I'll admit it: I'm not terribly enthusiastic about our presidential candidates this year. It's been an extremely long campaign with lots of reasons to become cynical about our political process. Though I'm not jazzed about our candidates (for myriad reasons), I have already determined that I must be very proactive about this year's election. My activity will not be centered around get-out-the-vote volunteerism or other political efforts. Instead, I feel a tremendous burden to intercede in prayer. In fact, I will be fasting many meals and praying from today through election day and I am appealing that you join me. God's people need to stand in the gap and ask for His mercy upon our nation and its global influence.
If you've been a longtime reader of this blog, you know I'm not given to political commentary. I try not to make the same mistakes as many of the original followers of Jesus -- those who thought His kingdom was only to be an earthly, political kingdom. In fact, Jesus does reign over all the kingdoms of this world. But I am careful not to give the impression that I think the Kingdom of God and the United States of America are interchangeable. I'm not part of the Religious Right politically, even though I would fit nearly every aspect of that profile -- I'm evangelical, pro-life, highly involved in church, an active financial supporter of my church and many other Christian causes, and I'm a social conservative. But as a student of the gospel and the doctrine of sin, I do not think any political party is our salvation.
That said, I do think it's very important to vote. And I think we must think very carefully about how we vote and how those values align with Scripture. I do not find that we must vote our pocketbook in the Bible. I do not find we must vote national security in the Bible. But I do find that we must vote to uphold what Scripture tells us is the role of government: to be "an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." What is wrongdoing? It is the violation of God's commandments--murder, theft, and so on. The governing authorities are designed to be God's gracious gift to people in order to prevent lawlessness and anarchy. (Even though there are evil rulers, history shows us they are eventually overthrown. God will not be mocked.) This design is what Romans 13 impresses upon us. And in this chapter, we are also given our responsibility in response:
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:6-10 NIV)
Love does no harm to its neighbor. This is why we must lovingly not grow weary of the abortion topic. I imagine there were many who grew weary of the debates about abolition or civil rights or the eugenics concepts of the Holocaust or even the Rwandan genocide: "What can we do? It is what it is. This is not going to change in our lifetime." We can't watch millions being slaughtered and shrug our shoulders, voting for our wallets or our retirement plans. How would we be any different then from those we judge who did the same in previous horrific times?
If you don't know what Barack Obama's dangerous position on abortion is, then I URGE you to educate yourself. Justin Taylor has blogged about this extensively, but has also provided this helpful summary of Obama's confused thinking. Justin also linked to a report from the Guttmacher Institute that showed nearly half of all African-American pregnancies end in abortion. Incredible! And yet the nation's first African-American president (yes, he's biracial, but the emphasis is on being black) has said the first thing he would do as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would overturn every local, state, and federal abortion law passed in the past 35 years. When pressed on the topic by Rick Warren, Obama has famously said that it's "above my paygrade" to determine when a baby is entitled to human rights.
"Above my paygrade"? That's EXACTLY what is demanded of a president -- to be a leader in the area of human rights, to protect the innocent, to be God's instrument of justice on this earth.
At the beginning of this post, I said I was not enthusiastic about our presidential candidates. However, I am quite passionate about the issues at stake. Therefore, I will not waste my vote on issues not clearly articulated in Scripture. And I encourage you, if you are uncertain or not moved on some of these issues, to listen to an important sermon titled "Don't Waste Your Vote."
Finally, please join me in praying and fasting for our nation. Even if Obama is elected, the Bible says the heart of the king is in God's hands and He can direct it as He wills (Proverbs 21:1). Many are the plans of a man, but it's the Lord's purposes that stand (Proverbs 19:21). No matter which candidate wins, we need to pray for our leaders and for true righteousness in our nation's laws.
Do not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9).
(Update: Thanks, everyone, for participating in the discussion but this comment thread is now closed, post-election.)