Though it is October and we are in the fall of the year, the temperature is rising because we are in the midst of a sizzling-hot, politically-charged season where there is much buzz in the air about the upcoming elections. Our lives are cluttered with partisan advertising, critical commentary, spirited debates, frenzied activity, and those incessant phone calls asking for support ad nauseum. In fact, last night I was trying to watch the VP debate but I kept getting interrupted...
The political parties and candidates (on different levels) are courting your vote and support. I have personally received phone calls from several leading candidates seeking the highest offices in the land. Okay, with the creation of robocalling, you have too!
But, as a pastor, there are a few things I want to say: First, I agree with those who say that it is possible for pastors to be so caught up in the political frenzy that they allow political concerns to eclipse their main focus which is the preaching of God's Word. On the other hand, it is equally plausible that a minister might easily neglect to direct and encourage his flock to support the candidates which best represent their Judeo-Christian values.
I like what Richard Land, President of ERLC, has said:
"We should never be endorsing parties and candidates as churches. Instead of endorsing candidates, we should be looking for candidates that endorse us, endorse our beliefs and values. We should insist on moral people being our representatives and we should vote our values, our beliefs, and our convictions."
I could not agree more! So today let me take the lead and say:
If you want my vote then you must stand with me on the following concerns:
The Word of God is clear on this subject: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). Scripture says: "Kings (who are righteous) detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness" (Proverbs 16:12). What is true for a monarchy is true for a presidency. We have a right as Americans to expect a leader who exemplifies integrity and morality.
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel suffered every time an unrighteous king ruled over the land and prospered every time a righteous king was at the helm. In the New Testament, King Herod relied on his public policy, not his morality, to satisfy his constituents. But John the Baptist pointed his prophetic finger at King Herod and accused him of unacceptable immoral behavior. John the Baptist made it clear that a leader's private morality is of public concern!
What is true of the life is true of the lips. It is not only how you live but what you endorse. If a leader publically supports and politically advocates immoral behavior then he is guilty of immoral leadership.
Let me give you an example. The Bible plainly and indisputably teaches a baby in the womb is a precious life in God's sight and worthy of protection (Psalm 139:13-16). Any political leader, legislator, or judge who excuses or endorses the destruction of this human life has placed himself in a position of opposition to God's Word. The Bible warns about taking that which is evil and calling it good and that which is good and calling it evil. I don't want to one day stand before my God in the judgment and be wrong on this issue. Neither do I want a leader before me today who doesn't give clear leadership on this and other moral concerns. We have a right to expect moral clarity of our elected leaders.
The historic hallmark of our American heritage is the Bill of Rights where we find the 1st Amendment which guarantees our religious liberty. It reads: "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The target of this amendment was government and not religious groups. It was written to protect people against religious intrusion by the government, not to protect government from voluntary religious activity by the people. Yet this freedom has been under attack in recent decades by those who claim this amendment protects government and the public from religious expression and limits religious exercise to the home and church. This assault, to a large degree, has driven religious expression from the work-place, the marketplace, the public schools, and government supported activities. This ever-growing incremental encroachment of government upon the free exercise of religion has taken place in a nation-wide pattern of regulations by city, state, and federal governments, intended to restrict the free expression of religion.
Under the federal mandates of the new nationalized healthcare system, religious institutions such as Christian hospitals, charities, and schools are required to offer types of insurance programs which violate their moral conscience related to certain procedures and medications. This is another example of religious intrusion by the federal government. We have a right to expect leadership which will stand up for our values and for the free exercise of our religion.
Listen, I'm just a preacher. But it doesn't take a Harvard professor of economics to see we are driving off a cliff financially in our country. Our federal spending has gone beyond insanity and absurdity. We are fast approaching national bankruptcy.
Presently, the U.S. dept is over $16 trillion. The debt per citizen is about $51,000 and the debt per tax payer around $140,000. We are borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar we spend nationally. This cannot be sustained; it must be addressed!
There are a couple of things which are especially troubling to me: First, government leaders must take this more seriously than we have seen previously. We have a right to expect leadership from all who serve us in Washington D.C. regarding this serious matter. Secondly, we have allowed our country to become dependent on nations which are not historically our allies but our enemies. The Old Testament prophets warned Israel of unholy alliances with other nations. This never worked for the people of Israel; neither will it serve us well. We need to choose national leadership which will begin to address this vital issue. It is the right thing to do!
The greatest document next to the Bible in the history of mankind is the United States Constitution. Did you know that our Founding Fathers heavily invested in sending religious tracts (Christian) and copies of the U.S. Constitution all around the world in the decades following our birth as a nation? They had a story to tell to the nations. It was a story of freedom, and like the Gospel, it needed to be told.
The U.S. Constitution is still to be cherished and protected. That is why our next president, like all before, will pledge fidelity to it and promise to uphold it. We have a right to expect this of our President, legislators, and judges. No one is worthy to be elected or appointed who does not demonstrate loyalty to this treasured document. Anyone who violates this trust should be voted out of office. (God help us with Supreme Court justices who cannot be removed from office. But learn this: be careful who you elect or reelect if they have power to select).
The U.S. Constitution charges the national government to "provide for the common defense." It is still a dangerous world. We have a right to expect leadership which does not sacrifice the protection of its people because of lesser political interests. I do not have the knowledge to assess what is required in spending and size of the military. But I do know that godly leadership will do what is necessary to fulfill this sacred obligation.
Elect leaders who take seriously this responsibility. Pray for leaders once they are in office that they might show wisdom in protecting our country and in choosing when (and only when) it is absolutely necessary to put our men and women of the military in harm's way. I'm going to support a leader who is committed to a strong defense of this great nation.
I could say more, but I will not. You get the idea...but this is where you had better stand-- If you want my vote!
Devotedly your Pastor,