Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Who Would Jesus Vote For…

July 10, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Religion, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) My son saw the caption on the magazine cover. I did not. I was late for work and headed towards the door. “Daddy,” he asked. “Who would Jesus vote for?” He then pointed in the direction of a magazine rack and repeated his question. Apparently one of the news weeklies had asked the question on its cover.

“I think none of the above.” I answered.

“Well,” he pondered. “If Jesus wouldn’t vote for any of the candidates why would you?”

Good question. Clearly my son got his good looks from my side of the family and his brains from his mother’s. I took a deep breath before answering him. Children often say the darndest things and I didn’t want to dampen his intellectual curiosity by patronizing him with my answer.

Though I am a Christian, I always cringe a bit when some political party or organization pretends some proprietary relationship with God. The Lord is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. In fact I am not convinced that God cares a great deal for politics (and even less for politicians).

In the New Testament the apostle Matthew recounts the time the Pharisees attempted to trap God with a query about taxes paid to Caesar. Jesus takes a coin from his questioners and says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to the Lord what is the Lord’s.”

I have always understood this scripture to say to us that God recognizes that men are imperfect and social creatures and must therefore somehow organize and govern their associations. Governments – that is moral governments — exist to protect the liberty, lives, and property of those it governs in order that men may live together in their imperfectness. So we become political. We vote, we campaign and often feel a sense of divine appointment in our political institutions though such sentiments are often misplaced. The message of this story in scripture is that leaders as well as citizens must remember that ultimate authority rests with the creator. And he is not concerned with our political institutions. His primary concern is with the hearts and souls of the individuals that make up the institutions.

I do not claim to know the mind of God. I suspect anyone making such claims is engaged in pretense. However, as it happens we do have a moral and ethical roadmap of sorts that clues us in to the direction the Lord would like us to walk. I am of the opinion that God is always on the side of Liberty and Justice and if we as individuals keep that in mind, trust in his benevolence and mercy, follow his commandments and offer ourselves as sacrifices to our fellow man as he did for us, all will go well with us.

This was the message of Moses. The Israelites had wandered 40 years in the desert and when they were at long last set to enter the Promised Land– their leader cautioned them to have faith and let that faith guide their behavior and all will go well.

This message was repeated again by the Prophet Samuel when the people of Israel pleaded with Samuel to name a king over them in order that they might be protected and nurtured. Samuel reminds them of the words of Moses — that if they but trusted in God and behaved according to his law all would go well with them.

I concluded my answer to my son by reminding him that we are blessed to live in a country where we have a say in who will govern us. Our participation is therefore in my book mandatory. When he comes of age he must involve himself in the political life. He should weigh the issues and the candidates against the moral and ethical lessons provided by God’s roadmap and he must vote. He must also keep in mind that the men and women we vote for are imperfect and faith placed in men is faith misplaced.

And, in his daily life it will go better for him if he always casts a write-in vote for Jesus as his candidate of choice.


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