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How Should Christians Vote?
By Bishop Tom Brown

This article is very different from the ones I normally write; however it is the duty of ministers to teach on our moral duty to vote the Christian way. So with this I share my thoughts about voting and why I am voting a certain way. Let me be very clear: I will not be partisan or look to be critical. It is difficult for anyone to run for office, especially the highest office in America. I appreciate anyone sticking their neck out to run for president.

Whoever runs will face mounting criticism and everything they say or do will be twisted for political advantage. I hate how politics have become vial. This negativity is not Christ-like. The Bible says, “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person” (1 Cor 13:7, AMP). As Christians we must be careful to avoid “believing the worst in people.” We must learn to give people the benefit of the doubt. Let us avoid the extreme negative outlook on politicians. Yes, they make mistakes. They say things that are not truthful. But who among us is without sin.

The reason negative ads work is because we as believers believe the worst in people. It is time to demand something better of ourselves. We must demand for politics to become civilize. Politics has lost civility, and we as Christians are part of the problem. God demands us to love one another and to pray for those in office. It is not our job to become cynical or judgmental.

At the same time, there is nothing wrong with pointing out true differences in policies so that we can better understand how we should vote. I am not opposed to debates. There is nothing uncivil about debating the issues of the day. Even the Apostle Paul debated his opponents: “For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ” (Acts 18:28). Paul not only debated those who disagreed with him concerning the gospel, but he “vigorously refuted” the people that disagreed with him. If anyone is running for president surely they need to vigorously defend their positions.

This brings us to the political issues of the day. What are the positions of those running for president? What position should Christians take on various issues? How do we come up with the biblical positions? Obviously knowing the Bible—not just the parts you like—but knowing the whole Bible will help you make wise decisions as to what positions you should take, then presidential candidates should take the same or nearly the same positions as you. And in the end, you should vote for the one who is more closely aligned to the positions that the Bible affirms.

In the end, it’s been my experience that rarely do I find a candidate that meets or agrees with all my positions. But I vote for the one more aligned to my views and one who I think can be the best president.

I have thought deeply about the political issues of the day: from abortion, to same sex marriage, to health care, immigration and war. What are we to make of these issues? And how should we come up with our positions as born again Christians? Many sincere believers have different positions. How is it that true Christians can think so differently on these issues? After thinking deeply about some of these concerns, I started to realize the answer lies in the declaration of independence.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” Those words are like our US motto. But those three values: life, liberty and happiness, is also the guiding three-fold principle of how we should vote. These words were not accidentally placed in the declaration, but they are there for a reason. They are our guiding light posts on how to vote. More than that, they are also placed in their order of importance. What is more important: life or liberty? We believe in them both; however, some issues demand to give up one for the other. You cannot expect another to give up their life simply so you can have your liberty. If your liberty results in someone else’s loss of life, then your liberty becomes immoral.

For example: the most important moral issue of the day is the right for unborn children to be born. There are those who are “Pro Choice” and those who are “Prolife.” The first group focuses on the “liberty” of the woman to make her own choices. The second group focuses on the “life” of the preborn baby. Now, what is more important, the liberty of the mother or the life of the unborn child? You cannot claim to equally pursue both the liberty of the mother and the life of the child. One must take precedence over the other. And since life is more important than liberty, we must side with the life of the unborn child. I recognize that mothers have a “legal right” to get an abortion, but it is not a “moral right.” We can’t simply claim rights when it takes the life of another. Life trumps liberty. This is true concerning abortion “rights.”

Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” According the passage it is possible to use your freedom to do something sinful. Abortion is sinful. One cannot lay claim to the freedom to do with their own bodies by killing another body. This is not “serving one another in love.” And make no mistake about it: preborn children are made in God’s image. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” To kill a baby still in the womb is to upset the work of God in creation. God is knitting the child in the womb. The baby in the womb is a life!

As the previous example shows, the debatable issues of the moment are normally caused by the competing three-fold principles. As Christians or simply as conscientious voters, we must make a decision about these three blessings: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We must uphold life as the most important of the blessings; then liberty is followed by happiness. Your pursuit of happiness cannot override someone’s liberty. When you pursue happiness at the expense of another’s liberty, then your pursuit ceases to be a “moral pursuit of happiness.”

The most difficult problem comes when both groups pursue happiness, yet one group’s pursuit of happiness conflicts with other groups’ happiness. In those difficult cases, you must use common sense to solve the problem. For example, you can’t blast your stereo and wake up your neighbors. It may be your pursuit of happiness to turn up the speakers, but your happiness cannot upset or stop another person’s happiness. So in this case, you must lower your stereo so your neighbors can sleep. 

Fortunately most issues don’t conflict with life, liberty or happiness. In the cases where the issue affirms all three without contradiction, then there is little debate. In the following areas I give a Christian Fish for the candidates that scored well.

Character Matters

            In the upcoming Presidential election, we vote for “people” not “principles.” In other words, you are electing human beings, not simply inanimate principles. Thus, the first thing you must look for in a candidate is character. You want someone honest and who considers other people more than themselves. This is called character. And more than anything, you must look for this in a candidate. That means you look first in his relationship with his family. Is he married and faithful to his spouse? Does he have children that are exemplary models? If so, you know he is likely to be a person of character. Hypocrites often raise bad children or get divorces. So I look at a man’s marriage and children to help me determine if the person has good character.

            Paul used this same logic in electing a bishop. He says, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?” (1 Tim 3:5). The same principle applies to taking care of our country. If a man cheats on his wife, will he not be willing to cheat on his country? If he or she cannot manage their children, how can they manage the entire country? So look for a man who is a good, faithful husband/wife and good father/mother.

Score on Character

 

Experience Matters

            There is no job like the office of president of the United States. At the same time, the president is a governmental job. While other experiences can help prepare a person for president, it is also important that a candidate has some experience in government.

Score on Experience

 

 

Religion Matters

            We live in a pluralistic country. Everyone, regardless of their religion, has the right to run for office. This doesn’t mean, however, that a person’s religion or lack therefore is unimportant, because it is. Israel’s worse kings were those following after idols. They gave lip service to the true faith, but followed the religions of their neighbors. They were unfaithful to the true God.

            Here is one example: “The Lord said through his servants the prophets: ‘Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols’” (2 Kings 21:10-11). Some have argued that we are not electing bishops but presidents. Fair enough, but even the kings of Israel were required to serve the true God. The kings were not priests, so they were not required to operate in the priestly office. The kings ran the nation. But even then the kings were to be true believers. Let’s face it, the president serves as an example to the nation. If he serves a false god, then he may lead others to do the same. 

So we must look for someone who is saved, and preferably, filled with the Holy Spirit. We prefer someone who knows and believes in the Word of God. It is helpful that the Christian we vote for is mature in his faith. It also matters the type of Christian church they attend. Is the church known for orthodoxy or do they drift into error? This is important as well.

Score on Religion

 

Trump has not been a regular churchgoer, however, he is reportedly been born again.

Safety Matters

            The number one job of the president is to keep America safe. The president is not a legislator or judge but the Commander and Chief of the military.

Score on Safety

Clinton served as secretary of State. Her work has proven to be a failure. The world is less safe since she served.

 

Appointment of Judges Matter

            Outside of commander and chief, the single most important job of the president is the appointment of federal and supreme court judges. Their appointments will affect our constitutional rights. It is the job of the judges to interpret and apply the constitution, not legislate what they think the constitution should say. The 10th Amendment guarantees the states the rights to make laws that are not the prerogative of the federal government. However, the Supreme Court has stripped states of their rights to ban abortion and same sex marriage. The president should appoint judges that will respect states rights.

