. There are two possible responses that the Christians of America could have to this decision by the Republican Party. They could choose to fall in line and vote for the Republican candidate regardless of his anti-biblical positions, or they could reject the decision of the Republican Party and vote for a candidate who has committed to govern our nation in a way that agrees with God’s Word.
Each of these two responses would produce a different result within the Republican Party. If the Christians of America choose the first option of supporting whichever candidate bears the Republican title, then the leaders of the Republican Party will have once again confirmed their presumption that the Christians will never abandon the Republican Party. If they have no fear of losing the Christian vote, then they will continue to seek out and support candidates who appeal to the vote which they are afraid of losing – the vote of the moderates and liberals. On the other hand, if the Christians of America choose the latter option and the Republican Party loses the upcoming presidential election, then the response of the party leaders will be very different. They will have learned that their abandonment of biblical principles is unacceptable to Christian voters, and in the future, they will seek out and support candidates who appeal to the vote which they are afraid of losing – the vote of their Christian base. As long as the Republican Party believes that the Christian base will simply fall in line and vote for whatever candidate they put forth, they will continue to seek candidates that appeal directly to voters that are more liberal.
This analysis brings us to the conclusion that pragmatism is self-perpetuating. Each time that the Christians of our nation give in to Voltaire’s pragmatic approach of choosing the lesser of two evils, we make our plight more difficult. I am reminded of the nations which occupied the land of Israel after it was conquered by the king of Assyria. At first, these nations had no fear of the God of Israel, and they suffered major setbacks as a result, but then they came up with a compromise. They decided to learn about God and tell everyone that they feared Him while at the same time continuing to actually serve their own gods. II Kings 17:40-41 reveals to us the long-term results of that decision:
Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children's children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
The people of those nations chose a pragmatic compromise, and their descendants were never able to turn back from the course which had been set.
It is imperative that we remember the warning given in Hebrews 3:12-14.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Now, perhaps you are wondering why I skipped verse 15 in my quote from II Peter chapter 3. Verse 15 of this chapter provides us with a response to those Republicans who insist that we would do more harm than good if we refuse to vote for a liberal Republican candidate. This verse states:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Here we see the true genius in deciding to vote according to God’s Word regardless of the consequences. A Christian who publicly refuses to vote for any candidate that does not adhere to biblical principles will have many people ask him how he can have any hope for the future of our nation when he chooses to vote in such a manner. What better opportunity could there be for teaching others that our hope is in the Lord? I have a friend who is an atheist, and he is a very difficult man to witness to; but when I told him that I would not vote for a liberal Republican, he immediately wanted to know why. My simple stand on the principles of the Bible opened the door for a discussion on the work of God throughout the course of human history.
As we enter the general election season, let us remember that our hope for the future of our nation is not found in a political party but rather in our submission to the Word of God. It is God who controls the heart of the king (Proverbs 21:1) and the course of the nation. Let us cast our vote in His favor, and marvel at the work of His hand. Regardless of the political outcome, we cannot possibly fail as long as we seek to follow Him (Psalm 37:18-20).
In I Chronicles 19:13, Joab decided that he would stand his ground and fight for the Lord regardless of the consequences. In doing so, he gave his brother the following exhortation:
Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.
Are you willing to follow the advice of Joab? I have determined that I will never again cast my vote in support of a candidate who holds to unbiblical principles in areas directly affected by the position that he is seeking to fill. Will you join me in rejecting the pragmatism of this world and refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils?