May 18, 2024

12 Huge Mistakes Christians Can Avoid in Politics | iApologia

12 Huge Mistakes Christians Can Avoid in Politics | iApologia
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Right after Trump became president, I wrote an innocuous social media post on something he said. Someone told me to stop defending him because my thoughts would turn off unbelievers. I was surprised because my thoughts in that post were fairly neutral. I think it was strange as well because many unbelievers like him and others don’t like him. Also, when did things change where one can’t promote good things if someone is doing good things (and I wasn’t even promoting him)? When have we become pansies for truth instead of oaks? Of course, we shouldn’t be jerks. I didn’t know, however, that I’m supposed to abstain from promoting good so unbelievers aren’t turned off.

Also, back then as now, I’m left scratching my head. It seems that the establishment, the progressive leftists and people I generally don’t trust scream Trump is dangerous. Now, either he is more evil than they are or he is overrunning their progressive Marxist march. It strikes me that it is the latter; he is eroding their “progress.”

Let me take it in another direction. We need to point out hypocrisy in our culture. Many have imbibed the idea that Trump’s the master divider. Really? Compared to whom? The previous corrupt administration (every hear of Hunter Biden’s, Jim Biden’s and Joe Biden’s corrupt deals with Burisma, China, Ukraine and Russia?), corrupt bureaucrats and corrupt media that orchestrated a fake Russia scandal with the intent of toppling him (and an overwhelmingly anti-Trump media)? Where is the call for justice from the woke culture? Stop the wokness and become awake!

Christians also hold a double standard. Many rightfully criticize Trump’s character, but wrongfully ignore Biden’s immorality, immorality beyond Trump’s bad character. Consider his rampant financial-power corruption, vulgarity, plagiarism, lying and womanizing. Even more damaging is turning a blind eye to their own sin and sin in the Church. I’ve worked with many “Christians” who blatantly sin and cuss like sailors. Then, they also allow leftist-promoting, sexually immoral and vulgar-speaking teachers to teach their children. If the vulgarity is not in the classroom, it’s in the breakroom. If we really want to see a changed nation, shouldn’t we first start with ourselves and our communities? Government leaders are the symptom, not the disease. They represent us and reflect us. They are not the cause of sin and vulgarity, we are. To change a nation, we need to change ourselves.

Often people wonder why I address politics as a Christian, but I wonder why not? Don’t political ideas intersect with culture, worldview and societal issues? Don’t we want to promote ideas that coincide with the Christian worldview? Don’t we want clear-thinking, dedicated and committed Christian electorate impacting the culture? Often, I hear ideas that permeate through Christian culture that work against our impact. I would like to address a number of those here.

1 “My Kingdom is not of this world, so I don’t vote”

Many rightly proclaim that their Kingdom is Heavenly, but then make the peculiar conclusion that they shouldn’t vote. Truly, we are called to be subservient to Jesus’ Kingdom. Earthly dominions should never be our goal. Governors, senators and presidents come and go, but Jesus is still King. We need to rest peacefully knowing that no matter if we are persecuted, ridiculed or killed, we have an eternal home. In fact, when our focus is politics and we become distraught about it constantly, it strikes me that it has become an idol.

God, however, still created us as physical human beings to have dominion over a physical earth. We require physical food, physical water, physical shelter, physical family, physical parents, physical clothing and physical occupations. Of course, this doesn’t deny our need for spiritual food, spiritual water, spiritual shelter, spiritual family, spiritual parents, and spiritual occupations. Our dual physical and spiritual natures require us to have both spiritual and physical duties.

Wouldn’t you give your thoughts if someone asked how we should fix society’s problems? You would do it on a questionnaire too, right? What if this questionnaire didn’t just allow you to express your complaints, bellyaches, moans, opinions and views, but had real consequences? What if your thoughts were taken seriously and counted? Well, that is called voting. We are handed a historical rare opportunity to promote good and demote evil. This is done without bullying, in a peaceful, nonviolent and orderly way!

Here is just one small and simple way where we can actually live out our stewardship. We are called to publicly and bravely promote goodness, righteousness, judgement and justice. We are called to call out evil, sin and injustices. Truly, promoting these things in a peaceful way is good and actually our duty of doing good. We are exhorted that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Why would we so unwisely relinquish and shun this duty? Why would we shirk at the opportunity and responsibility to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, promote liberty, advocate for righteousness and defend the cause of the innocent who are being sentenced to death?

