On the Eve of Another Election

As I sit to write, we are one week from election day 2020. This is, in my perspective, the most divisive election in my lifetime. Political viewpoints are driving a wedge between co-workers, family members, and Christians – yes, support for the ‘wrong’ candidate is dividing even the body of Christ.

 

Virtually all of Hollywood, academia, and the mainstream press exude virulent loathing for President Trump, and conversely affection for former Vice President Biden. Some political commentators on Fox News demean former Vice President Biden, and support President Trump. The heated battle has resulted in an unprecedented response of the electorate – with more than 62 million casting ballots in early voting.

 

Some suggest this election is all about character, and engage in ad hominem attacks on the candidate they oppose, but this is at best secondary. No candidate can avoid the stain of depravity. Every Christian knows this. There is none righteous, not even one. . .All have sinned (Rom. 3.10, 23). Attempts to ‘grade’ candidates’ moral fitness are subjective and selective; perceptions are colored by our limited knowledge.

 

Even worse is the temptation of some to impugn the motives of a candidate. This reflects arrogance on our part, since, as Scripture tells us, The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jer. 17.9, NLT). Christians are warned against hasty judgment of others; when the Lord comes, He will bring to light the things hidden…and disclose the motives of men’s hearts (1 Cor. 4.5).

 

So what should we judge? Policy. What does each political party include in its platform? What strategy for our nation does each candidate propose? The presidential candidates could hardly be more different on many of their policies. Don’t ‘sugarcoat’ their positions (or try to make them palatable): Take them at their word. What do they stand for? Consider social, economic, educational, environmental, defense, and immigration policies. Decide where you stand, and why.

 

But you may ask, “Is there a policy issue which stands apart from all others, which every Christian should hold inviolate?” There is: Murder. There is no dispute here: You shall not murder (Exod. 20.13). Christians can differ on the relative merits of some social, economic, or environmental policies, but support for the taking of human life eclipses them all. Slavery was the issue in society two centuries ago; William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln are rightly enshrined in history for helping end it. The murder of sixty million babies stains our national conscience today. Abortion is the human rights issue of our generation. No other policies endorse the killing of human beings. Standing against this is a non-negotiable.

 

Nearly a century ago, German Christians, along with academia and the media, enthusiastically endorsed Hitler and the antisemitic Nazi ‘Jewish solution’ – the killing of six million humans. In the book Theologians Under Hitler, author Robert Ericksen tells how religious leaders justified this Holocaust. Lesser matters distracted them. They called for ‘human rights,’ even as millions died. On the final page of his book, he writes: “Will we avoid using our intellect to rationalize a position that protects our comfort and best interests, closing our eyes to the pain created for the different or less fortunate among us?”[1] Christians today who allow economic or social policy to obscure the unique evil of abortion show crass ignorance.

 

One who stood against Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In 1943, when opposition to Nazism was unpopular and dangerous, Bonhoeffer wrote this: “Who stands fast? Only the man…who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God…”[2] For taking a stand, Bonhoeffer paid with his life.

 

This is our turn to make a difference. On election day, remember the Giver of life, and stand for the sanctity of human life. Don’t support any party or candidate that actively endorses abortion.

 

[1] Robert P. Ericksen, Theologians Under Hitler (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985), 200.

[2] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison, The Enlarged Edition (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1971), 5.

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