 Score on appointment of judges

 

 

 

Prolife Matters

            This issue was dealt briefly, but now let us look more deeply into this very important, and unfortunately divisive issue. This issue is so important that in my mind it trumps all other issues. There could be nothing more important than protecting the most vulnerable in our society—unborn children. All of us were once an unborn child. You had a right to be born. No mother had or has the right to kill their children. The only exception in my view is if the life of the mother is in immediate danger. It does not do any good to have the mother die, because the child dies as well. So if the mother’s life is in serious danger, I can understand the need to terminate the pregnancy to save her life. Some may disagree with me, but I believe this because I am prolife. I do not want to see two lives die; better than one life is preserved than both die. This is not cruel but a reality.

            Someone might ask about a mother who got pregnant through rape or incest. Let me share my view. I am not speaking for Christ in this case, but my personal opinion. As much as the child is innocent, the father is not. I can sympathize with a mother who feels violated and now she might feel continued violation having the seed of the criminal growing in her. I would hope she could look past the violator and see the innocence of the child. At the same time, I think in those cases we must leave it to the mother. For the sake of saving millions of unborn lives, I would be willing to accept a compromise in order to pass any legislation ending abortion on demand. 

Score on Prolife

 

 

Marriage Matters

            Same sex marriage is against the teaching of Christ (see my article), against the Law of God and against the law of nature. It undermines the most fundamental institution that is the bedrock for the success of any other institution—and this is marriage. “Marriage should be honored by all” (Heb 13:7). Society cannot afford to dilute the importance of marriage, and same sex marriage does exactly this. The basic definition of marriage starts with a fundamental assumption that is is between a man and woman. Definition “defines” and “clarifies” something; it gives it "meaning". If the definition is wrong, there will be no defining and clarification of the importance of marriage, and marriage will lose its meaning. And worse, same sex marriage is giving way to the adoption of children by same sex partners. Children cannot be pawns in this unorthodox experiment with marriage. Religious rights are also now thrown out by the government in order to push gay rights. This is dangerous!

Score on Marriage

 

 

Health Care Matters

Jesus healed everyone without exception. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick” (Matt 12:15). Jesus did not care whether they had money or not. He did not think some deserved healing while others did not. He healed them all—whether they were rich or poor.

He told His disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8). They gave not only the gospel, but they gave healing. They healed the sick. It was free, just as salvation was free. This is the ideal of health care. It should be available to all.

It is bad enough for people to suffer illness; they should not have to lose their life savings. We do not want to see this: “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26). Our country must find a way for everyone to have health care without bankrupting the sick. This means everyone has to put something into caring for themselves and others. Doctors need to be paid, pharmaceutical companies need profits, and hospitals need money to keep serving.

When it comes to health care, we need to see health care not as a commodity but a necessity. In order words, I cannot “buy” health care; I can’t decide whether or not I want it. If I get sick, I need it. It is not like choosing to buy a car or an iPhone. Those are commodities. Those are products that I don’t “need” but choose to have. Health care is not a product. And thus, we as a country must find a way to make sure everyone gets quality health care without anyone going broke. No one should avoid seeing a doctor simply because they feel like they can’t afford it. We can do better as a country than this.

Score on Health Care

Obama Care was the wrong way to provide universal health care.

Health Care savings account is a better way to provide universal health care. Trump has advocated this approach.

 

Immigration Matters

            “Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt” (Ex 23:9). God reminds Israel of their past and how it felt to be mistreated simply because they were once aliens in another country. So God encourages compassion on those who are not citizens. Any immigration reform must be compassionate and must not lead to the separation of families. Children of illegal aliens should not be punished for what their parents did in coming illegally. If these children have lived in America and gone to school and they want to go to higher education, then they should be treated the same way as other children. They should have the privilege of instate tuition. Why would we want to deprive people in the USA of bettering themselves through a college education?

