In my post of December 8, 2007 regarding Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech, I mentioned that there were several evangelicals who have declared that they will not vote in the 2008 Presidential Election if there are only pro-choice candidates on the ballot. Their bottom line…they say they will NEVER vote for a pro-choice candidate.
Some of these Christian leaders have outright said they will sit on the sidelines. One such example is James Dobson, who is quoted by WorldNetDaily as saying:
“If given a choice between him (Giuliani) and Senators Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran — or if worse comes to worst, not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else.”
Randy Alcorn, a pastor in Oregon, said the following on his personal blog:
“And by the way, if I had a choice between voting for a pro-life Democrat and a pro-choice Republican, I’d vote for the Democrat in a heartbeat. (No, child-protecting and child-killing aren’t the only issues, but I can never regard them as secondary; I might write in a third alternative, but I will never cast a vote for someone who won’t stand up for the right of unborn children to live, yes, even if I agree with them on every other issue.)”
Josh Harris, a pastor in Maryland, linking to Randy Alcorn’s blog from his own, said that “he identifies with and appreciates” what Randy had written.
I acknowledge that these men, and others like them, are expressing their strong commitment to their conscience. And they should be commended for the strength of their convictions. Their firm stances are wonderful during the primary season, where their voice might possibly influence the nomination of a party’s candidate.
However, in the general election, the choices for the individuals who will vie for the highest office in the land and arguably the most powerful man (or woman) in the world, will have been determined by a fair, democratic process. While some voters will be thrilled that their favorite candidate is on the ballot, that will certainly not be the case for everyone.
In a very real sense, the 2008 general election may be conducted to select the “lesser of two evils.” It is entirely possible, given the current leaders in the polls, that both the Democrat and Republican candidates will be pro-choice. But there are other incredibly important distinctions between the two major parties and their platforms and therefor the agendas the new president will bring into the White House.
To say because neither candidate supports a pro-life agenda that you will simply sit out the election is, in my opinion, dangerous on several levels. For one thing, it increases the possibility that for at least the next 4 and possibly the next 8 years, we will have to endure the leadership of the “greater of two evils.” And particularly so, when your voice gives rise to the possibility that others will also not vote. Unfortunately, I am afraid that far too many Americans look to opinion-leaders and others with influence to do their thinking for them. Besides, announcing now that you will not be engaged in what is an incredibly important process can be fairly likened to the child who does not like the way a game is being played and picks up his ball and goes home. In the process, everyone loses.
I would encourage those who are “promising” to sit out the 2008 election if their candidates are not nominated, to continue to seek the Lord and what HE would have them do insofar as their involvement in the 2008 General Election. And to do so right up until 7 pm, November 4, 2008 (or whenever the polls close in your state). Don’t say NEVER, now!
My further encouragement is to consider the possibility that while God shares in your abhorrence for the trivialization of human life, that He is also critically interested in the degree to which we remain engaged with the other issues that face our nation and world. I dare to believe that he expects our voices to be heard, even if that “voice” is in the form of a cast ballot. And I might also remind that while we have the freedom to vote or not to vote, the privilege of doing so is in the context of a form of government (democracy) that God has established (Romans 13: 1,2).
Consider as Justin Taylor has done, that if Giuliani is the eventual nominee, (NOT JT’s first, second, third, or even fourth choice, nor mine either) he would probably hold his nose and still vote for him. Given the circle that Justin moves in, that declaration probably took some courage.
Perhaps some of you disagree?