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Why Christians Should Vote in This Election

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By Morgan Feldmeyer

The two political lions roar and the audience hiss, as the mediators of the 2016 Presidential Debates act like lion tamers trying in vain to hold the candidates’ attention. Yet these lions will not be tamed, which is why the American people enjoy the entertainment of the political circus. However, as the day of the election creeps closer, the attacks of the lions become more sinister and sickening. Clinton’s emails, Trump’s temper, Clinton’s conspiracies, Trump’s comments and on and on the accusation’s fly, as the “entertainment” turns ugly.

Certainly the world of politics is far from the “pure” position that Christ promoted. Therefore, it is no wonder that many Christian leaders refuse to cast support for either candidate. Yet, the passivity of these well-respected men and women has created a new question for evangelical Christians: Should American Christians vote for a presidential candidate in this 2016 election? According to history, our country’s founders, and the Bible, the answer is a unanimous yes. But why is it a yes? In other words, why should American Christians vote this November?  

History, American leaders, and the Bible offer a clear answer that is fivefold. First, this election will determine America’s course for the next thirty years. Second, people have sacrificed and died for the privilege of voting. Third, history has shown that deplorable acts happen to Christians who remain passive in the political sphere. Fourth, it is Americans’ sacred right to make their will known. And finally (and most importantly), this election will determine if religious and Christian, principles and freedoms will remain in this country.

Supreme Court

In addressing the first issue, this election will determine America’s course for at least as long as Jesus lived on the earth (which is thirty three years), through the appointment of Supreme Court justices. The US Court website shows that, “Today, there is one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Like all federal judges, justices are appointed by the President,” (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts). With the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it is determined that the next President of the United States will promote at least one Justice and end the stalemate between the remaining four conservative and four liberal Justices. However, CBS News reported that, “In the next few years, the Supreme Court may face as many as four vacancies as some of the Justices enter retirement. That means the outcome of November’s elections could be critical in determining the court’s future composition,” (Shabad, 2016). In addition, Alternet reports that the appointment of the Supreme Court justices “will shape our lives for the next 30 years,” (Morris, 2016). They justify this statement by showing that, “Scalia, after all, was on the court for 30 years before he died. Thomas has been on the court for 25 years and is still only 68,” which is far younger than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was when he retired at a record age of 90 (Morris, 2016). To put the magnitude of the issue in perspective, at the moment of writing this, I am seventeen years old, and will not be able to vote in this election. By the time another President gets the opportunity to appoint replacements for the four Supreme Court Justices that will be appointed during the next few years, I will be nearly fifty years old. Therefore, Alternet is right when they say, “The new justices will set the direction of the Supreme Court and the values that guide it for the next generation,” (Morris, 2016).

Historic Foundation

Past generations know the importance of having leaders that will uphold Christian values; for they fought, sacrificed, and died to protect that right. As Thanksgiving nears, children are reminded of the determination of the Pilgrims who settled Plymouth, Massachusetts in order to escape the tyranny of the king who tried to exterminate their Christian beliefs. Because the Pilgrims disagreed with the Church of England on theological issues, their, “belief[s] put them at odds with church officials, who in the early years of King James I tried to [and at many times succeeded, in having] them arrested and thrown in jail for refusing to participate in church rituals,” (Mayflower History.com, 1994). At that time, Catholic and Protestant leaders believed, “that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of the civil authorities to impose it, forcibly if necessary, in the interest of saving the souls of all citizens. Nonconformists could expect no mercy, and might be executed as heretics,” (Library of Congress). The pilgrims knew that for the sakes of their children, they had to escape the intolerance of the English government. Because of this, they sold almost all of their earthly possessions to move to Holland and eventually to America. They faced the wilds of the New World and all the uncertainty, disease, and starvation that went with it, in order to give their children what they had never known: the freedom to worship God as they saw fit, without government intervention. Therefore, they created the Mayflower Compact (many elements of which are encrusted in our Constitution), to ensure that they would be able to appoint leaders who agreed with and protected their ideals.

In the same way, the Founding Fathers and Mothers of America gave everything to ensure that their children would be able to have a say in the decisions that their leaders made. Most grade school students know that the American colonies separated from the British Empire because of taxation without representation. The British government had the legal right to pass taxes and to create laws, without the agreement of the people to whom those laws affected. Yet, the Americans believed that, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” ( The Heritage Foundation, 1776, p. 6). It was this belief that drove men like Patrick Henry to choose liberty from Britain with the possibility of death over ensured life and slavery to the British government (The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2016). Therefore, American men and women willingly went to war with the strongest country at that time and sacrificed their comforts, their security, and their very lives to make sure that the ideals they treasured like the freedom to vote, would endure.

