Election Day and Biblical Instructions*

*maybe even Imperatives 

For the first time in my memory, the State of Texas will be influential in deciding presidential candidates through the primaries.  With the accelerated schedules of primaries around the country and the so-called Super Tuesday that occurred earlier this year, I am surprised it turned out this way.  And March 4, is being heralded as “Super Tuesday II” (too) by the media.  The impact Texas will have is far greater for the democrats than the republicans as McCain appears to have the nomination in the bag in spite of Huckabee’s determination to “allow people’s votes to be counted.”  At one time, I sort of liked Huck.  Now he is sounding more Quixotic all the time.  “Come on Sancho, another windmill, err, uh, primary to fight!”

But the primaries are key this year in the rural county that I live in.  Bandera County voted something like 90+ % Republican in the last presidential election, and the vast majority of elected officials in the county are Republican.  There are a number of very hotly contested primary elections today, which, because they are uncontested by the democrats, will essentially decide the office holders that will be sworn-in come January, 2009.  The establishment is facing serious challenges to the seats and offices they have held for years.

Among those hot contests is the one for Sheriff.  The current sheriff was initially appointed to the office to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of his predecessor.  He subsequently won a special election which was tainted by way too much party establishment interference.  Not many were happy with the outcome.  And the regular election cycle has brought challenge.

I have recently been studying the Biblical books of 1 Timothy and Titus.  In those books, Paul gives instructions regarding qualifications for so-called overseers.  These overseers were to be the presiding leader of the churches that were being established.  The Greek word translated as overseer is episkopos, which speaks to authority and ranking position.  But the important part of Paul’s teaching relates to the character and performance of the man as it relates to his own personal conduct and the evidence of his leadership based on his family, in particular his children.

I will grant you that Paul’s teaching is directed explicitly at affairs of the church.  But, I think it bears consideration, that the high standards of expectation applied to the leadership of the church can be used as a plumb line for secular leadership as well.  Again, I will grant you that there is no mandate that the same standard be applied, but as a believer, I find this teaching to be instructive in making decisions related to secular leaders.

So, with that in mind, I have to wonder if the incumbent sheriff is really qualified to hold that office given the unruliness of his son.  No one is exempt from the possibility that we will raise a prodigal.  But those who do, may need to consider the propriety of assuming the role of leader and particularly one with authority, when they are unable to demonstrate those qualities through the evidence of their own family.  This seems especially profound when one is seeking to be the chief law enforcement officer while raising a habitual law breaker.

Does anyone else see the irony in this?

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