Since Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 there has been a debate among Christians as to whether we can vote for an imperfect candidate. However, the entire discussion is based on a false premise: that voting for a person is an absolute endorsement of every action the candidate has taken and every decision they have made in their life. This kind of thinking leads to frivolous debates among ourselves as to whether our witness is damaged by voting for a less than perfect individual.
To state the obvious…there is no perfect candidate. Every elected official has a moral failure in his/her past and will have one in the future. The Bible teaches that we’re all sinful, each of us has fallen short of the glory of God. Are there candidates running for office who are devout Christians with impeccable character? Yes, and we should advocate to have them on the ballot as often as possible. I would argue that in the 2016 Republican primary, there were several candidates that I viewed as Christ followers with a very biblical worldview and high level of integrity.
You might ask, what about Democrats? Well, there are some “deal breaking” issues for me. Abortion is at the top of the list. Any candidate who advocates for the murder of babies in the womb will not get my vote. Thankfully, in America, we still have a party (Republican) that is for protecting the life of the unborn. What would I do if both candidates on the ballot advocated for abortion? Well, we’d be in big trouble because that would mean we would have a one-party government. Christians would either vote for a third party or write-in candidate. That’s assuming we would still have voting rights. Another deal breaker is a candidate who advocates for sexual deviancy. Such a candidate would likely push a transgender and homosexual “rights” agenda. Those who promote such are often in favor of the demonization of Christians because of our biblical view of human sexuality. The Democrat party platform is full of deal breakers.
When it comes to the “lesser of two evils” argument, I don’t agree with that premise either. I believe that each election we have to ask ourselves, “Which candidate’s worldview most closely aligns with the Bible?” That is the candidate that I’m likely to vote for, regardless of whether or not there is a known profession of faith or not.
What about someone’s past? And when considering someone’s past, I mean their factual rather than alleged past. This question arose when the Access Hollywood tapes came out where then-candidate Trump spoke in a vulgar manner about women. There are two questions that we have to ask ourselves in this situation. Has the person apologized for their actions? Are they the same person or have they changed for the good? If the candidate has apologized for past behavior and has become a new person, why would you hold one’s past against them?
If there isn’t a great candidate, then why don’t Christians just stop voting? Well, this might sound like the purest approach but it is one that would be regretted. Can you imagine if all Christians stayed at home in 2016? We’d have a president who approves of abortion and homosexuality. We’d have a president who would appoint judges who completely disregard the Constitution. Lastly, we’d have a president who would likely still be using her private foundation to funnel money from foreign governments in exchange for diplomatic favors.
This sounds like a nightmare, right? Yet that would be the presidency we’d have if it weren’t for Christians voting in 2016.
Voting is not as clear-cut moral choice as we’d like, but I’m thankful to God that America still gets to elect her leaders. Many people live under a dictator with little to no freedom.
There’s a fair amount of friendly fire going on within the Christian community regarding this issue. To assume that 86% of evangelical voters are somehow morally bankrupt because we voted for the Republican nominee in 2016 is completely unnecessary. To also knock fellow Christians for supporting Roy Moore in the Alabama senate race is equally unnecessary. We might hold fundamentally different worldviews when it comes to voting and politics but the last thing we need to do is shoot at each other while the true enemy (Satan) advances on our position.