Americans have continued to sacrifice for these ideals. In wars like the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and Korea, millions of American soldiers have died to protect American freedoms and the American way of life. More recently, 4,500 soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan (Goodman, 2014) to ensure, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” (Lincoln, 1863).

Lessons from WWII

Earth’s history has revealed that when people, and especially Christians, refuse to use the rights that others have given them, then those same rights become obsolete. For example, history shows that if Christian Germans had voted against or even opposed Hitler’s plans, then the Nazis would not have been allowed to hold absolute power and the Holocaust would never have happened. “The population of Germany in 1933 was around 60 million. Almost all Germans were Christian, belonging either to the Roman Catholic (ca. 20 million members) or the Protestant (ca. 40 million members) churches,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). This almost absolute majority voted for Nazi leaders such as Hitler, with the hope that they would fix their country’s problems (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). One, “of the reasons why most Christians in Germany welcomed the rise of Nazism in 1933, [was because] they were also persuaded by the statement on ‘positive Christianity’ in Article 24 of the 1920 Nazi Party Platform,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). This statement demanded, “the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). Apparently, German Christians never thought that the Nazis would persecute and kill those whose manners and moral sentiments conflicted with those of what the Nazis defined as the “Germanic race,” or they might not have voted them in. Yet, when the German Church started to realize its error in supporting Hitler, “The general tactic by the leadership of both Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany was caution with respect to protest and compromise with the Nazi state leadership where possible,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). Though there were pastors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who secretly tried to dismantle Hitler’s hold on Germany, “throughout this period there was virtually no public opposition to anti-Semitism or any readiness by church leaders to publicly oppose the regime on the issues of anti-Semitism and state-sanctioned violence against the Jews,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). When the Second World War finally ended in 1945, “the silence of the church leadership and the widespread complicity of ‘ordinary Christians’ compelled leaders of both churches to address issues of guilt and complicity during the Holocaust—a process that continues internationally to this day,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). If ordinary Christians had stood up and united in opposition to Hitler’s’ schemes in favor of the Christian ideals of love, righteousness, and justice for all people, then Hitler would have had to submit to their will. Yet, because they remained silent and passive, their consciences were stained, as their democratic republic crumbled before their eyes.

The fall of Germany proved to be a lesson for all republics and its fate was what America’s founding fathers feared the most. Therefore, with their foresight, the founding fathers devised a method of voting and government where the people were given the solemn right to speak up against any and every form of tyranny. The Declaration of Independence, which was written to secure the, “certain unalienable Rights,” states, that, “when any Form of Government becomes destructive [,]… it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness,” ( The Heritage Foundation, 1776, p. 6). As shown, one of the very reasons America was founded was to give its people the right to change the government and the nation’s path, when the former government did not meet its sacred duty to effect the safety and happiness of the people it served. Furthermore, the Constitution which is the reigning document from which our government was founded, declared that the offices of President, Senator, and House Representative would be filled, “by the People of the several States,” (Joint Committee on Printing, 2009, p. 1). Therefore, whether Christians participate or not, the people of the United States will determine the courses that these offices will follow. If Christians want Godly principles to lead and dictate the course of their country, then they must vote.

Rights of the Unborn

Perhaps, no other election is as important for Christians to participate in, as this one. In this election, voters have the choice of two people, both of whom have been wrapped in moral controversies. Yet, despite the candidates’ less-than-Godly conduct, their platforms are what Christians need to be concerned about; for their platforms on the issues of abortion, and same-sex marriage, are what will propel this Nation to or away from Godly principles and Christian freedoms.

Christians believe that abortion is morally wrong. God told Jeremiah in the Bible that, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart,” (Jeremiah 1:5, New International Version). God also sent angles to proclaim the births of people like Isaac, Samson, and even Jesus to their parents long before they were even conceived. Because of verses and references like these, Christians believe that God knows and creates people before they are conceived. Therefore, each life is precious and to snatch that life away before he or she even has an opportunity to defend his or herself is the equivalent of killing babies and sacrificing, “their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed[ing] innocent blood,” (Psalm 106:37-38, New King James Version).

