Christians have been conflicted over several high-profile candidates where the choice between the Republican and Democratic candidate is not clear. And while there’s a third-party candidate who seems more aligned with a Christian worldview, statistically and realistically that candidate has no chance of winning.
But as a Christian, you want to vote according to your Christian values and worldview…and honor God with your vote. And therein lies your dilemma.
Abortion. Marriage. Religious liberty. These are a few of the nonnegotiable political positions that help determine your support for a candidate. Other issues important to Christians may include support for Israel, lowering taxes (vs. legalized theft), repealing Obamacare (among the many problems are the rationing of healthcare in a bureaucratic, government-controlled system and its abortion provisions), budget deficits (generational theft, creating the most immoral tax of all—inflation) and wasteful government spending.
To Christians, their stances on these issues are inflexible. They go beyond politics…they are moral issues that will impact the future of our society as well as determine the type of world in which our children will grow up. Issues of life, building strong families, traditional marriage and pro-job/economic growth are fundamental to our belief system and a healthy society.
All that being said, there are two ways Christians can view how to vote:
Christian voter #1: Vote only on principle. You vote for a candidate, not against one. You only vote for a candidate who agrees with your nonnegotiable positions.
Voter #1 feels this is the only way to have a clear conscience.
So if a candidate supports taxpayer money for abortion, you could never vote for that candidate. But what if the candidate supported parental notification or opposes partial-birth abortion—and supported tax money for abortion? Your vote would still be “No.”
If the opposition candidate—who is for taxpayer-supported abortion, against partial-birth abortion and against parental consent—wins because you, as a Christian, voted for a third-party aligned with your Christian values, that’s OK.
Why? Because God doesn’t measure us by who wins or loses, but by our faithfulness to vote our values without compromise.
We honor God with our vote and let Him do the impossible. We are being faithful to what God has called us to do and leave the results in His hands.
God used Jonathan and his armor bearer to defeat the Philistine Army. In 1 Samuel 14:6, Jonathan said, “Nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few.”
The practical side of this is the politics itself. The Democratic Party ignores or opposes Christians in the areas of abortion, marriage and religious liberties (and other important values).
But increasingly the Republican Party is ignoring these issues as well. The Republican Party believes it need not worry about the Christian vote, because they will vote for the lesser of two evils.
By voting for a third-party candidate or write-in, you are saying the lesser of two evils is…evil. And you are also saying that politicians should pay attention to the Christian vote and issues. Ignore us and you will lose the election.
Christian voter #2: Vote for the greater good. This Christian voter disagrees with voter #1. This is the voter who believes in strategically avoiding or limiting the most evil.
In the case of abortion, voting for a candidate opposed to partial-birth abortion and for parental consent, even if the candidate is for taxpayer-funded abortion, is a way to restrain evil and save lives.
The principle of strategically avoiding the worst evil means that although you are not voting for a candidate who fully agrees with your views, you are choosing one who is better than the other candidate.
Voting in a primary allows you to vote for the “near perfect candidate.” Voting in a general election, a third-party vote could be, in a sense, voting for the worst candidate—you’re actually indirectly voting for evil!
Rahab, the harlot of the Bible, used this principle to protect Jewish spies. Corrie Ten Boom tells of the Nazis knocking on the family door and asked if they are hiding Jews. The higher moral ground was to protect life.
It’s not a matter of “choosing the lesser of two evils.” As a Christian, we must never choose evil. Instead, your vote for the imperfect candidate is strategically used to limit evil—and that in itself is a morally sound choice.
There are three key benefits to this approach:
- Your vote keeps the worst person from being elected—and doing even more harm. This is a good moral choice.
- You’re voting for some good positions—a morally good choice.
- You’re voting for more than just that position. For example, a Governor will appoint over 300 judges, commissioners and other important positions. The candidate most aligned to your values will appoint more people who are acceptable. Other tightly contested races have other important, although indirect, short- and long-term consequences.
So as you vote, you are faced with those two choices of strategy as a Christian voter.
And in our voter guide of recommendations, posted at http://www.electionforum.org/ we have given for some races “two stars,” or, “better than opponent.” They are either a Republican or Democrat who is better than their opponent to strategically restrain or avoid evil.
In some races, a third-party candidate for the same office is given 2 or 3 stars. That’s for those who wish to follow Christian voter #1. Yet for those who decide to vote this way, you must remember…the lesser of two evils is still evil.
In cases where the third party gets a higher ranking, they won’t win. We will discuss elections like Governor, Lt. Governor and other races where we may be confronted by this moral dilemma.
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What do you think? Email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.