In a Perfect World . . .

“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Ex. 18:21).

In a perfect world — because it is an imperfect world — political rulers should have three fundamental characteristics. They should fear God, be men of truth, and hate coveteousness. We live in a time when the fear of God must not exist or, if it does, it must not be acknowledged, when candidates manufacture lies deliberately, and loving covetousness usually functions as the foundation of their proposed economic plan.

But those are the requirements that Scripture sets forth, and so that is what we should be laboring for. That happy result may not happen in the next election, but that is where we are seeking to get. In order to get there, we need to do two basic things — we must learn to act locally, and we must desacralize the vote. For those just joining us, this is not the same thing as rocking the vote.

In a secular democracy, voting is one of the basic sacramental acts. It occupies a central, mystic place in our secular liturgy. And when a Christian in such a democracy learns of the standards given in Exodus, and he couples it with a radically secular (sacramental) view of voting, the end result is impossible civic perfectionism.

But a vote is more like pushing than it is like partaking. If I have an opportunity to vote for a man as Exodus describes, then I should rejoice in the opportunity. But what if the choice is (as it usually is) between two men who are distinguished by the degrees of their lack of fear for God, the degree of their complicity in lies, and the degree to which they love covetousness. Now what?

I want to argue that any vote that is genuinely trying to get us to the place where we could vote for a righteous candidate, biblically defined, is a lawful vote. In the last presidential election, I did not refuse to vote for Romney because I thought such a vote would pollute my conscience. I didn’t vote for him because I was tired of pushing that way, and wanted Christians to try something else. But there have been many Christians who have gone third party, or who have stayed at home, because they are afraid of the contamination of compromise. This is not the ultimate response to secularism, but is rather the apex of it.

I have little doubt that Daniel, during all his years in Babylon, never put up a “Nebuchadnezzar is the Greatest” yard sign. He never gave himself over to the religious aspects of that system. At the same time, I have no doubt that there were many times in the course of his life when he raised his hand, yay or nay, at yet another board meeting of the University of Babylon. He knew where it was all going. He was the one who interpreted the dream of a stone hitting the great statue on its feet.

I say all this because we have an important local election coming up on Tuesday. The apostle tells us that we should regularly pray that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” (1 Tim. 2:2). I suggest that it would be reasonable to vote in the same direction that we pray.

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Busdriver4jesus
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Busdriver4jesus

So is every vote for a 3rd party (such as my favorite, the Constitution Party) a protest vote, or the apex of secularism?  I’m interested in any response that doesn’t include the pragmatistic drivel that I hear incessantly on conservative talk radio (“It’ll never work!”).  I’m new to the blog, so just link other posts if you’ve already answered the question.

Mitch Turner
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Mitch Turner

I don’t understand the point of referencing Biblical standards if the rest of the post undermines them.  Basically it sounds like if you feel good about your vote, it’s OK.  And you’ve placed a nice little box around what voting is (without any biblical justification) to remove any culpability for voting for bad people.  The whole pushing vs. partaking thing ignores the existential reality of what voting is first: It is the political currency that is required to gain office in a democratic system.  The voter is giving that prospective ruler support without which he will have no power.  Second,… Read more »

Kimberley
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Kimberley

We were able to vote early here. We had 9 Constitutional Amendments and Place 3 to fill on our school board – though we homeschool. I phoned the candidate I was thinking of voting for (from his answers on a survey I found online). We chatted for an hour about smaller government, extortion taxation for school funding, free markets, and the Lord. He got my vote. :)

PB
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PB

Isn’t that why Romney lost?  Voting for a polytheist vs voting for an avowed pro-abortionist?  Not an easy decision for a patriot-christian-american to make. (I’d say white, but that is too easy).
BTW, is this message NSA approved? Or will IRS agent be on my doorstep any moment now, perhaps in storm trooper gear, ready to kill me and my family for dangerous beliefs (I’am the new enemy)?  Maybe the wolves-in-sheeps-clothing can dissuade my fears.  The list of wolves is long and distinguished.

dwtuts
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dwtuts

Instead of voting for the lesser of the two evils. Don’t vote at all.

Andrew Lohr
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Busdriver4Jesus,  one thing voting for a 3rd party does is tell the bigger parties (1) I care enough to vote and (2) if you want my vote, you’d better listen to what this 3rd party is saying.  When the big parties are at 49% trying to get to 51%, or when they need ideas, they can listen to the 3rd parties.  I respect lots of people who voted for Romney as the lesser of two evils, but he had let his friends peddle lies about Gingrich (my choice; Doug wouldn’t have voted for him) and Santorum, and bully the Ron… Read more »