No Valor

by Sean Perron

I am earnestly concerned about the slow cooking idea that is beginning to circulate among evangelicals regarding this year’s election. I recently read an article about pastors encouraging their congregations not to vote this year. They are arguing that Christian voters have no other option except to either stay at home or vote for a third party. They say we can’t vote for someone who promotes gay marriage nor should we vote for someone who follows Joseph Smith. Beware little flock! Beware of the planet owners. Stay inside this November…

But should Christians follow this advice?

I openly confess that I am writing with an agenda. I propose that if you do not vote this election year, you will be unfaithful to your duty as a Christian citizen, a failure as a clear thinking individual, and will be responsible contributing to a mindset that fuels immorality and wickedness.

The idea that Christians should avoid the polls this year because of their religious beliefs is a disgrace that is blinded by misguided conviction. This trumpet is blown by pastors who think they are calling their brothers and sisters to victory but are actually calling them to retreat while thousands are being killed on the battlefield. If you are an evangelical considering staying at home this election season, please consider the following points:

1) There will always be beliefs a presidential candidate holds that we will disagree with.

It should be our prayer that every president would believe in the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I wish every presidential candidate would turn from their sin and seek the kind face of God. But Eden is gone and along with it went the perfect president. If we are honest, every presidential candidate will believe, do, and promote things that we disagree with. Yet we can rally behind a candidate with our vote even if he falls drastically short of the ideal.
Christians are in the world and Jesus calls us to continue to remain in the world and help change it. But you and I can’t change an election by remaining on our couch, even if the cushions are stuffed with conviction.

2) There are more important issues at stake than baptism of the dead

I fully agree that Mormonism is wrong and leading many people away from the one true and living God. However, I am not baptizing the dead but I am trying to save the living. It is no secret that Barack Obama promotes abortion. It is also known that Mitt Romney is not fully pro life. He believes abortion in the instances of rape is permissible. He does not hold the Biblical position. But it is clear that Mitt Romney opposes Roe vs. Wade. It will only take one more pro-life supreme Court justice to turn the tide against abortion. The next president doesn’t determine everything about this issue but may have the opportunity to appoint new justices. This alone should awaken a flame in us to care about voting. This year you are given the option to help save lives and promote the sanctity of life. 5,000 abortions is better than 5 million abortions.

3) Not voting is voting

Last month, a famous pastor tweeted, “Been told not voting for Romney is a vote for Obama. That’s alright since that must mean not voting for Obama is a vote for Romney.”

While this is a cute quip, it makes a poor math equation.  Let me attempt to write on the chalkboard:

  • If Dick votes for Obama, and Jane does not vote, then the tally is 1 to 0.
  • If Dick votes for Obama, and Jane votes for Romney, then the tally is 1 to 1.
  • If Dick and Jane vote for Obama while Spot stays in the dog house, then the tally is 2 to 0.
  • See Obama win, watch Romney lose.

Or, for those who favor a third party, if Dick brings all of his friends to vote for Obama and Jane and all of her friends vote for Ralph, then the tally is 1,000,000 to 300.

Although we may wish it were not true, to vote for a third party has the same outcome as not voting. While it may sound reformational to write-in a ballet and say, “I’m voting my convictions”, it is actually the equivalent to firing a blank. It makes a loud noise and produces nothing. You win the battle of conviction but lose the war of reality. Christians cannot afford to pittel away their vote this year. We are people who redeem the time because Christ is drawing near.

4) You are responsible for your vote or lack thereof

If Christians do not vote, someone else will, and they might vote for killing babies or marrying homosexuals.  There are many issues at hand such as: abortion, big government, bankrupting health care, international relations and military disarmament. And like it or not, you and I are responsible for what we say or do not say.

The Christian voter who stays at home should be ashamed that he did not consider all the issues at hand and stand for what they could. God has given the American Christians a simple opportunity to impact their country. To neglect this blessing is  to insult God. If you have the God-given opportunity to vote for babies to have a chance at life, and instead you neglect that because you disagree with a man’s view of the Trinity, you are the most pitied of all men.

