How I'd Vote in the Alabama Senatorial Election
Joe McKeeverJoe McKeever says he has written dozens of books, but has published none. That refers to the 1,000+ articles on various subjects (prayer, leadership, church, pastors) that can be found on his website -- joemckeever.com -- and which are reprinted by online publications everywhere. His articles appear in a number of textbooks and other collections. Retired from "official" ministry since the summer of 2009, Joe stays busy drawing a daily cartoon for Baptist Press (www.bpnews.net), as an adjunct professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, writing for Baptist MenOnline for the North American Mission Board, and preaching/drawing/etc for conventions and churches across America. Over a 42 year period, McKeever pastored 6 churches (the last three were the First Baptist Churches of Columbus, MS; Charlotte, NC; and Kenner, LA). Followed by 5 years as Director of Missions for the 135 SBC churches of metro New Orleans, during which hurricane katrina devastated the city and destroyed many churches. Joe is married to Margaret, the father of three adults, and the proud grandfather of eight terrific young people. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College (History, 1962), and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters in Church History, 1967, and Doctorate of Ministry in Evangelism, 1973). Joe's father was a coal miner who married a farmer's daughter. Carl and Lois McKeever, both of whom lived past 95 years of age, produced 6 children, with Joe and Ronnie being ministers. Joe grew up near Nauvoo, Alabama, and attended high school at Double Springs. Joe's life verse is Job 4:4, "Your words have stood men on their feet."
- 2017 Dec 06
I’m completely aware that the title is presumputous! I don’t live or vote in Alabama–although it is my native state–and in some ways might as well be chiming in on the alderman’s race in Jasper, Alabama.
But a pastor friend in that state sent the question: “How would you vote if you lived here?”
The quandary–for those who live outside the western hemisphere or in some distant future–is that the two primary candidates are Judge Roy Moore, Republican, who has been accused by a number of women of sexual overtures of one kind or other years ago when they were minors and he was an adult of 30 or so, and Doug Jones, Democrat, who espouses the party line in support of abortion and the usual liberal politics. There are a thousand details, but these two matters cause the ethical dilemma of my friend and many others like him.
The charges and counter charges, accusations and denials, have been swift and many concerning Judge Moore. Proving something that was merely verbal and occurred forty years ago is next to impossible. This means–unless I’m missing something–Judge Moore can do what Supreme Court nominee (and later Justice) Clarence Thomas did: deny, deny, and deny. It was Thomas’ word against Anita Hill. In this case, it’s Moore’s word against a half-dozen women.
The voters become the jury.
Many a voter, I expect, would desert Judge Moore in a heartbeat if the Democrats gave them a good alternative. But to elect a liberal candidate in a conservative state, one who spouts tired old lines like “a woman has the right over her own body; abortion is a matter between a woman and her doctor,” is anathema to most Bible believers. Alabama rightly boasts a huge percentage of Christian people who take these things seriously. (The answer to those shibboleths, of course, is merely “We’re not talking about a woman’s body, but the body of another human being inside her.” And “Anyone who says abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor is forgetting someone: the child.”)
So, what is the faithful Bible-believing, Christ-honoring voter to do?
Here is what I told my friend…
One. I’d like to see the voter agonize over the decision.
Some voters have been so hasty in dismissing the accusations against Moore as just political smearing that you come to one conclusion and one only: It hardly matters what Moore has done in the past; they are dead-set on electing him. Period. At the very least, I’d like God’s people to demonstrate that these accusations matter, that the character of the candidates is important, and that they are truly seeking God’s will in this.
What if it were your daughter who was accosted by some older man? And she was so intimidated she kept it to herself? And now that she tells it, people turn on her as though she is the culprit? Even the possibility of that is enough to make a Christ-follower think twice before dismissing her story. If she is indeed a victim I want to show mercy toward her and give serious thought to what it means about the candidate.
Two. I’d like to hear some Christian compassion in the conversation.
Some have been quick to brand the accusers as liars and to call candidate Doug Jones a “baby-killer” for his position on abortion.
Are abortionists baby-killers? An abortionist doctor or nurse, yes, for my money. No question. But how about a political candidate who has never hurt a child and is merely spouting his party line? That doesn’t mean I’d vote for him, but God’s people can do better than call them baby-killers.
You wonder if people realize that harshness and unkindness in their support of a candidate actually turns off the very people they’re trying to persuade. The thoughtful voter who struggles to decide is less likely to vote for the candidate whose supporters look and sound like a mob, ready to stone anyone who assails their candidate.
Three. I’d keep reading and listening, and not decide until the last minute unless the Lord said otherwise. Stay informed. Read both sides, from negative and positive. Make an informed decision.
Four. I’d probably keep my decision to myself.
In at least two elections in my lifetime, some of us felt we had no other recourse than “to hold our nose and cast our vote.” We were not proud of whom we elected, but chose the one we considered the lesser of two evils.
When the wife of a pastor friend said to me rather curtly, “You don’t even live in Alabama, so stay out of this,” I replied that while that is true, the entire nation will be affected by the choice they make. “We’re not electing a dog-catcher of Opp, but a United States Senator who will make laws governing all of us.”
We all have a dog in this fight, I’m afraid.
God help us. God lead us. God bless America.
Publication date: November 8, 2017