“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me'” (Matthew 4:8-9).
Recognizing evils on the political left has always come more easily, because I am generally conservative in my thinking. As a result, the challenge for me has always been recognizing the evils on the right. Like a lot of people, especially in these politically charged times in which we live, I constantly find myself being tempted to turn a blind eye to, or make compromises for, wrongdoing, which just happens to fit within my biases; that whole “Us vs. Them” mentality is terribly infectious… ouch. Whereas many are pointing in one direction or the other, I recognize that evil encroaches from all sides in this world. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me'” (Matthew 4:8-9).
As a Christian, would I vote for Pete Buttigieg, a practicing homosexual? Many evangelicals would answer, “absolutely not”, based on the biblical prohibition of practicing homosexuality (Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 6). Yet, many, maybe most, of the very same people voted for Donald Trump for President in 2016, a practicing adulterer. Why do I call President Trump a practicing adulterer? Well, the Bible forbids, in most cases, remarrying after divorce (Matthew 19; 1 Corinthians 7). “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Despite the apostle Paul’s rather urgent warning to flee from sexual immorality, there seems to be a double standard afoot. Both homosexual acts and adultery are considered sexual sin, and both are denounced alongside one another, literally in the same breath here: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). And let’s not forget about greed and selfish ambition (Galatians 5:19-21), both of which the world, including much of the church, has distorted into a virtue. As a fellow blogger recently pointed out, “Interestingly, in Ezekiel 16:49-50, the Lord mentioned that the sin of Sodom that led to their judgment wasn’t really sexual immorality by itself but greed, arrogance and lack of concern for the needy. Something for our brothers and sisters to think about.” Wow… is it just me, or is the evil piling up fast?
So what does a faithful Christian do? Do I not vote for the sinner? Where in the sand do I draw that line? Do I cast my ballot based on policy and on who I believe will do the best job? But are my conclusions based on fact or spin? Do I vote at all? All these questions are problematic no matter how I answer them. In the interest of total transparency, I voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and as it stands now, I will likely do so again in 2020, unless I decide not to vote or a better candidate emerges, because I primarily agree with the President on policy and generally approve of his job performance. Conversely, I wouldn’t vote for Pete Buttigieg for President, regardless of his lifestyle, because I disagree with the Mayor, across the board, on policy and on his vision for this country. Truth is, I knew there was a problem, a few years back, when that now infamous County Clerk in Kentucky refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, on the basis of her Christian convictions, yet she was reported to have been guilty of multiple infidelities, divorced, and remarried. I watched in horror as the conservative, evangelical community, by and large, turned her into their poster child for biblical marriage. If God can raise up Pharaoh for His purpose, then God can surely use anyone, but I don’t believe that excuses us from turning a blind eye to wickedness. What a conundrum!
I can’t think of too many politicians who don’t fall short; therefore, whatever decision I ultimately make when Election Day 2020 finally rolls around, I will do so after much prayer and with a clear conscience. Let’s shed our blinders, and seek not “our” god, but the God of scripture for guidance. We own the decisions we make (2 Corinthians 5:10).
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