I fully heartily agree with the recent article Denny Burk wrote in the SBTS Towers,

“At the last judgement you will not be able to claim ignorance about your duty to defend innocent human life. Remember, more than 50 million innocent human lives have been snuffed out legally since 1973. If somehow you were unaware of this fact before reading this essay, you now know better. You are accountable for this knowledge, and your vote should reflect it.”

5) Consider Courage

If you will allow me to take it up a notch, we finally must consider courage.

Do you think it is brave to “no show” when thousands of soldiers have given their lives to make the polls available to us?  They were valiant to give everything for the freedom we are taking advantage of.  Yes, because of their valor we are free to sit on our rumps. But I cannot.  And if you sit, you must know that there is no courage in making the election a spectatorial event. There is no impact. There is no boldness. There is only shame. There is no valor in not voting.

8 thoughts on “No Valor

  1. Thanks for the post. As a graduate of Boyce College, I am always thankful to see students trying to apply the gospel to all areas of life.

    Overall, I agree with you about the importance of using our right to vote, though I think you may overstep the bounds when you call into question the courage of someone who decides to not cast their vote during this or any election.

    But the main thing I would like to address is the statement: “Although we may wish it were not true, to vote for a third party has the same outcome as not voting.” Do you really believe this? Are you telling me that if there was a third-party candidate with whom you agreed on every single issue (political and theological), you think it would be foolish to vote for him or her? Would you really allow pragmatism to win out over personal conviction? I have my doubts that you wouldn’t be out campaigning amongst your peers for the candidate.

    I have to disagree. Sometimes, an action is necessary, not because of the immediate impact, but because of hope that the action will have a future impact. For instance, in light of the continuing polarization between the two parties, a gap is growing larger in the middle of the political spectrum that needs to be filled, and an increase in votes for a third-party candidate now could give confidence to future candidates and other voters, like yourself, who view it as a waste.

    1. Cody,

      Thank you for reading the post and expressing your thoughts. In writing the third point, I wanted to be intentional to say that voting for a third party would be a waste this year. I wanted to make the post applicable for this election. In the future, it may be necessary to vote for a third party. But things are not that dire yet. While both candidates may not be ideal, this not does mean we cannot vote for one of them. I think if we vote for a third party this year it will be a waste. History shows this with the Bill Clinton and Bob Dole election. Ross Perot split the conservative vote between himself and Perot. This was unfortunate and basically gave the election into the hands of Clinton. Clinton was responsible for major advancements in pro choice laws. He might not have won the race if he was only running against one conservative (or moderatly conservative) candidate. But since the vote was split because of third party, he was sure to win.

      I would campaign (as is evident with this post) against third party voting if the odds are impossible to win when there is a good enough (though not ideal) candidate who can win.

      Regardless of whether we like it our not, third parties just don’t have a chance at the moment. I wish it were not trubut alas it is. Pragmatic is not bad in this instance. Especially if my vote can help to save lives. This is not compromising the Bible, but is instead standing up for the helpless in a broken sinful world.

      Thanks again for reading. Sean

  2. Hello Sean. I feel a lot of tension over the vote this year that you do not. And the things that you have posted are certainly contributing to the tension on the side of voting for Romney. However, I feel like there are some things for which you have not accounted:
    1) The influence of Mormonism is growing in America and will only be bolstered by a Mormon President. Mormons want people to think they are “just another Christian denomination” and this would be just one more step in that process. Since Romney started to become a major player, the ads I have seen for the Mormon church have multiplied exponentially. And it has been documented that nearly half of the yearly recruits to the Mormon church come from a Baptist background. The souls of those sitting around us in church are in danger and that danger will only increase with a Mormon President. A vote for Romney is a vote for the progress of Mormonism in America.
    2) Would you vote for a candidate that made a part of his campaign the promotion of abortion? No, certainly. But when a Republican came out against abortion in the case of rape (however bumbling it was) Romney stood up and shouted from the rooftops that the murder of a child is a valid option in the case of rape. You have said, rightly, that Obama is worse, but that takes me to my last point…
    3) A vote for Romney is a vote for Romney. It is a vote for a candidate that represents a false religion that is growing in America. It is a vote for a candidate that supports the murder of children. Yes, he supports the murder of less children (right now). But I almost cannot believe we are even saying that. You have said that not voting is voting for Obama, but it is not. If I do not vote, I am neither placing my name on Romney or Obama. If I vote for Romney, my name is on the roll of those who placed him in office. In the annuls of history, I would actually be responsible for a man who supports (and will uphold) the murder of children becoming our President. I would be responsible for contributing to mindsets that fuel idolatry and murder.