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2 “I Pray, but I don’t vote”

People often say, “I pray instead of vote.” However, it’s not necessarily a “yes or no,” dichotomy, but rather a “yes and” situation. Prayer changes things and we are called to intercede for government leaders. What changes could be seen if Christians everywhere prayed for our leaders? Prayer is our secret weapon that the secular, godless and anti-Christian left lacks.

Praying, however, for our daily bread doesn’t mean we don’t work for our daily bread. Praying for new believers doesn’t mean we don’t disciple new believers. Praying for the sick doesn’t mean we don’t heal the sick. Praying for the poor, the widow and the orphan doesn’t mean we don’t help the poor, the widow and the orphan. Praying for our leaders and positive election outcomes doesn’t mean we should not vote for good leaders. It seems to me that those who pray the hardest are the ones who also vote.

3 ​”I can’t imagine Jesus voting in the US elections”

Maybe you can’t imagine Jesus voting, but I can’t imagine Jesus using Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. I can’t imagine Jesus wearing a suit and tie, or jeans and tee shirt. I can’t imagine Jesus driving a car or flying an airplane. I can’t imagine Jesus welding steel or playing disk golf. I can’t imagine Jesus eating spaghetti or a hamburger. The fact is, I can’t imagine Jesus doing a lot of things.

I’m not sure what my “imagining” of Jesus doing something has to do with me voting. What I do know is that I have an amazing opportunity to have a meaningful voice in a nonviolent way. I have the opportunity to promote good and demote evil. Why shun this opportunity and duty?

4 “My vote doesn’t count”

Often your vote, especially at the federal level, doesn’t really count. True in a sense; however, if every Christian in every state would rise up and vote with a biblical worldview, your voice would be heard. Whether this would happen or not, you still should go to vote. Unless you have a massive platform, your greatest impact is those near you. Vote with a focus on the small. In other words, while still voting for state and federal positions, put an emphasis on local positions. If your vote has no impact in one area, aid in areas where you can have an impact.

Focus on your town, county and any state leadership. While you may not be able to impact change at the governors and President level, you may impact the local community and even representatives. Don’t forget to impact your family, your neighborhood and your community. Impact your mediating institutions: family, church, para-church and clubs. At least vote local, if not get involved with your local community. In other words, the office of the president is not the only office you are voting on. You are voting on many other positions, positions where your vote actually does count.

5 “You can’t legislate morality”

Recently someone said something to the effect of “you can’t legislate morality.” I’m left scratching my head. Did this person even know what legislation is? All legislation is grounded on morality. Laws demand moral truths in society. There are laws against murder, public immodesty and theft. There are laws against bribery and protections against judgment without due process. These all are built off of God’s objective moral standards. Now, laws can be passed opposed to God’s morality, such as chattel slavery, protections for killing innocent babies, protections that allow wife abuse and child abuse, and laws that promote same sex marriage. We can especially find these unjust laws in the ancient worlds like Rome and the Aztecs. We’ve seen them in Communist regimes and Nazi Germany. Even in the United States, killing unborn babies is legal! In the past, there were laws that allowed racism and chattel slavery. Even now, we are seeing our religious liberties and freedom of speech being attacked. These are all unjust.

It is true that we can’t legislate faith, but we can legislate freedom. We can’t legislate joy, but we can legislate justice. We can’t legislate love, but we can legislate liberty. We can’t legislate peace, but we can legislate the right to property. Yes, morals are legislated all the time; that’s what legislation is. We Christians need to stand up for legislation that promotes the sanctity of innocent life and unborn babies, the sanctity of marriage and the family, and the sanctity of freedom and liberty.

6 “Socialism helps the poor, the widow and the orphan.”

Some say that US conservatives are pro-life before birth and leftists are pro-life from birth to the grave. This claim is embarrassingly, viciously and violently wrong. Sure, US conservatives decry abortion. It’s not true, however, that they are not pro-life from birth onward. Leftists seem to be perpetually anti-human before birth and after birth.

For example, anti-Christian Marxism at its best is materialistic, and at its worst its Satanic (Kindle and Kindle or Free). Since the early 20th century, the socialist ideology has caused the death of around 100 million people and maybe more! Contrast this to the Christian free market capitalist enterprise that has lifted billions from poverty. Which seems more pro-human?

In addition, socialism is immoral. First, it’s mass larceny because it appropriates personal wealth and property from some people and gives it to others. In other words, Tom is robbed and his property is given to Tim. Whether this is done via the tyranny of the dictator or the tyranny of the majority, it’s still robbery. Whether it’s a tyrant or the 51%, theft is theft, and theft isn’t pro-human, it’s immoral and unjust. It’s not saintly to promote theft. One gets no eternal credit for promoting, advocating and voting for policies that advocate socialism.

