Dear Mr. Evangelical who “can’t” vote this year:
This isn’t really a letter to any one person in particular. It’s directed more at an idea, most recently offered by Vox.com. You weren’t the first to say it, just the latest I’ve seen. So with that limited disclaimer, in that regard, and in the spirit of brevity, I’ll give you all your arguments on both party’s candidates. I’ll concede all points without even bringing them up.
However, let’s walk through this “I can’t vote” rationale. For the past 3 decades, for the Christian Conservative, the democratic candidates have all been “morally” disqualified from the office of President because they have been typically pro-choice and more recently, pro equal rights (somehow translated: anti-religious liberty, but that’s a different letter I’d love to write). The GOP nominees, though self-admittedly not great options, have at least been … not democrats. Without elaborating on the inherent flaw in framing a religious conversation inside of America’s two party system which has little to do with the religion having said conversation, we’ll just move on.
This year, however, you say you’ve found yourself in a conundrum. You are faced with a Republican nominee so potentially horrific and damaging to everyone and everything, though he’d possibly save some babies and more clearly define bathroom rules, that you…super politically active, thoughtful, and interested you … just can’t vote. Of all the Presidents you’ve been around to vote for (I’m guessing only 2, like me) you’ve never seen anything like this before. Never been faced with such a conflict in morals.
This is deeper than times before, right? We’ve decided that following the will of God won’t allow us to pick between “two evils.” Two Real Evils…(We are quick to throw around this word to describe essentially anyone we don’t agree with. Almost as though Christians are meant to judge those around us. As if it is our responsibility to decide the ‘wheat’ and the ‘chaff.’)
But allow me to suggest this is not one of those “in but not of” situations we so look forward to finding. One of these candidates is going to be President whether you vote or not. A decision will be made. All refusing to vote really does is preserve you the moral high horse to say, “See, that’s why, I didn’t vote for him/her!”
I guess it’s abstinence only in Sex-Ed and critical thinking?
What are we, 5? Preserving that statement affords us what? It gets whom where?
Maybe you feel it’s deeper than that though, right? People capable of morally reprehensible behavior could never be allowed to rule or lead. They could definitely not have a Christian’s vote. What would God think of us helping put a “bad” person in power? I’m not sure, but if we are going to define our candidates biblically then I ask you, where are you going to find a “good” one (Luke 18:19)?
You want to get real biblical, God had a tough time finding an “A” squad Himself. Jacob/Israel was a con artist, liar, and thief (Genesis 27). Moses left Egypt because he murdered a guy (Exodus 2). Noah was a bit of a lush and a bit of an over-reactor when embarrassed (Genesis 9). King David, a man after God’s own heart, had a good soldier killed just so he could keep banging his wife (2 Samuel 11)! His kid, though very wise, had 700 wives and 300 side-pieces (1 Kings 11) and offered to cut a baby in half (1 Kings 3). These are our Biblical heroes, of whom I’m a big fan-don’t get me wrong, but many, like us, were quite a mess.
Our former Presidents? Slave owners, racial purists, Pot farmers, philanderers, lawyers, heirs of questionably gained fortunes, people who would be friends with Dick Cheney, Sexists, Liars, a Catholic slipped through, a vampire hunter… And those are the relatively “good” presidents.
But this election? This one is different. God switched up the game plan, sat out a series, and is letting us make that call of who is “evil” and who is not this time. I see some of us have picked up stones, but are you really ready to wind up…you know after what JC said last time (John 8:7)? Or our boy Paul (Romans 14:4)
To me, if your candidate is that awful…so brutal an option, that you morally can’t fulfill your duty as a citizen well, then there’s your answer, child!
But hey, if you count as one less vote for the Donald…I’ll take it.
I’m being heavy-handed here, but I think the real problem is this weird meshing of concepts that being Christian and a conservative, are the same thing. Yes, you can be both, but they are not interchangeable titles. Somehow this idea of “show support for the Red tie and you’re showing support to God” has come into existence. It’s just…been decided. But equating God or Godliness with an office some man or woman sits in or a club he or she belongs to? Evangelicals come from a long history of people who didn’t think they should do that.
I’ve lived a few years and have seen a few things, and I like to think I understand how the issues line up. Personally, I think Christian values line up closer to the middle. To me, Christianity’s extreme characteristic is how inclusive and graceful it is, not how exclusive and judgmental (Acts 2:43-47).
Now, I’m also mature and introspective enough to know that my opinion is just mine. It’s not the Christian opinion, it’s a Christian’s opinion, and there are a lot of us over here with me, by the way.
So while we have some very unique candidates this year, this isn’t really a unique situation for the Evangelical Christian voter. Picking who to vote for to fill the office of President is always hard. This isn’t about being Evangelical, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Wizard, Warlock or Jedi. This is the sudden revelation that a monster is in charge of your house. It’s not the first time, just the first time you noticed.
This is panic….Just breathe….
It is not now time to hide in the back and see what happens. This is Exodus 32. This is Aaron standing next to the Golden Calf he made for the people, then refusing to worship it just so he could say, “don’t be mad at me, that was them.” It’s too late to pass the buck. This rhetoric, slanted talking points, inability or refusal to see another perspective, distrust, and hatred over the past however long, masked in Golden Holiness and Righteous Indignation has melted down on you and out popped the Golden Drumpf. Now do your part, crush him, and drink it down baby.
I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I’m both conservative and liberal. I AM a Christian, and at least this election season, #ImWithHer