Keeping religious beliefs out of voting choices is impossible

Published 9:10 am Friday, October 29, 2010

Across the Pastor’s Desk

By the Rev. Dennis Schmidt, Hartland & Manchester Lutheran Churches

My goodness there has been a lot of political ads recently. You have probably become like me — thoroughly confused, frustrated and not sure any more who stands for what or why. Our right to vote is indeed a precious one, yet everything has become so complex that one feels like just forgetting the whole thing and let what happens, happen.

But, none the less, I do continue to vote and will again this Nov. 2nd. Why? Because I know from history that there actually are instances where one vote has made the difference. And you know what? I don’t want to be the one vote that should have been cast but wasn’t that cost a godly, Christian candidate the election.

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“What do you mean?” some might say. “You certainly don’t let your religious beliefs influence the way you vote, do you?” You bet I do. My Christian faith in the Triune God and in Jesus Christ as our full and only Savior from sin permeates and shapes all of my life. Why would I leave it out of shaping the way I vote?

As a Christian, my desire is that our elected officials would guide our nation according to the principles and standards that God has given to us in the Bible. That’s right. I said that God has given to us in the Bible. I firmly believe that the Bible is, word by word, the words of our Triune God Himself. That means, by the way, that I do not believe that much of the Bible is simply the thoughts and words of the human writers. I know, many of you are saying to yourselves, “Oh come on now, where has he been? Is he still in the dark ages, does he have blinders on, or is he just that stupid? Doesn’t he know that modern pastors, theologians and professors have nearly all realized through textual criticism and interpretation that the human writers of the Bible added their own thoughts and interpretations to the basics of God?” (Notice the words nearly all.)

Hey, I’m one of those ‘stupid guys’ that still believes what the Bible says, instead of what human beings think. (I feel much safer that way!) Now if you look carefully, you will notice that God clearly tells us in His Word that, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” (II Timothy 3:16) Also, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (I Cor. 2:18) Again, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21)

So, when the Bible speaks on various topics, I know this is how God Himself views the issues, and I then have a strong tendency to see them that same way. After all, I am a Christian, which means a “Follower of Christ.” So, I want my thinking on issues to be in line with what God says. And, I want my governmental leaders to be in line with that same thinking.

No, I do not want our leaders to guide our nation according to Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Taoist or any other religious viewpoint except Christian. Am I being tolerant, inclusive or sensitive to the beliefs of others? Probably not, almost certainly not. But I am being truthful! And, I am being faithful to our God, who declares that He is the only true God and that all others are fakes. “For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” (I Chronicles 16:26)

Plus — let’s face it — they wouldn’t want our nation run according to Christian principles. They would not be tolerant of what I believe. That, however, is a privilege we have in the USA. To each believe as we see fit, and each have our opposing viewpoints.

Am I going to take my conservative Christian views to the ballot box? Sure I will! Those who believe differently will take theirs. So, yes I will take my conservative views against the gay life style, in favor of the pro-life viewpoint, inclined to choose openly Christian candidates. I also note that God urges us to be financially responsible and to owe no one anything, and thus I will vote for conservative spending.

I have found a fair listing comparing the candidates’ views on some of these issues and I will definitely take that into strong consideration as I vote. Some speak against such comparative listings. Hey, if they are embarrassed about what they believe, that’s their problem. I would definitely urge others to be informed voters and then vote according to their religious beliefs. For me, to do otherwise, would be to deny who I am and indeed to deny the one and only true God, whom I love.