In addition to theft, it’s immoral because it demands everyone to participate in morally objectionable industries. Christians world be forced to participate in abortion, which is immoral. Muslims would not want to participate in pork production. Environmentalists wouldn’t want to participate in tree harvesting. Socialism demands all to participate in every institution (Kindle or free).

In socialist regimes your voice is stifled, unlike the free-market. Under democratic socialism, you vote periodically for representatives to filter your desires for goods and services. This is nothing in light of the free-market where you vote every day for goods and services with your purchases. Instead of the 51% dictating where all your money goes in industry, the moral option is you directly dictating where it goes with purchases. While socialism removes your individual freedom and control, capitalism empowers you. Using the free-market, you can shop at the local mom-and-pops store instead of helping the big-box-store owners get richer. The free-market allows everyone to participate: the young and old, the rich and poor, and the ex-felon and the non-citizen. Needs being satisfied drives production, not greed and exploitation. Instead of clumsy polls and votes, decisions are done with precision every day.

“Social justice” is often used as a cover for socialism. Social justice, however, is not social, nor is it justice. It also stands in opposition to biblical justice. Social justice accentuates disparities and advocates outcome equality at the price of opportunity equality. Financially, there’s “wealth redistribution” which underpins the welfare state. Even though the welfare state sounds charitable, it ultimately does more harm than good (besides being theft).  First, US abject poverty is almost non-existent (if it is, it’s not because of lack of opportunity, but rather other issues). Let me put it this way: one man wanted to move to the US because he wanted to move to a country where poor people are fat. Food, water and clothing are in great abundance in the US.

Biblically, government isn’t called to charity, but rather to enact just laws, laws that don’t discriminate between income, wealth, sex nor ethnic background. They are to punish the evil doer and the unjust while defending the innocent, the scammed, and those who have been violated against. Governments can’t ethically supply the material goods of the widow, the orphan, the poor and the strangers.

The job of charity, both biblical and morally, is only noble when it is done via free-will offerings. It’s a great thing when individuals and mediating institutions come alongside to help the poor and downtrodden. Such a local aid is wise. Who else better knows the personal lives of your neighbors in need? Who else better knows if one is authentically in need or just lazy? Who else better than the local community helps keep each other accountable?

We know the impact of the welfare state seen by its inner-city impact. As people worship the state, and as the state becomes the father and mother, it leads to family demise, dependency, lack of incentive, lack of self-worth and perpetually poverty. The poisonous mass welfare state has fed the rise of fatherless homes, unwed pregnancies and male violence.

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7 “I think that Healthcare is a universal right”

It’s true that the US healthcare system is a mess. It is a mess not because the free-market, but rather it’s a mess because of crony-capitalism. Crony-capitalism is much like the so-called “capitalism” of the Italian and German progressive fascist regimes. Corporations were highly regulated by and in conjunction with government powers: the fascist form of socialism. Little guys like us are the most negatively impacted by such action. To fix the mess we need the opposite of what is causing the mess.

If we want to fix the pain in the foot, let’s remove the rock. Let’s replace the rock with a shoe insole. If we want to fix healthcare, let’s remove socialistic crony-capitalism and replace it with free-market capitalism.

Some say that every human has a right to healthcare. We should have “free” healthcare. Well, not free, but government-paid healthcare. Well, not really the government because the government doesn’t make money, it takes money. Oh, so we all pay large amounts of money into the pot to get “free” healthcare. Not everyone? Just the rich? Well, that seems like theft! Oh, anyone who is making money will still be forced to pay high taxes, for our own good? That sounds unjust and like a loss of liberty! Oh, so not taxed as much as the “rich” but still taxed. Taxed, even if I use it or not (much like being taxed to pay for public education when you don’t use it). Yes, that sounds just like the unjust and immoral system of socialism.

So, is universal healthcare a right? Well, it all depends what you mean by a right. Rights come in two flavors, negative and positive rights. A negative right is a right to not be subject to the actions of other people or groups of people. In other words, it protects you from unwanted actions of others (including socialistic policies). These are the types of rights that are in the Constitution: the right for others and the government to leave me alone. Under this type of right, healthcare is a right in the sense that I have the right to have access to healthcare if a doctor agrees to serve me with an agreed upon payment.

