Today is Super Tuesday. So far this election cycle has been a travesty. For several years I have been crying out that we need a legitimate third party. Our two party system is broken, and our country is more divided then ever.
While I would never tell someone who they should vote for, I would like to offer how I reach my decisions when I vote. I am not saying my way is perfect, far from it. But I am a follower of Jesus. I have a certain set of values that I believe are important. I still believe it is my responsibility to vote my values as best I can and to vote for the candidate that I think most closely aligns to my values regardless of their party membership.
My greatest concern as a voter is where does a candidate stand on what I believe are key social issues. There are several biblical passages I use. Below are some of the more important ones:
- Luke 4:18-19
- Matthew 25:31-46
- James 1:27
- Ezekiel 16:49-50
- Genesis 1:27-30; 2:15
- Zechariah 7:9-10
Another important aspect for me is that as a follower of Jesus I am a citizen of the kingdom of God. My loyalty is to His kingdom above all else. I became a citizen of God’s kingdom at the very moment I placed my faith in Jesus. The kingdom of God is both a present reality as well as a future hope. The kingdom of God is both now and not yet. What that means is that while “We do not ‘build the kingdom’ by our own efforts…we build for God’s kingdom, doing things in the present which are true advance symbols and elements of that coming reality. Justice and beauty are central to God’s new world and should be central to our work. Together they frame the good news of Jesus” (N.T. Wright).
With that as a background, here are a few of the social issues of primary importance for me:
- The sanctify of human life.
I am pro-life. But to me, being pro-life means far more than being against abortion. To me, pro-life means I am anti-capital punishment. It means I am very close to being a pacifist. I am not quite there because I do believe there is evil in the world and we need to fight against evil. But I cannot go along with attitudes that say, “we are going to destroy all our enemies regardless of the cost.” I struggle with the whole idea of “collateral damage” being a justification for killing innocent life. Being pro-life also means I believe health care to be a basic human right.
- Care for the poor and widow and orphan and immigrant.
I cringe when I hear politicians talk about cutting medicaid and housing and school lunches and food stamps. It bothers me when, in order to balance the budget, the very fist cuts we want to make effect the poor and the elderly, the single parent, and the orphan.
No doubt immigration is a huge issue this election year. The idea of separating families and rounding up 12 million people and sending orphans “back where they came from” all go against my understanding of what Jesus teaches.
- Mass incarceration.
The United States has more people imprisoned then any high income country. This large number has had a devastating affect on minority communities. Private prisons are a horrible idea. Our entire justice system needs an overhaul. Where a politician stands on this is extremely important to me.
- Affordable housing.
This is more of a local issue, but I still want to know where all candidates stand on providing affordable housing to everyone.
The single most important trait of a leader is character and integrity. If I believe a person lacks basic honesty and trustworthiness, they will not get my vote. Period!
To me, voting is not a salvation issue. Also, who you vote for is not a salvation issue. Voting is nothing more than my civic responsibility. Ultimately my hope is in Jesus. I will not lose any sleep regardless who wins. Furthermore, regardless of who wins, I will keep standing up for, and speaking out about those things I have mentioned in this short article. I will let my voice be heard regardless of who is in charge.