By Joel Beeke
Some Evangelicals and Reformed Christians in the United States show a surprising ambivalence about the election on Tuesday. I am not suggesting that many of them will vote for President Obama. But I do know some godly Christian people who may either not vote at all, or vote for a conservative candidate who has no reasonable possibility of winning the election.
I would hope that all who love the Scriptures would agree that we should not vote for President Obama. There are compelling reasons why a Christian should be distressed with the current administration. The President’s unqualified support ofabortion goes beyond anything we saw from previous Democratic leaders like President Clinton. His public endorsement of same-sex marriage is well known. His fiscal policy has launched the federal government into reckless spending which runs up our deficit at a rate of more than a trillion dollars per year—that is, more than $3250 of additional debt per year for every one of our 312 million people. At present, our government is in debt more than $51,000 for every person living in our nation. People have documented his socialist agenda for the government to use its coercive power to steal wealth from some in order to redistribute it to others as its officials see fit.
When one considers what the Bible says about the unborn child (Ps. 139:13–14), homosexuality (Rom. 1:26–27), debt (Prov. 22:7), and stealing (Ex. 20:15), including taking from the rich to favor the poor (Ex. 23:3), those committed to biblical truth cannot but groan over the policies that presently rule our nation. To vote for President Obama is to vote for the advancement of moral evil, intolerance against biblical teaching, financial bondage, and political tyranny. As citizens of a democratic republic, we have the grave responsibility to use our vote to end this administration before it does more harm to the people of our land.
Furthermore, I think that we all would also agree that either President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney will win the election. This is not a statement of choice, preference, or political ideology. It is just a statement of fact. Polls indicate that only a few percent of voters will choose another candidate.
Therefore, if you are a biblical Christian, and cannot in good conscience vote for President Obama, then you must choose whether to vote for Mr. Romney, or a candidate who cannot win, or not to vote at all.
Why would any Christian choose not to vote? You have an opportunity to speak up for the unborn children, who cannot speak for themselves. God will hold you accountable one day for how you used this power to vote. Proverbs 24:11–12 says, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works?” To avoid the ballot box is to remain silent while a million lives are snuffed out each year.
What would you say to the Lord on Judgment Day if He asks you, “Why didn’t you use your vote to stand for the millions of unborn boys and girls of America?” The difference between President Obama and Governor Romney regarding abortion is clear. Romney has far more respect for the right to life and for freedom of conscience than Obama.
What about Christians who plan to vote for another candidate who cannot win? I can imagine two scruples of conscience that might hinder them from voting for Romney.
First, they might object to voting for a Mormon, and thus choose to vote for someone professing orthodox Christianity. I am no supporter of the distorted theology of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. It is outside the bounds of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It adds other writings and so-called prophecies to Scripture as the Word of God. However, we are not electing a pastor. We are electing the President of the United States. We do not live in a political system where the head of state leads the established religion of the nation. We live in a system of religious liberty where our Constitution says no religious test must be passed by a candidate for public office. (Ben Manring has posted on this topic as well.)
Christians can in good conscience support the political office of non-Christians. If godly Daniel was able to serve in the administration of the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar, then godly believers can support a President who is not a believer in the God of the Bible. The President’s job is not to teach sound doctrine, but to punish wrongdoers and to protect good citizens (Rom. 13:3–4), as the head of the executive branch of the government. To vote for Mitt Romney is not to endorse his views of religion, but to support him politically.
I might also point out here that as far as I can see in Mr. Romney’s past political record, at no point has he promoted his Mormon views upon the people he has served. I cannot find a single instance where he has tried to impose unsound Mormon theology on those whom he has governed.
Second, they might object to voting for a moderate conservative, and prefer to vote for someone who better fits their own more conservative views. They might say this is “voting on principle,” suggesting that they are acting with strict integrity of conscience rather than making a pragmatic compromise.
Let me respond by asking some questions. Is it a compromise of principle to vote for someone who does not agree with your perspective 100%? If so, then it seems that you can only vote for yourself! No one shares the exact same principles. In fact, our system of government virtually requires people of varying principles to work together so that various branches and offices of the government cooperate efficiently.
Imagine three presidential candidates in 2020, one of whom is an unknown worker at a Kleenex factory, the second is a famous and experienced leader, and the third is a homicidal maniac wildly popular for his music videos. Mr. Kleenex holds almost the same views as you do. Mr. Leader is sometimes frustrating to you but holds similar views to you on several points. Mr. Homicidal Maniac is, well, you know. Does “voting on principle” mean you must vote for Mr. Kleenex, even though 99% of voters have never heard of him?
Someone might say that this is not a fair characterization of our choices in this election. Of course it is not. These are imaginary people, not an allegory. My point is that voting on principle does not mean disregarding a person’s experience or ability to win the election.
To consider practical matters when making decisions is wisdom. Our Lord Jesus acknowledged the wisdom of being careful to “count the cost” before engaging in a large economic or military endeavor (Luke 14:28–32). Our resources are precious. We must not throw them away if we know we cannot accomplish our goal.
Your vote is precious. Please do not throw it away when you could use it to defend our children against a future of abortion, sexual perversion, socialism, crushing debt, and tyranny.
The elections where we must press for solid, biblical, conservatives are the primaries. It is sad that we have so few options in the Republican Party that represent the wisdom of the Word. I personally would have chosen a different man for the Republican candidate. We must remedy that, and we can remedy that. But the 2012 primaries are history now.
In the election on Tuesday, we have only two realistic options. If you don’t vote for Romney, then you have helped Obama. And if a significant number of evangelical Christians do as you do, Obama will be elected. I could not live with my own conscience if I contributed, even by default, to electing a president who promoted same-sex marriage and baby-killing, which may well lead to the destruction of America. That’s why my conscience won’t allow me not to address this issue, and also won’t allow me not to vote for Mitt Romney.
It’s a close race, dear friends. Choose wisely. No election in recent history has been so important as this one. Your vote could make a world of difference.