Score on Immigration

 

 

War and Peace Matters

            The Church has already developed the “Just War” theory. The main theory is that a nation cannot attack first. Preemptive strikes would not be considered just. The Just War theory is not a perfect theory, but it is practical, filled with common sense and compassionate. The new reality, however, is nuclear bombs, something that did not exist when the Just War theory was worked out. The question is: is it practical to wait to be attack by a nuclear bomb before the nation defends itself? Will it be too late then? At any rate, the Just War theory must be implemented. A nation cannot be justified if it attacks first.

            Although it might be time to examine the Just War theory in light of the nuclear threat. In other words, is a preemptive strike justifiable if there is an imminent threat of being attacked? It may be something to consider.

Score on War and Peace

 

 

Religious Freedom Matters

            The first amendment of the constitution states we have free speech and freedom of governmental control of religion. No government can constrain our speech or our religious rights. We not only have the right to worship in church, we have the right to speak in the public arena including petitioning the government. No laws should impede those rights.

            The church must obey Christ command, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19). We are not called to disciple people only, but nations as well. To disciple nations will of necessity mean the working with government to change unjust, immoral laws. Government cannot stop the followers of Christ from discipling nations.

            Government, no matter its higher ideals, cannot force churches, including any church run hospital or agency to go against their conscience or religious teaching. Government can’t force churches to go against their beliefs simply because churches may be tax exempt or receive government funding.

Score on Religious Freedom

 

 

Work and Welfare Matters

            “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35). This must be understood in light of the following verse: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess 3:10). There is a clear difference between those who “cannot” work and those who “will not” work. Government must be careful to demand its citizens, who have the ability to work, to work. And we must recognize that some people cannot work, and for those we take care of them.

Score on Work and Welfare

 

Gun Control Matters

            Our constitution gives us the right to bear arms. We have the right to defend ourselves. Jesus affirms the need for self-defense, “If you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). At the same time, Jesus did not think we needed a full artillery: “The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ ‘That is enough,’ he replied” (Luke 22:38). Jesus did not say they needed more. He believed two swords were “enough.” Jesus taught moderation in self-protection. But today it seems that Americans feel their need to be overloaded with guns. This is not Christ way.

Jesus not only affirmed the need for self-protection and that the self-protection must be moderate, He also confronted the misuse of the sword, “’Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man's ear and healed him” (Luke 22:49-51).

The disciple went overboard in the use of the sword. And like them, I think our nation has gone overboard in the use of guns. Our right to defend ourselves must not be construed to allow any and all weapons to be manufactured and used by its citizens. There must be reasonable gun laws to prevent mass killings by deranged individuals or angry spouses. Again, we have the “liberty” of having guns, but our liberty should not supersede the “life” of another. There must be a balance between our “liberties” to bear arms and the abuse of guns.

Score on Gun Control

 

Support for Israel Matters

            Israel is the only functioning democracy in the middle east. They are our friends, and we need to support them. Our support for Israel is based on the scriptures that tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Score on Support for Israel

 

Summary

I chose these issues because they deal with life and liberty. Other issues, good Christian men and women may differ in good conscience. But the issues I spoke about are areas that I hope all people could find common ground and work at making our world a better place.

Finally, voting is not only a privilege but an obligation. Go out and make your voice count. If we had more Christians voting the right way, we would have more politicians living and standing for what is right. 

Final Results

 

I am very deeply concern about the character of Donald Trump. I disagree with the meanness and harsh things he has said about Mexicans, War hero John McCain, and about women. The things he said that he does to women would normal disqualify a man for the highest office. Yet the issue of abortion in my view tilts the scale in favor of Trump. He is no saint, nor does he claim to be one, but his past errors is not as grievous as what Hillary Clinton will do to America as she appoint judges to strip Americans of their rights. Plus, abortion is too important of an issue to simply give it the same weight as other issues. Because of this, I am voting for Donald Trump. This is not an endorsement, but simply how I am voting. By the way, this internet site is owned by me, not the church.

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