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.