    All of this said, I am still deciding what I will do. But if I choose not to vote for Romney, it is not because I am unfaithful to my duties. Instead, I have evaluated the dangers to America differently and believe it would be more dangerous to vote for him. We are all in a tough place, forced to weigh hard issues. I hope my comments have helped you understand that not all of those considering a non-vote this year are not faithfully and thoughtfully thinking through the decision.

  3. I tend to agree with Cody Cunningham.

    First of all, I would challenge your parallelism between activity in the public politic and fulfillment of Christian duty. The Kingdom of Christ is not of this world. The New Testament contains several commands to Christians regarding their relationship with state authority, but not one of them amounts to “Change it.” The idea that Christians are SPIRITUALLY obligated to be involved in the American political scene is an inference drawn mainly from unbiblical parallelism between America and Israel (not saying that’s what you’re doing, but that’s a major source of what you’re writing). Christians are commanded to honor the secular authority, submit to it, and pay due revenues–but they are not commanded to engage secular authority on a personal level.

    Secondly, while I agree not all pragmatism is wrong, I think it could be in this case. If you say “third parties don’t have a chance,” that’s not a scientific or prophetic statement, but an intutitve statement that is predicated on everyone else agreeing with you. The third party only has “no chance” to the extend that people do not vote for them. There’s no fundamental difference between your logic and the logic of some who might say that there’s “no chance’ that Pres. Obama will lose in November, and thus just stay home on election day. Your Ross Perot example assumes that everyone who voted for Perot would have voted for Dole if Perot had not been an option. Obviously that’s something that’s unknowable, and the unknowability of those situations demonstrates the inherent weakness of a pragmatic approach to politics.

  4. I respectfully disagree. As a Christian, I think being faithful to Jesus should draw no parallels to being faithful to your country. My responsibility as a Christian on voting day should be no different than any other day. I should be loving my neighbor, getting to know the people in my community, feeding the homeless (without expecting anything in return) letting people know that I will be there for them tomorrow, and the next day, and so on. There are so many more productive things to do on voting day than actually voting. People are more important than politics (and yes, I think there’s a difference between the two)

    Hope you have a nice day, Sean!

    P.S. voting third party is the same as not voting? I mean, if we wanna play along with the whole entitled american Christian act, shouldnt I be entitled to be comfortable with my vote? The more people that vote third party, the greater chance there will be for a multiple party system! More opinions! More conversations! More ideas! I’m getting sick of the blue n’ red!

  5. Well I will not say it is a poorly written article, however it is lacking in any biblical reference or principle. The unfortunate dilemma in this line of reasoning is it removes the “sufficiency” of scripture for “all of life and godliness”. Opinions are what drove the author to write the article and it shouldn’t be addressed with more opinion, but with scripture as all of life’s actions should be addressed.

  6. This election is not a vote for or against abortion. I have been able to ask President Obama about abortion face to face in Feb. 2006. He is AGAINST abortion and he is doing everything he can to reduce abortion by addressing poverty and health care for women and supporting mothers and babies. However he is not willing to criminalize abortion. Abortion has declined every year since 1990 due to new birth control options. Ultimately,, that is how abortion will end, it will become obsolete because of new technology. This election should be about choosing a candidate, not trying to bring an end to a national problem by voting for a Mormon Bishop. That is really putting your trust in the wrong person!

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