Summary: For those who hold the Bible in high regard, it contains many solid principles to guide your voting decisions in an election year. Note: the author is a registered independent voter. No candidates or political parties will be named or endorsed in this article. My intent is to suggest Scriptural guidelines upon which to make a biblically-informed vote.
Proverbs 29:2, KJV When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
New English Bible When the righteous are in power, the people rejoice, but they groan when the wicked hold office.
Proverbs 14:34Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
•• Our great country’s national destiny is, to a great extent, determined by whether we, the voters, place into office righteous men and women.
• A sampling of thesaurus synonyms for “righteous” includes such concepts as: devout, ethical, exemplary, faithful, honorable, irreproachable, just, laudable, law-abiding, moral, praiseworthy, right-minded, scrupulous, trustworthy, upright, virtuous, worthy. These are the traits which, when found in our elected officials, will "exalt a nation".
• The Bible tells us that a national mood of joy, not gloom, prevails when righteous men and women occupy our local and national governmental roles.
•• As of the day of this writing in 2012, a startlingly low 13% of the American people indicate their approval of the U.S. Congress. Why are the voters so distressed with Washington? One biblical answer is: “The people ... groan when the wicked hold office.” (Proverbs 29:2, NEB)
•• For wickedness biblically defined, I offer several examples of Scripturally offensive legislation and/or candidates’ personal positions in favor of:
• hostility to organized religion expressing itself in the public arena — despite the clearly-worded “Free Exercise” clause of our constitution’s First Amendment.
• It is not possible for the blessing of God to rest upon our nation, when “the wicked bear rule” and impose anti-biblical legislation and regulations upon the people.
•• What can “we the people” do about this? We can exercise the awesome power of the ballot box!
•• In the USA, it’s the people who decide who will be in authority. It is we citizen voters who fill all elective positions with either righteous people or wicked people. And by “righteous” and “wicked”, I refer to these terms in the context of biblical morality and principles for conduct.
• In my comments I refer consistently to biblical morality and conduct. That is, and should always be, of great relevance to the 79% of Americans who, according to a July 8, 2011, Gallup poll, believe that the Bible is the "actual word of God" or the "inspired word of God".
•• On Election Day, you and millions of other Americans will decide the future of your state and our nation. Vote wisely ... vote biblically.
Our constitutional form of government establishes a triple system of “checks and balances”. We have (1) the executive branch, (2) the legislative branch, and (3) the judicial branch.
•• Your vote, directly or indirectly, determines who will be in all three.
•• My plea today is this: LET YOUR BIBLICAL FAITH INFORM YOUR VOTE.
2 Samuel 23:3-4 ...When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning...
Psalm 2:10-11 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.
•• The EXECUTIVE branch — the “kings”, the “rulers” — in America includes the president, the governors, the mayors.
•• The Scriptural standard for these men and women in leadership is “righteousness ... rul[ing] in the fear of God ... serv[ing] the Lord with fear”.
•• Remember these words of Jesus: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
•• Evaluate the paper trail of candidates. Their speeches, combined with their past votes, will reflect what is in their hearts. Find out what is in their hearts —
• Is it endorsement of perverted lifestyles? Or of biblical holiness? Or at least traditional morality?
• Is it support or disregard for the sanctity of God-given life?
• Is it a committed involvement with or a disdain for the Lord’s Church, for which Jesus died?
• Is his or her voting record for or against the sanctity and integrity of the family as it is clearly illustrated in the Bible and lived out on earth over thousands of years?
•• These and similar issues will help you decide if you are about to vote for a righteous, God-fearing man or woman.
•• And the “righteousness” you are seeking in a candidate is defined by God in His Word, the Bible. How does your candidate line up on biblical values? And does he or she apply those values to how he or she governs or votes?
2 Chronicles 19:5-6 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, "Consider carefully what you do, because you are NOT judging for MAN but FOR THE LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict.”
•• The JUDICIAL branch. The judges and magistrates, local, state, and federal. In many cases, especially the higher up you go, they are nominated by the executive branch and confirmed by the legislature.
•• Judges need to exercise godly judgment. We need men and women on the judicial bench who are keenly concerned that GOD be “with [them] whenever [they] give a verdict” (2 Chronicles 19:6).
•• Once again, in many cases your vote for candidates for executive and legislative offices will determine those who appoint our future judges. Elect to those offices men and women with AGENDAS CONSISTENT WITH GOD’S AGENDA, and you will increase the likelihood of ending up with righteous judges.
Isaiah 10:1Woe to those who MAKE UNJUST LAWS, to those who issue oppressive decrees.
•• And finally, the LEGISLATIVE branch, our lawmakers, our senators and congressman, our state legislators, our city councils, and so forth.
•• They make the laws that we must live under!
•• Remember, out of the overflow of his heart (Luke 6:45) your legislator will speak with his or her vote. And you will be under the legal consequences of the laws that result.
•• Woe to those who make unjust laws (Isaiah 10:1). And woe to us, who are then stuck with those laws!
•• What can we do? Elect only RIGHTEOUS legislators.
•• Also, many states, like my home state of Oregon, have a ballot initiative process allows us to go ”over the heads” of our elected officials and to vote to amend our state constitutions directly. That’s great!
• So study each ballot measure carefully. Some have no obvious biblical bearing. It’s your choice if you want to vote for cougar hunting with or without dogs. It’s your choice if you want the sales tax or not.
• But I suggest that GOD is very concerned with how you vote on issues like child pornography, gay marriage, and other moral concerns that have been in recent years’ ballot measures in various states.
Treasure your right to vote. Go out this November and vote. Beforehand, evaluate the candidates and their agendas as best you can.
•• Consider both their present speeches and their past voting records, if any.
•• Try to get some knowledge of how they have lived their own lives. What values do their personal lives reflect?
•• Try to determine which SPECIAL-INTEREST groups are supporting each candidate. That’s often a tip-off to what issues your candidate’s heart is compatible with.
We live in a fallen world. Obviously we will not have candidates of perfect character and unblemished histories. At times we may be looking at political races where we are not confident that any of the candidates measure up to the biblical standards we have discussed. But one of them is still going to win each race. In these cases I suggest that you consider voting for the candidate whose positions and platform are the closest to biblical values. Personally, I will be looking for candidates' clearly-declared positions that align with such biblical standards as pro-life, pro family, pro freedom of religion, pro biblical morality, pro traditional marriage, and the like. These will be important factors informing my vote.
In sum, when you evaluate each candidate and, where applicable, each ballot measure, ask yourself: In each instance, how will my vote be best cast to further the eternal interests of God as revealed in Scripture, along with the establishment of righteousness in our great nation?