While it is true that many Christians have avoided altogether any discussion over Romney’s profession of faith in a false god, yet the objections to Romney, as a Mormon, are overturned or dismissed via a historical answer that has been used before in past candidates; namely that Obama is much worse. No doubt this statement is true, but the political environment of the moment does not set our standard for leadership, God does.
The Christian community is scrambling over themselves to publish articles and blog posts encouraging us to vote for the ‘conservative’ choice, Mitt Romney. Leaving aside the fact that by any historical definition Romney is not a “conservative,” or why we would want to ‘conserve’ any aspect of the political environment today, there is rarely any commentary related to more fundamental questions. Instead, appealing to the lowest common denominator, the strategy can essentially be summed up with one statement; ‘anyone but Obama.’
While it is true that many Christians have avoided altogether any discussion over Romney’s profession of faith in a false god, yet the objections to Romney, as a Mormon, are overturned or dismissed via a historical answer that has been used before in past candidates; namely that Obama is much worse. No doubt this statement is true, but the political environment of the moment does not set our standard for leadership, God does. Why do we look to Scripture for our standard of leadership both in home and church but leave civil government to pragmatics and compromise? Said another way, we eagerly support candidates for political office that would be easily dismissed and disqualified in other institutions.
Are the State and its officeholders suddenly beyond Christian reproach? The incremental approach to curbing evil, as is often cited as a reason to vote for less-than-ideal candidates, has actually worked against Christians for many years. Instead of a candidate representing a broad range of Christian opinions, we are now asked to support a man who not a Christian at all. In our eagerness to throw Obama out of office, we are now willing to cast our vote for a Baal worshipper as our political leader.
Below are three reasons why I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Mitt Romney:
- There is a big difference between God using wicked pagan rulers for His purposes and God’s people ‘asking’ for one by casting their vote for a known pagan, anti-Christ worshipper. The prophet Habakkuk was incredulous at the thought of God using the Babylonians to punish them but it appears in the case of America, we are self-consciously asking God for Babylon to rule over us. The only place we find Israel asking for a king is in their disobedience and lack of faith by wanting to be ‘like the other nations’. Peace and freedom are by-products of obedience, faithfulness, and repentance, and these will not be accomplished by asking God to give us Cyrus over Nebuchadnezzar.
- There is no biblical mandate that commands us to ‘cast our vote’ for someone. In other words, to not vote is not to disobey. Civic duty perhaps, can be called into question but I am more interested in Biblical Truth than national ‘obligation’. Writing in candidates or withholding their votes are both viable options for Christians. It is God who sets rulers on their thrones and it is man’s duty to be faithful to His Word.
- Getting the ‘lesser of two evils’ elected at the federal level is a short sighted and pragmatic goal, as if voting for any form of evil is acceptable at election time. Our goal as Christians should be to disciple the next generation on what godly civil government looks like. If that means not voting at the federal level for several elections, then so be it. We don’t have to achieve ‘victory’ in our lifetime; we are called to be faithful. Today’s governors and mayors are tomorrow’s presidents; we should focus our efforts on raising a generation of Christian statesmen at local levels and hope for political revival in the generations to come. As for the immediate future, as much as I would never wish or pray for persecution in this nation, if the Church is strengthened and our dross removed, to God be the Glory.
I would challenge Christians to define the ‘line’ at which any given Republican candidate would be unqualified for office. Is their abortion stance the only litmus test to earn their vote? God tells us that false weights and unjust scales are an abomination as well. If Christians demanded more from their candidates and withheld their votes from those that do not seek to uphold righteousness according to God’s law, the bar would be raised and the doors opened for true Christian statesmen to take office.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34, ESV).
Jason Cunningham is a PCA Ruling Elder in Chestnut Mountain, Georgia; written with Jeff Cunningham.