My current work makes it foolish for me to comment in public forums on current American politics. But I can post a comment here to articulate what has been going on in my head after reading JST Matthew 16. And I think that's okay considering how few read this blog.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. And now for a man to take up his cross is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments….Break not [abandon not] my commandments for to save your [political or physical or social or any other kind of] lives; for whosoever will to save his [political or physical or social etc.] life in this world, will lose it in the life to come. And whosoever will lose his [political, physical or social life], for my sake, shall find it in the world to come."
It is always a bad idea to vote for a candidate who directly advocates and personally embraces ungodliness and lust simply because you believe the hate speech directed at his or her opponent or fear the opposing political party or potential future legislation. Fear and hate are never good reasons for voting and they are definitely never good reasons for compromising one’s commitment to Christ and his prescription for godly behavior.
A politician who revels in his or her ungodly behavior daily in his interaction with others, denigrating other human beings, will never listen to you as a constituent unless you excuse and justify or minimize his wickedness and actively or passively support it. And I, as a follower of Christ, have made a personal commitment that I will not do that.
I have lived long enough to have learned that it is not the party platform that makes a political candidate reliable and responsible. It is not his or her foreign policy proposals or his or her domestic agenda. It is not how much I disagree with the platform of the opposing party or how much I am bothered by his or her opponent. It is the candidate’s personal commitment to basic godly principles of civility, decency, and willingness to sacrifice for the good of others, his or her moral compass, that makes a candidate reliable and responsible. That personal commitment to basic principles may not have led that candidate to the same political conclusions that I have made. It may sometimes even lead him or her to sponsor legislation that I think is short-sighted, or wrong, or downright stupid. But that moral compass must be there if I am to have any hope at all that he or she will listen to constituents or work with opponents to craft legislation that supports the vision of his constituents, including me.
No political candidate is without sin. None of us are. All them have done stupid things. All of them have bought into some of the world’s lies. But some have developed moral compasses and others simply have not.
Never vote out of fear. Always vote for people who show evidence of civility, respect, goodwill, and a moral compass in spite of their stupid mistakes and their political ideas that do not mesh with yours. (I have never met a politician that I did not seriously disagree with on some point or other.) People who show evidence of those qualities can be persuaded to look at truth and work with opponents and listen to their honest hearted, civil, engaged constituents who see things differently than they do. People who don’t, will never be.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ I hope that I would not ever support, embrace, or even justify or excuse ungodliness and lust or reveling in breaking basic commandments of God in any situation in order to save my own life. And certainly never, ever, in order to save the life of a political party.