Biblical Voting

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  November 1, 2014

            Tomorrow morning churches across the United States will include a reading of the Old Testament Prophet Micah in worship. Likewise, in many churches across the United States the importance of getting out to vote biblical values on Tuesday will be mentioned. These two realities combine for a very powerful reminder when Christians go to the polls.
            In the scripture reading from Micah 3:5-12, the prophet denounces corrupt leaders who base their moral, ethical, and religious decisions in terms of how those decisions will best support their own individualistic gains. These leaders, the prophet boldly warns, will become clouded in their misapprehension of God’s truth that their effectiveness to lead and capacity to further corrupt the people will be destroyed by God.  Their God-given gifts of leadership, vision, and power will be mired in the rubbish of their self-centered and power-hungry motivations.
            As a result of the failed leadership and reckless abandonment of God’s values in exchange for selfish gain, the whole community—not simply the leadership—will succumb to the destruction of its shared moral failure and religious apostasy.
            It does not require much imagination to understand how this ancient prophetic vision can vividly play itself out in the United States. In fact, in its own way, the vast majority of the political messages we have been hearing is intended to remind us that if we, as faithful Christians and loyal citizens, do not vote the right way, our whole way of life is threatened.
            Given a message of such stark warning, combined with the barrage of negative rhetoric that has permeated this election cycle, it is easy to pinpoint all the moral degradation, evil inclination, and outright demonic values that threaten to destroy our nation. As Christians, we generally have no problem railing against those forces that run contrary to our faith. There is, however, another side to Micah’s prophetic message that we may be a little more reluctant to address. It is the side that faces a mirror!
            That other political party may be all wrong, but ours is not necessarily all right! The fact that that church understands biblical values differently from your church does not mean that either has all the answers or that either is going to hell for their misguided beliefs. Micah’s stark prophetic warning calls all of us—you and me—to take a hard look in the mirror and allow ourselves to stand honestly before God and challenge our own motives, morals, and values.
            The church has not always been right—even when it fervently believed it was living in accordance to God’s holy word.  Wars, poverty, starvation, inequality, injustice, slavery, hatred, and murder are all a part of the Church’s presumed “righteous” history. In virtually every such failure, the Church stumbled when personal gain, power, or profit was placed ahead of God’s ministry of justice, equality, and righteousness.
            What do you hope to gain by casting your vote this election? What do those seeking the loyalty of your vote hope to gain should they win this election? Who stands to truly benefit from any given outcome at the polls? What forces, institutions, and entities have the most to gain by investing their time, energy, and money into the election process? How will those values affect the common good of all?
            None of these are easy questions to ask and undoubtedly, many reading this morning’s column will vehemently disagree on how they should be answered. Yet the sacred responsibility remains for all Christians. Do we support God and all of God’s love, or do we support the preservation of our own distinctive institutional, religious, or partisan values?