The United States has elected a man not of my choice. Nevertheless, Barack Obama will become President on January 20, 2009. A couple of Scripture passages come to mind:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
2 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV)
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
My vote went for John McCain and Sarah Palin. Senator McCain was not my choice in the primary election, but I was convinced that his nominations for future Supreme Court justices would be strict constructionists who judge according to what the United States Constitution says and not what they think it should say now that we live in the twenty-first century. Senator Obama had made clear that his nominees would have to agree with him on a woman’s right to an abortion. I still maintain that no Christian can vote for a candidate who believes that the unborn do not have an inherent right to life. Some issues are non-negotiable.
Some Christians have completely opted out of the election process, believing that their only citizenship is a heavenly one. I think they are sorely mistaken and are wrong. With many of these, there is evidenced a self-righteousness in that they are not sullied by political parties that have sinners in them.
Others have opted for third-party candidates. Were we to live in a parliamentary system of government in which smaller parties could have some influence in their coming together to help form a government, I would have gone third party.
However, the two major parties are in many ways coalitions of smaller parties, and when it comes to forming executive leadership, only one major party will be represented. In some ways, I wish we had a parliamentary system of government so that smaller parties had a legitimate voice and we could cast our lot with those more closely aligned with our views across the board. On the other hand, the presidential system has advantages in checks and balances that is at times evidenced even when one party controls both the executive and legislative branches of government.
That said, I will not opt out of the civic process because I believe that to do so will be to shirk my duty as a Christian citizen. The Republican party had gotten drunk on power and had bought into larger government and greater deficit spending. Maybe the GOP will wake up and repent. Maybe it won’t, but we should use our voices as a prophetic witness against sin wherever it is.
One last thought: no human political party is going to be without sin, though they can all have self-righteous supporters. Some self-righteous supporters support their party without ever raising a dissenting voice. Other self-righteous supporters go third party because of its supposed purity. Still other self-righteous supporters opt out completely. I find all such positions wanting.
May God be pleased to bring this country to repentance. Our greatest need is greater than who occupies the White House.