Earlier, I posted an excellent piece by Dan Phillips on whether Christians should vote for Mitt Romney (duh!), or rather sit this one out (i.e., support Obama) or vote third party (again, i.e., support Obama).
It was originally sent to me as an email, and in that email, comments were requested. Here are mine, and they range beyond the question itself to whether we are (a) required to vote for Christians only, (b) required to serve Christian governments only, or (c) perhaps are just really, really blessed to have a Christian-led government when we do from time to time, and ought to be a lot more grateful and a lot less entitled. — RDM
by Rod D. Martin
October 4, 2012
What do I think of Phillips’ piece? Couldn’t agree more, in pretty much every particular. I was especially pleased to see he didn’t go down the dead-end of demanding Christian governance as a Biblical command. Of course I’m for Christian governance, and of course I’m striving for it every day of my life: moreover, there will come a day when every knee shall bow. But God nowhere requires “that we always vote for a Christian”, and frequently goes to the opposite extreme of placing His people in ungodly utterly pagan governments. Need we even list His servants from Joseph to Obadiah to Daniel to Esther? By the standards of some of our contemporaries, we should condemn God Himself as a traitor and a sell-out for having anything to do with those four!
Or to put it another way, Martin Luther was not freelancing when he said “I would rather be governed by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian”. Which of us, alone in his prayer closet, is honestly going to ask to be ruled by James I, or Constantine the Great, or Chiang Kai Shek, or even the early leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony — who placed Baptists in the stocks — rather than James Madison and Thomas Jefferson? Really?
For that matter, which of you is ready to help elect Jeroboam just because Rehoboam was a fool and a tyrant?
I’ll add just this, regarding Romney:
1. The only real harm Romney could do as a result of his Mormonism which some other unbeliever might not is give some degree of favorable attention to Mormonism. I find this dubious at best. I know of no statistical data that would indicate a significant upsurge in the number of Catholics during the Kennedy administration, or Methodists under GWB, or Baptists (liberal or otherwise) under Clinton or Carter. But more important,
2. The fact is, we have primaries to settle these things. The fact that our side was unable to prevail in the primary shows either that we’re a minority and pretty blessed to get what we got (I disagree with this point of view), or more likely, that we’re a bunch who couldn’t get our act together enough to beat the only candidate we all opposed, and now we’re trying to take out our incompetence on the rest of the country through a “take our toys and go home” temper tantrum. In short, we don’t deserve better. But at the same time, the country doesn’t deserve to suffer more than necessary for our prideful foolishness and failures. Obama is a budding dictator. Romney is at worst a RINO. This is a no-brainer.
Why are we so quick anyway to assume the whole country is “under judgment” and thus deserves an Obama, when in fact it’s far more likely that only we are under judgment — or more precisely, being chastised as sons — and being deprived of the leadership in our own party that our own sins continue to disqualify us from? Could this not be our own private Wilderness, in which God shapes us into a new and better Church, that’s actually capable of leading the culture again? Because we certainly are NOT capable of leading it today, nor do we vaguely deserve to. Forgive me if I point out the obvious: that Mitt Romney reflects many more Christian virtues than most “Christian” leaders did this cycle.
And anyway, we don’t “punish” the party by screwing everybody in the general. Why? First, because we ARE the party; and second, because the people we don’t like in the party actually get more powerful in defeat. When there are lots of elected Republicans to go to, are certain Beltway insiders more or less kingmakers? More or less the conduit for funding? More or less the ones whose rings must be kissed? Elected Republicans have a lot of things they need from us: consultants have NOTHING they need from us. They get paid the same in victory or defeat, and they are the empowered wise men when the party’s out of power. That’s just reality.
An elected Mitt Romney will pander, sometimes to us. Obama will never pander to us, and neither will paid consultants or rich donors. One way, we are defeated at every turn; the other, we live to fight another day, and may win many victories before then.
It is as though a man were to condemn any Christian who was not perfectly sanctified instantly upon his conversion: “you are a hypocrite! You are a sell-out!” No, you are better than you were, but not what you could be. When we wrap our heads around God’s progressive Creation, God’s progressive revelation, God’s progressive sanctification of individuals, and ultimately through them, God’s progressive sanctification of the institutions they inhabit, this will become rather obvious.
If this provokes disagreement, let us reason together: I claim no special revelation or unique corner on the market of absolute truth, as many of our Christian prognosticators imply they have. If this offends anyone, however, I’m way beyond caring. Reality is offensive, to children.