Positive rights, however, demand or obligate action by another person or group. This includes state social welfare programs that are provided at the expense of others, taxpayers. My positive rights, however, infringe upon others negative rights. As the actions of positive rights increase, negative rights decrease. Because positive rights demand positive duties to take action whereas negative rights imply that others must only refrain from taking action. Thus, the claim that healthcare is demanded to be a right is a “positive right.” However, it’s not the same type of right cut from the same cloth of the founding father’s rights.

8 “I vote green”

Another example of how leftists are not pro-life from birth onward is their fight against pro-humanity fossil-fuels. We depend on them for our clothing, shelter, transportation, refrigeration and healthcare. Abolition of oil without a real alternative would be immoral. The rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide is also good. It helps photosynthesizing organisms produce more oxygen for life, and it increases biomass production to feed earth’s life, including humans. Being anti-fossil-fuel is to be radically racist against the human race.

9 “The politician needs to be a Christian”

Strangely, some think political leaders must be Christian. Setting aside the debate whether or not believers should even hold political office, the New Testament obviously doesn’t teach this. The Ante-Nicene Church fathers didn’t teach this either; they steered clear of secular power (for example, Origen). The US founding fathers didn’t have this criterion either; in fact, they forbade a Religious Test for office (Article VI, Clause 3). While they demand cultural Christianity and a Christian worldview, they never demanded one to be Christian. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had a cultural Christian worldview and values (and all believed in God at some level), but most wouldn’t call them orthodox.

You want your company’s CEO, the town cop and the local school teacher to all ethically and justly do their jobs. You want a wise leader who can make hard decisions, will protect and defend the citizens and promote righteous and just policies. We need someone who has Western Christian values and virtues. Having that, however, doesn’t necessarily mean one’s orthodox. Wouldn’t we applaud an atheist helping Jews escape Nazi ovens? Wouldn’t we applaud an unbeliever hiding runaways in the antebellum south?

Personal character is an excellent guide post. Every election, however, we are given candidates who are all far from perfect. We need to vote for the one who promotes the greatest good and against those who promote the greatest evil. As I pointed out in my opening, the elected morals mirror the electorate’s morals. If we want leaders of character, we need to be people of character. We need to hold each other accountable; we need to disciple new believers and we need to train our children. We need to be less concerned about prosperity, happiness, and self and more about our families, marriages and children. Let’s focus on the lives of ourselves, our family, our Church and our local community.

Lastly, as Christians, most of us will never be in positions of power. That’s fine. In his book “The Embarrassed Believer” Hugh Hewitt tells of a friend who was running for office, and he asked him “Why are you doing this?” If you want to be famous or powerful, no one will remember you in three centuries. Even if you are president, you will be a blip at most in history books. If you want to make an impact, find something that is meaningful and if that thing brings wealth, power and prestige, great. But those should never be your end goal. Instead of running for office, why not run a prison ministry, run a hospital or run an overseas orphanage. Better yet, why not just do something as mundane as raising and training a large godly family and be an impactful Christian at your workplace?

10 “I like him, so I will vote for him”

I find it quite concerning that some make politicians and politics their god. Their world hinges on politics and the results. Some also fall prone to the “cult of personality” and the flip side of “anti-personality” too, voting for or against a person they like or don’t like. This shouldn’t be the case for a Christ follower. We are not called to be respecters of persons. Our republican form of government assumes human sinful nature. That’s why checks and balances are ubiquitous and why, contrary to common opinion, we don’t want politicians to “get things done” in office. Speed is almost always the enemy, unless it removes power from office holders (which is almost never the case). Our three branches, the electoral college, the federalist system and the constitution are designed to make the government grind to snail speed and to add layer upon layer of roadblocks to prevent tyranny.

As we put people in office, we need to focus on the policies, not the person. The issues, not the individual. The platform, not the party. The positions, not the persona. Sure, the person embodies the positions, and the party embodies the platform. But the question should not be “who should I vote for,” rather it should be “what should I vote for.” Only then do we have the answer of who we should vote for and for what party. This sets up an electorate that goes to the voting booth with reason and rationality, not emotion and political likability.

I’m not called to make a defense for another’s life and character. Even though all are fallen, we desire the one with the best character. Most often we get two front runners who are both less than stellar. While this is not good, it comes as no surprise. Often men of strong drive desire top office, but that also leaves them quite vulnerable to infidelity (which is why the “Mike Pence rule” is so important). Consider both the drive and the sins of Sampson and David, not counting many other world leaders and leaders in US history.

