Should Christians Sit This Election Out?
A news story this week from Christianity Today amused me. The headline was provocative.
Super Tuesday Results Show Split Between Evangelicals and Their Spokesmen
I am an amateur evangelical anthropologist. Like Jane Goodall I go into their habitats and study their behaviors. Since I am one of the species it is easy to assimilate into their culture. My first journal, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, was a result of my time spent with these fascinating creatures. From my observations a couple of immediate questions came to mind as I read the headline in Christianity Today.
When did we get spokesmen? Unlike dentists on TV commercials I can’t get four out of five evangelicals to agree on anything.
Have these reporters not previously observed that evangelicals are an unruly lot and that our primary conflict resolution strategy is to split?
(Note to the humor impaired: The comments above were good-natured jesting. Please back away from the send button)
The rest of the story was a bit perplexing and sad. Dr.James Dobson is an influential and respected leader in evangelical circles. I have known about his passion for family for over thirty years. Courtesy of middle son Scott I read The Strong Willed Child about 37 times.
And then Scott turned three.
I appreciate what Dobson has done through his unwavering support of family and marriage. But I was surprised by Dr. Dobson’s statement this week.
"Should Sen. (John) McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for President in my lifetime," Dobson said in a message to his e-mail subscribers the morning of Super Tuesday. "I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for President for the first time in my life."
I thought about whether I could sit out an election. The very first thing that popped into my mind was my late father. I thought of him leaving for the Pacific theater as a terrified eighteen year old during World War II. I thought about how much he believed that voting was one sacred result of the sacrifices of men and women for over two hundred years. I must gracefully disagree with Dr.Dobson. I cannot forfeit that privilege no matter how I might feel about the slate of candidates presented to me.
Regular readers of these humble ramblings know that I rarely, rarely use all caps in any of my writing. But I will make an exception for this thought.
I WILL NEVER SIT OUT AN ELECTION IN WHICH I AM PHYSICALLY ABLE TO VOTE!
If there are two choices I assume that one choice has to be better than the other. I will prayerfully decide which choice comes closer to my values and beliefs. And I will vote for that candidate even if he or she represents only a part of what I value. Something, in this case, is far better than nothing. I wish I could pick my candidate, pack my agenda in his briefcase along with a hearty lunch and then send him to Washington. But that is not reality.
I pray that you will take this responsibility seriously enough to dig past the pundits and the partisan blather. Freedom is like health. You don’t appreciate either one until they are gone. H.L.Mencen once said, “We must be willing to pay a price for freedom, for no price that is ever asked for it is half the cost of doing without it.”
Think about that.
I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor
I Only talk to God when somebody's about to die
I Never cherished Freedom
Freedom never cries...
Thank God today for the blessing of freedom. I plan to exercise one of my precious freedoms this November when I vote. I also thank God today for another kind of freedom.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5, NASB)
Cherish both freedoms. And take neither for granted.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.