Pastor Al, the late-night parson, answers again...
"Pushing Agendas or Defending Truth?"
Posted: 27 October 2008
"Why is my church telling me to vote for Barak Obama?" the caller asked. "We're supposed to be pro-life! We're supposed to support the family! We're supposed to stand against homosexuality! We're supposed to believe the Bible!"
Why indeed? Could it be that the caller's church has an agenda that is more important to it than Biblical morality?
Think about it. According to the Bible, churches are to be, as 1 Timothy:15 says, "the pillar and ground of the truth." They are to be lighthouses pointing people to Jesus Christ and upholding the Word of God. Their primary purpose is to preach the gospel to those who are lost, while training Christians to be salt and light in the world around them.
Obviously, then, churches should be in the business of providing guidance and direction to their members regarding key issues facing our nation during this election season. To do so they should address the morality of key issues in light of God's Word. They might even provide voter guides to inform members of how candidates stand on key issues. Some, like our caller's church above (or maybe not), may even risk the ire of the IRS and actually tell members who they should or should not vote for.
Unfortunately, some churches have forgotten what they are supposed to stand for. They have forgotten that they are supposed to defend the truth and have gone, instead, to pushing agendas. They have allowed social concerns and party affiliations to dwarf Biblical truths and morality.
The coming presidential election is perhaps one of the most important in a generation. One of the two major party candidates will win the election in November and become our nation's 44th President in January. He will most likely appoint two or three Supreme Court justices, as well as scores of federal judges. He will also be responsible for appointing some 3000 or so federal employees ranging from cabinet members and department heads to various advisors and aides. This will allow the new president to have a tremendous influence on key issues facing our nation, such as abortion, homosexuality, marriage, national security, and the economy for years to come. Consequently, who you vote for will impact these issues.
Now, if you are a born-again Christian, if you attend a church that preaches the Bible, then you probably have strong views on the morality of many key issues. Or at least you should have. If so, deciding who to vote for should be simple.
For instance, let's look at abortion. Abortion is certainly a key issue rife with moral concerns. It is also an issue that the Bible has much to say about. Psalms 139:13-16, for example, clearly teaches that life begins at conception:
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."
Consequently, abortion, causing the death of an unborn child, means causing the death of a human being, albeit a pre-born human being. So, if you believe the Bible, then you have to decide what you believe about abortion. Do you support abortion on demand? Partial-birth abortion? Taxpayer funding for abortions? Do you reject parental notification laws and believe that Roe v. Wade should never be overturned? Or do you believe that these positions are contrary to the Word of God?
If abortion is an important issue to you, then your choice should be simple. After all, the two major party candidates, John McCain and Barak Obama, are about as far apart as you can get on abortion. Barak Obama supports abortion on demand, partial-birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion. Obama is against parental notification laws and would use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test for judicial nominations. John McCain, on the other hand, opposes abortion on demand, partial-birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion. McCain supports parental notification laws and would use like to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
Another key issue with tremendous moral overtones for Christians is the defense of marriage. The Bible clearly defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. As Genesis 2:21-24 puts it:
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."Or, to put it another way, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Madame and Eve.
So, again, if the defense of marriage is an important issue to you, then your choice should be simple. John McCain and Barak Obama are at opposite ends of this issue as well. John McCain believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and supports the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. Obama believes that any two people should be allowed to marry. In addition, he not only opposes the Federal Defense of Marriage Act but state Defense of Marriage acts and constitutional amendments as well.
The marriage issue brings us to one more critical moral issue; special rights for homosexuals. Homosexuality is clearly condemned by the Bible. One of the clearest statements of condemnation is Romans 1:24-27:
"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."
Again, the differences between Senators McCain and Obama could not be clearer. In addition to supporting same-sex marriages, Barak Obama is in favor of allowing homosexuals to adopt children and serve openly in the military, giving sexual orientation a protected minority status, and for teaching that homosexuality is a normal, healthy choice to our public school students. John McCain, as noted above, opposes same-sex marriages. McCain also opposes allowing homosexuals to adopt children and serve openly in the military. He does not want to give sexual orientation a protected minority status, and teach that homosexuality is a normal, healthy choice to our public school students. Again, the choice should be simple.
Now, back to our caller at the beginning of this article. Given the moral ramifications of the issues facing us in this election, why indeed would her church be telling her to vote for Barak Obama?
Well, it would seem that there are other things more important to the caller's church than the things discussed I've discussed herein. Unfortunately, I can only speculate as to what they are.
One obvious consideration is race. I think it is a wonderful, historic event and a mark of societal maturity and reconciliation that our country can nominate a black American for the highest office in the land. And that he can have a credible chance of winning. Nevertheless, I don't think wanting a historic moment warrants electing a man who will set the pro-life cause back for years, further endanger the sanctity of marriage, and advance the cause of homosexuals in this country.
Another possible reason is the difference between the two candidates' economic and social plans. Barak Obama wants to "redistribute the wealth" by heaping confiscatory taxes upon the "rich" (ala Karl Marx: "From each according to his means to each according to his needs.") and significantly increase the size and scope of the federal government's social programs and regulations. John McCain, on the other hand, wants to encourage and enable more Americans to become successful through lower taxes, less regulation, and a smaller, leaner, more efficient federal government.
Of course, the real reason might just be party affiliation. In fact, I am reasonably sure that the caller's church has a history of endorsing candidates. Specifically Democrat candidates. Having a "D" after your name is, unfortunately, in some circles much more important than your actual positions. Evidence of that is a recent study in New York City where staunch Democrats and Obama supporters were heartily in favor of McCain's positions when they were presented as Obama's.
Well, whatever the reason, here is my advice to the caller, or anyone who is struggling with deciding who to vote for, or to any other voter for that matter. Make your vote a Biblical vote. Compare the candidate's positions to the Bible. Decide what issues are most important to you as a Christian. Consider whether your vote is going to hurt or hinder the cause of Christ, whether it is going to promote or retard morality and virtue. Pray and then vote as you believe God would have you to vote.
Remember, your right to vote is a precious responsibility. You will be accountable to God for it. Don't let a church or anyone else pressure you contrary to your Christian convictions and beliefs.
Oh, and if you still think race is the major factor in this race, who do you think the caller's church told its members to vote for in the Ohio Governor's race two years ago? Somehow I don't think it was the guy I voted for, who, by the way, was black.