27 Feb

Saturday Special: WWJD -Voting

I’ve not written of late for a number of reasons… one being that I’ve been feeling pretty icky the last month, took on a small job, and well, looking at the state of our elections-probably more consumed than I’d like to admit!

The biggest reason, though, is that what I’m going to be writing about today could minimally be called speculative. That’s always a touchy viewpoint!  Over the next months, usually on Mondays, I will be writing a regular feature called WWJD-[issue here] that will deal with social, cultural and political issues from a biblical perspective. This will continue weekly until after the national elections are over and when there is something controversial in the news.  My goal is to inform, increase biblical literacy, and encourage fellow Jesus-followers to get more involved in their communities. If you would like to see a particular issue addressed in this manner, let me know in the comments.

My own civic involvement is largely influenced by my faith, combined with active research and participation in the political process. Yes, I vote with my mind and heart-and trust that God is ultimately in control. But just as He had Moses take action ( Exodus 14:15–16 ) to part the Red Sea, so too, should we take action by exercising our vote.
So, here we go…
First, would Jesus even register if he was a U.S. citizen?  I think so. He was very vocal in His criticism of the leaders of His time, and while I can’t imagine what He would think today-I know He’d do His duty and vote! So, first on the list is to REGISTER TO VOTE! You can go here to learn more about it. Another great and informative site on exactly how our government works and insight into the “founding documents” is iCivics. While it is geared toward children and educators, I learned a bit myself.
So many come out to vote only for national elections, ignoring the local (city/county), and state opportunities. As the saying goes, “All politics is local”. As a community organizer, I’m sure Jesus would take the time to voice His choices. Here in my home state, our mayor is already gearing up to run for governor and that election isn’t until 2017! Our current president started out AS a community organizer, then a state senator, then in Congress and now he’s president!
OK, so now that you’re registered and ready to voice your choice, how do you select your candidates?
As a Bible believer and Christian… of course my first source of direction is scripture. So, let’s start with Jesus most prolific words from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:27)(aka the Beatitudes)…
Regarding CHARACTER…
Jesus talks about the blessings (happiness) of those who are poor in spirit, who are mournful of the current state of affairs of the people, who are meek and NOT arrogant, who desire mercifulness, righteous fairness, and who are peacemakers. Quite a list to get started with! They should be salt and light as opposed to doom and gloom. One who isn’t angry, or insulting, is faithful and forgiving in the marriage relationship, isn’t vengeful (go read about being a peacemaker again) and is charitable and generous to all. Jesus also talks about not being a worry-wart (or stirring up fearfulness in others?) and definitely not being a judge of others.(Read this! Mt. 7:1-6).

This teaching of Jesus also offers warnings about “false prophets and disciples” (Matthew 7:15-21). I’ve mentioned before about ear-tickling (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Sadly, even in this 21st century, people listen only to what they want to hear and vote accordingly. Most, if not all the candidates in our presidential contest are professing Christians, but are they? Paul gave us a list of “fruits” to assist us with as well as a list of things that are not Christ-like. I’ve written about “fruitiness” before. Read them here: Galatians 5:19–24. I take it for granted that they just say things to get elected as I’m sure you do. However, remember that before there are laws/rules etc, there are proposals. In our system of government there is a process and just because someone says they’re going to do something doesn’t mean it’s likely, let alone possible.

Ok, now that you’re registered and have determined the character of the candidates, let’s check out their past. In this awesome time in our country we have the internet! If you don’t have a computer, take a day and go to your local library! First, just do a Google search! It’s that easy! Read all about ’em -the bad and the good…but read! I agree that not all sources have integrity so watch out for those sites that have an agenda or bias. And for heavens’ sake, open your mind and use your God-given intelligence! I always look for sources for an article and avoid the 24hr. news sites unless they have video/or references. The news agencies AP, Reuters, and UPI are always good and is where many of the networks get their news! I also like politifact.com for this reason as they always have sources for their “Truth” area about what candidates say, and even issues are discussed.  If a candidate has held public office, you can go to that states website to see how they dealt with issues. If they are/were in Congress do a search on http://senate.gov or http://house.gov to see how they voted on bills, what committees they may be on etc.  Keep in mind that your tax dollars pay for this information…you can also find info on any members’ finances, gifts, travel and so much more!! There is a myriad of information out there so don’t be uninformed. All candidates likely have websites that may or may not list their proposals and stance on issues. This goes for those currently in office at any level. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Now that we’ve registered to vote, considered character, and did our research, pray and ask the Lord what He thinks, and ask for wisdom as you make your choices.
Our system of government in the US isn’t the best but it can be better if you actively participate. That’s what is meant by “WE THE PEOPLE”. If you don’t like something, be the change and encourage those around you to do the same. We, as Americans, are so blessed to have this voice! So many don’t. And yet, average voter turnout is generally around 50% of eligible voters…and that makes me sad! As I write, they are voting in South Carolina. March 1, the election season goes into full swing with “Super Tuesday”. A great “all info” resource can be found here for general info, an election calendar and easy bios
I invite comments, criticism and would love to hear how you decide on candidates. If you have a question about how to research, please ask.  Don’t forget to share an issue you’d like to get a biblical perspective on.
Hope you'll share with others!