One last thing we need to look at is those who the leader surrounds himself with. Sure, you are casting a vote for a candidate, but consider all the advisers and the support staff. When we are talking about the presidency, consider also the vice president, the cabinet, the ambassadors and the judicial nominations.

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11 “I Vote third party”

While it is great that some advocate for a third-party person with stellar positions, what is the actual chance of that person gaining office? Our amazing-platform-holding person with three hundred social media followers doesn’t really have a fighting chance. Voting for this stellar-position-holding politician may make one feel good, but wisdom cries against such an act. By intentionally voting for someone who has no realistic chance of office, we don’t send a message, we communicate nothing. Your vote just went into a black hole when it could have gone to someone who can actually do the greatest good. William Lane Craig says it’s a “dereliction of duty” and I tend to agree. Voting third party in today’s milieu (especially in swing states) is like tipping the waitress with monopoly money. It may make you feel like you did something, but in reality, you did nothing to lessen evil. When our vote for the person who has no ability to gain office helps those who promote unjust and unrighteous positions, we are not promoting the good. You are refusing your vote from the one who is promoting the greatest good. When we do such things, we are actually promoting evil because evil wins.

We also will never find a perfect politician. Those who desire a perfect politician desire an oxymoron. We are speaking about humans and we are speaking about politicians. Both have been perpetually known to be imperfect (save one, Jesus). We need to use our vote wisely to actually vote for someone with a realistic chance of attaining office. We also need to vote for the one who will do the greatest good and oppose the most evil. Sure, other countries may have a multi-party system, but that is not what we have now in the US. As of now, we need to work within the system.

As we vote, let’s consider a three-legged stool: First, what is one’s positions and policies? Second, what is one’s ability to lead? Third, what is one’s potential of gaining office? Each needs to work together.

12 “You should Vote your Conscience”

Voting your conscience may sound good, fair and even spiritual, but I see no reason why it should be our standard. There may be issues where you do have to vote your conscience, however, it’s not our standard in our fight against evil and in the morally clear-cut issues. The big issues should have a biblical standard, not a conscience standard.

Now, this assumes one actually knows what the Christian worldview is and what it is not. It also assumes that you know the difference between your opinion and the Christian worldview. The biblical worldview promotes many things in parallel. This includes things like justice and righteousness, freedom and liberty, care for life and the sanctity of life, hard work and honesty, right to one’s own property and one’s own money, the promotion of family and fellowship, promotion of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and the promoting of delayed gratification and thriftiness.

Closing thoughts as you go to vote

As Christians, we should never be uncertain of where we stand when we go to the polls. We have principles that are grounded in reality and these principles should always guide us when voting. Some of the principles that guide me as I vote and help me choose the best person includes the following:

  1. Vote life: Abortion is the murdering the most innocent among us: unborn human babies. Vote for the abolition of human abortion.
  2. Vote free market: Socialism not only gives rise to poverty, but is also theft, and it rejects biblical-grounded private property. Wealth redistribution should be voluntary, not forced (which is theft).
  3. Vote liberty: Remember, the larger the government, the smaller the person. The greater the government gun, the lesser the personal rights.
  4. Vote family: The family is the primary cornerstone of society. We need to rise up against the erosion of the biblical family.
  5. Vote sexual morality: The normalization of homosexuality, LGBTQ, and same sex marriage and shacking up has given us a degraded and demised culture. This promotes family breakdown and social ills.
  6. Vote justice: Many innocent are unjustly discrimination against. We want a fair and just government that doesn’t discriminate on one’s ethnicity, gender or economic condition. Social Justice (and Critical Theory) is dangerous and is in opposition to biblical justice.
  7. Vote religious liberty: Around the world, Christians are being persecuted. We need to promote and vote for religious liberty and less government regulation of churches and worship both publicly and privately.
  8. Vote school choice: The parents, biblically, have been giving the task to train up their children. They, not the state or anyone else, should be choosing the education for their children.
  9. Vote fossil-fuel: Often fossil-fuel is said to be bad. Actually, fossil-fuels are pro-human and save lives. It also helps replenish the earth with the much-needed carbon dioxide to increase plant growth.
  10. Vote deregulation. Large governments that regulate you and industry have much in common with fascism. The government has a duty, but that duty is not to get involved with our private lives and industry.

One last encouragement: don’t be a wimp. Don’t fall prey to the politically correct culture of not talking “religion and politics in polite company.” What else is there to talk about? Sports? Well, that’s political now. So are our occupations, our communities and everything else! Stand up for good, because when good people don’t stand, evil prevails. Remember Edmund Burke’s quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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