I could write in Jesus but I don’t think he’d win
“Vote your conscience,” those of faith are hearing from others of faith. But honestly, I don’t know if that advice is anywhere near practical in this election year.
The implication of this counsel for some is that in light of God’s attitude regarding divorce, lust, and greed, one cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump. For others it’s that the clear biblical mandates to tell the truth and hold all life to be sacred make it impossible to vote for Hillary Clinton with a clear conscience. And for still others, that no Christian can in good conscience vote for either. Voting for “the lesser of two evils” is still evil, we’re told.
Well, one of these evils is going to be our president. Is it reasonable to believe that it doesn’t matter which one? That a vote for either is a vote for the devil and a serious sin against God? That in 2016 a Christian is morally obligated to leave the presidential ballot blank or write in Jesus instead?
Here’s the way I see it. Making a choice of one over the other does not translate into support for everything he or she stands for, nor approval of things they have said or done. I choose to avail myself of the internet even though much of what is transmitted here is gravely immoral. I choose to purchase consumer goods irrespective of the manufacturer’s social policy or the personal morality of those who will financially benefit from it. If any of them are quite the despicable human being, that does not mean I’m supporting evil.
Ideally we would have at least one candidate with a stellar character and a spotless past, wise in all things political, social, and economical, with no ambition beyond serving our country sacrificially, who inspires the citizenry with his or her high morals and love for humanity, and commands the respect and admiration of the watching world as well. Unfortunately, we do not, and likely never have…at least since George Washington…nor will. What we have are not one, but two less than stellar
characters candidates, and though it’s a sad, sad commentary on how far we have fallen since the founding of a truly great nation under the leadership of a truly great man, we have to go with what we’ve got.
I thank God for the faith of our founding fathers that shaped their worldview and hence their “nation-view,” and for their wisdom in crafting a system of government with checks and balances, and a constitution guaranteeing a certain level of sovereignty within each state. The buck may stop in the Oval Office but that doesn’t mean the president has complete control or even the final say. The people’s representatives in Congress can override and they can remove. It’s not a perfect system, and if we’re not diligent it can be corrupted and even discarded, but it’s been working pretty well for over 200 years and we’d be wise to support and maintain it.
So as important as our choice for president is, it’s perhaps just as important who we choose to represent us in Congress, and who sits on the judicial branch (and whether that branch is securely bound to the trunk of the constitution). We should also consider who will surround, support, and advise the president, as they will have an influence to one degree or another.
Well, that’s pretty much where I am right now in my struggle. I have eighteen more days to cogitate. And pray.
Caroline, I’m also in a quandary about who to vote for although I’m becoming more apolitical with each passing year. I cannot vote for a pro-abortion candidate like Hillary but in my mind Trump is sorely lacking in ALL the traits needed to be president. Every time he opens his mouth he disqualifies himself further. I can’t, in good conscience, vote for either one. RE: George Washington. Don’t forget he was a slave owner for the last 56 years of his life. Somehow Christians were able to justify slavery back in those days and it brought untold misery to this nation and we’re still dealing with it.
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Thanks for your input, Tom. I’m no expert on George Washington and I recognize he was not a perfect man. But as for the slavery issue, I think we need to keep in mind that at that time his slaves might have been better off remaining with him than being released.
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I think your view is solid (and, for what it’s worth, consistent with Catholic social teaching). I am of the camp that both candidates are completely unacceptable — but I would not say that voting for one or the other, or either, is necessarily a sin before God. It depends on our heart and on our intent. If we were to vote for Hillary, for example, because we support abortion, then that makes us complicit in that sin; if we were to vote for her despite her being pro-abortion, because we think Trump is a horrible and dangerous person, then that’s a different matter. Likewise voting for Trump, despite him being a horrible person, because he is nominally conservative and anti-abortion, is not a sin; voting for him because we like his attitudes toward women or immigrants or Muslims may well be. (For my part, I’m not voting for either one of them.)
I was just going to ask you for your reasoning in not voting, and then you gave it on my previous post. I can see where a “protest vote” would have value, but I’m leaning towards voting for the one, and more specifically for the party that I believe would help move our country in the right direction. And so far, my conscience is letting me.
I’m not worried about whether my vote for either candidate would be a sin, ’cause…you know…I don’t have to 😉 (just havin’ some fun with you). I agree that what counts is what’s in our heart, and thank God, he can see that.
I guess it’s best to ask, “What would Jesus do?” – http://bit.ly/2ifBPeB
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