In November we have the privilege and responsibility of electing the next president of the United States. Many are enthusiastic about the election and heartily favor one candidate over the other. Not everyone. In fact, I cannot recall an election in my lifetime when people have been more conflicted and less enthusiastic about a presidential election. Many do not like any party’s candidate and wonder why they should even vote.
So I asked a number of pastors what they thought. What, I asked, are you saying to your folks about voting? Many graciously shared their thoughts and gave me permission to quote them.
John Morgan (Sagemont): Any nation will ultimately fall when the righteous people do nothing. Apathy is the cancer that destroys the heart of a family, a church, or a nation. For a person that is an American and child of God to not vote their convictions surely must break the heart of God.
David Fleming (Champion Forest): Of course, I'm encouraging everyone to vote. We must vote! Isn't a Christian sitting out an election like the salt sitting in the shaker? We do not have a perfect candidate to vote for, but that has always been the case. We must choose the candidate among candidates that is the closest to representing our Christian values and our core biblical convictions, and that we believe would serve in the best interests of our nation as President. We may not be as excited to vote as we have been in previous years, or when our candidate of choice is on the ballot. But for a Christian American, not voting is just not an option.
Ron Lyles (South Main Pasadena): We hold dual citizenship. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God, our highest priority. We are citizens of USA with obligations that grow out of our highest priority, Kingdom citizens. Those obligations are to pray, support with taxes, express our convictions, and vote our conscience. The principle of the Separation of the Church and State is about separate functions of institutions and not about individuals abdicating civil obligations. Some of my people are depressed about the choices at the top of the ballot this year. They are terrified about "what will happen" if one or the other is elected. I have declared that no matter who is elected the President of the United States in 2016, Jesus is still the sovereign King of this world.
Barry Jeffries (Humble Area’s First): Because believers are commanded to obey governing authorities and pray for our leaders and because it is the revealed will of God that we make disciples of all the nations, including our own, and because the believer should seek to make Christ supreme in the whole of society, we must exercise, through God-given democratic processes – specifically voting, our right and privilege to shape this country into one that honors God, for ‘righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.’
John Ogletree (First Metropolitan): Voting gives citizens a voice for the desired direction one hope's the city, county, state and nation will move toward. The best vote is an informed one that aligns with one's belief about God and God's love for the welfare of all people."
Greg Wallace (Woodridge): First, you must vote. Period. Men and women bled and died to give us this opportunity. Go vote. Second, you are not electing a savior. Jesus has taken care of that. I have never voted for a perfect president. Every president in the past has disappointment me while he was in office and after he left office. Don’t fail to vote just because we don’t have perfect candidates. Find one that represents your convictions and vote.
Overall, the message was consistent.
- Be informed. Don’t limit your knowledge to sound bites on broadcast television. Do some research. The Internet is a great tool.
- Know where the candidates stand on the issues. Don’t expect a perfect candidate. We are all sinners. Don’t expect perfect consistency from the candidates. Everyone changes their mind from time to time, but you should be able to determine where they stand today. That's important.
- Know what position their parties take on the issues as well. Then take this information and compare it to what you believe the Bible teaches us. Then vote your convictions. It’s your privilege and your responsibility.
- I think it is also important to remember that we are voting for more than a president. We are voting for folks to lead our government at the local and state level as well. We are electing judges, commissioners, district and county attorneys, sheriffs, constables, and state legislators and many of these folks may affect our lives as much or more than the president.
The final word for me, though, is this. Our future lies not with donkeys or elephants but with a lamb—the Lamb of God. Of that I am confident and in that I am secure.
As Jerry Edmonson (The Fellowship) said: We hear slogans like “I’m with her”, “I’m with you”, “Stonger Together”, or “Make America Great Again”. I wonder what Jesus’ campaign slogan might be. In Jesus’ own words maybe it would be, “Follow me”, or “Love God, Love Others”, or maybe to quote Paul, “To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain.” In any case His campaign is a call to action. It is a revolutionary call to battle, to die to self and live the life you were created and designed to live in relationship with your God and others.
Whatever happens in November, I'm following Jesus!