And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
May all we do be done out of love for God and for others.
If you are like me, your heart is anguished by the horror of abortion. The knowledge of those many, many precious little lives being violently and unceremoniously snuffed out is more than you can bear. If you are like me, you have never and will never support political candidates who defend such barbaric evil. It is good and right to select for our governance people who uphold the right of every person simply to live. It is good to select people who are moral and decent.
So, what then do we do in an election where it appears we do not have any viable, moral choices?
First, lets not pretend there is ever a perfect candidate. We acknowledge that all human beings are flawed. Generally speaking, we should, after much prayer and consideration, select the best of our fellow flawed human beings for positions of influence. From two flawed choices, we should endeavor to choose the better of the two. In a case where one
candidate is truly evil and one is simply flawed, the choice is easy. However, in a case where two candidates are both evil, what are we to do? Do we choose the “less evil” of the two?
First, we need to be able to discern the difference between a flawed candidate and an evil candidate. A flawed candidate probably looks much like we see ourselves. While they are imperfect and have made mistakes, they are observed to be basically “good”. Flawed Christians love the Lord, try to do what is right, avoid sin, and consistently produce good fruit. An evil candidate is the inverse of the flawed-but-decent candidate. They have lived a consistent life of unrepentant sin. Their lives are marked by greed, treachery, sexual immorality, and so forth. If you look hard enough, you may find some ostensibly good things such a person has done (often with suspect motives), but those good things are not the pattern for their lives. (Ephesians 5:1-20, 2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Once it has been determined that we are faced with two evil choices, I would argue that we
should choose neither.
But what about abortion?
This year we have one candidate whose position on abortion is beyond extreme. We have another candidate who has recently changed his mind on abortion, and now states that abortion (in the late term) is wrong. He has stumbled upon a truth, yet has continued to behave in a manner completely contrary to love of God or neighbor. Is this tenuous change of heart with respect to some kinds of abortion enough reason to support such a person? Is the very small hope that he would actually make a difference worth the cost of supporting evil?
If you think it might be worth it, I’d recommend you look at the history of politics in our country over the last 43 years since Roe v. Wade was passed. We’ve had a number of good, moral, decent Presidents who were pro-life. We’ve had a majority of Supreme Court justices appointed by pro-life Presidents. Yet, there has been very little change. The victories the pro-life movement can claim due to governance are quite small and seemingly insignificant (I say “seemingly” because we should all agree that even a single child saved is very significant). Those are the facts. Pro-life Presidents and their Supreme Court appointees have been ineffective in changing the state of abortion in our country.
What, then, can we do?
I sincerely believe that the best way to save the lives of these precious children has less to do with who is President and much, much more to do with our own actions. Republicans (who eclipse Democrats in charitable giving) often argue that Democrats want to force others to support their causes without doing the hard work themselves, as individuals. Democrats are charged with using the threat of force by the government to compel others, while avoiding taking part themselves. Perhaps Republicans are guilty of the same thing in regard to abortion.
What would it look like if all of the Republicans who are willing to vote for a “lesser evil” to curb abortion decided to DO something themselves, rather than expecting a corrupt government to do it for them? What if all of those people helped their local crisis pregnancy center through volunteering or financial support? What if those people loved and encouraged scared girls who are faced with unexpected pregnancy? What if they shared the gospel and the love of Jesus with them? What if their focus was more on changing hearts and minds than “putting their trust in princes”?
Granted, some of the people considering voting for the “lesser evil” do live what they believe. Some actually do support pro-life causes in their everyday lives. However, many (maybe most) don’t. To them, I would say this. If you want real change, stop expecting someone else to make it happen while you do nothing. Go out and “be the change you want to see”. It is insanity to justify an immoral choice in order to try to achieve a moral outcome, and putting into power that immoral choice, for a slim hope of change, is not only immoral, but completely ineffective.
Some will argue that since we supposedly have a binary choice (this is a false dichotomy), and one of the two evils will become President, we should just go ahead and pull the lever for the “lesser of two evils”. However, when faced with two evils, it is imperative that we show the world that Christians are different; we follow Christ and will not support evil of any kind. In an election, that might mean voting for an honorable 3rd party candidate (check out Darrell Castle here and here) or not voting in certain races at all. In times like these, our example and our witness are on display. Do we want to be complicit in associating Christianity (and by default, Jesus) with ANY evil?
Yes, absent a miracle, we will end up with one evil or another this election. However, while we are in the world, we should not be of the world. Whatever the circumstance, we should look different! We should LIGHT UP THE WORLD with our love for God, our love for others, and our PEACE that passes understanding in a rapidly degenerating world. By what shall we be known? Will we be known for our compromise with evil and sin? Will we be known as the ones who wring their hands, give into fear, and threaten all manner of devastation if people don’t support our idea of a lesser evil? Or will the world recognize us by our trust in God, our love for each other, and our peace and contentment? Right now, we have an enormous opportunity. I hope and pray that, in the end, our love and faith will be evident to all.