Yet Hillary Clinton has supported abortion for years. The National Review reports, “As a senator she [Clinton] stuck with the party line on keeping partial-birth abortion legal even as many Democrats deserted it. Other Democrats voted for federal law to treat assaults on pregnant women as having two victims; not she. Clinton co-sponsored legislation to sweep away those state restrictions on abortion that the federal courts had left in place,” (Ponnuru, 2016). The article goes on to report that while she modified her word usage to exhibit a more moderate approach, “She did not give an inch on policy, and even in that speech implicitly compared pro-lifers to the Communist dictators of China: supposedly, using the law to forbid abortion, as in pre-1973 America, is just like using the law to mandate it,” (Ponnuru, 2016). Furthermore, last March, Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Clinton if she thought the, “child should have any legal rights or protections before it’s born? Or do you think there should not be any restrictions on any abortions at any stage in a pregnancy?” (Kessler, 2016). In answering, Clinton side-stepped the unborn child’s rights to, “Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” ( The Heritage Foundation, 1776, p. 6) and instead stated, “women have this right to make this highly personal decision [of having an abortion] with their family in accordance with their faith, with their doctor,” (Kessler, 2016). Baier then asked, “Just to be clear — without any exceptions?” (Kessler, 2016). “No,” Clinton answered. “I have been on record in favor of a late pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother. I object to the recent effort in Congress to pass a law saying after 20 weeks, you know, no such exceptions,” (Kessler, 2016). In addition, The Atlantic news source reported that during one of the debates Clinton said, “‘I will defend Roe v. Wade,’” which is the Supreme Court ruling that made abortions legal in the United States (Lafrance, 2016). Finally, The National Review reported that, “In 1994, Clinton strongly supported health-care legislation that included robust protections for abortion opponents: Employers who objected to ‘abortion or other services’ for moral reasons were not to be required to include it in their health coverage,” (Ponnuru, 2016). The news source goes on to say that, “Now Clinton, together with most of her party, condemns the idea that employers should be allowed to ‘impose their religious beliefs on their employees’ through their coverage decisions,” (Ponnuru, 2016). This last quote is the most troubling, for if it makes Christian business owners pay for operations that they find morally offensive and therefore, infringes upon their religious freedoms.

On the other hand, Donald Trump’s policies have become progressively more anti-abortion. The Washington Post reported that in 1999 Trump stated that he was Pro-Choice in an interview with Tim Russert of NBC (Bump, 2016). However, he seemed to be conflicted with the issue as he said, “I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject,” (Bump, 2016). The Washington Post goes on to show that, “At some point between 1999 and 2011, Trump’s position on abortion changed. He explained…[‘W]hat happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child,’” (Bump, 2016). From these experiences, Trump completely shifted from being a Pro-Choice advocate to being a Pro-Life advocate. On November 2, 2016, Life News.com a well-known Pro-Life news organization, provided evidence of this change, when it stated that, “Trump has previously offered two lists of potential Supreme Court nominees. Conservative and pro-life groups held both lists as containing the kind of nominees they would prefer to see who would be for legal protection for unborn children,” (Ertelt, 2016).

Sanctity of Marriage

Besides the life of the unborn, the other issue that Christians should be concerned about is the sanctity of marriage. The book of Genesis shows that in the beginning, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; [and] fill the earth,’” (Genesis 1:27-28, New King James Version). Genesis shows that the reason that God made the first woman was because, “‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him,’…. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become on flesh,’” (Genesis 1:18, 2:24, New King James Version). These first references to marriage provide no evidence whatsoever that marriage was meant to be between two men or two women. Instead, they specifically show that marriage was created to be between one man and one woman. Furthermore, The book of Romans says of homosexual and lesbian relationships, “women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due,” (Romans 1:26-27, New King James Version). There was a penalty for their error because God specially forbid homosexual and lesbian relationships in the Biblical law; for God said in Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination,” (New King James Version).

Clinton’s views on this issue have changed over the years from being against same-sex marriage to being for it. In December 1999, “The New York Times reported that Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said she supported the Defense of Marriage Act,” (Sherman, 2015). In 2000, she broadened her stance, “‘Marriage has got historic, religious [,] and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman. But I also believe that people in committed gay marriages, as they believe them to be, should be given rights under the law that recognize and respect their relationship,’” (Sherman, 2015). Then in 2004, “Clinton spoke on the Senate floor against a proposed federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage….Though she opposed it, she said that she believed that marriage was “a sacred bond between a man and a woman,” (Sherman, 2015). In addition, the Politifact news website reported that, “in 2007, Clinton backed away from the Defense of Marriage Act: ‘I support repealing the provision of DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] that may prohibit the federal government from providing benefits to people in states that recognize same-sex marriage,’” (Sherman, 2015). Finally, on March 2013, Clinton officially sent out a video where she said, “I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law,” (Sherman, 2015). Since that day, she has not stopped in her support for same-sex marriage.

In contrast, Donald Trump has been firm in support of the institution of traditional marriage. Politifact showed that in 2000 Trump said, “‘I think the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman,’… [Instead,] He said he would favor a domestic partnership law that afforded same-sex couples the same benefits as married couples,” (Clark, 2016). Then in 2011, “He sat down for an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News …‘I just don’t feel good about it,’ Trump said. ‘I don’t feel right about it. I’m against it, and I take a lot of heat because I come from New York. You know, for New York it’s like, how can you be against gay marriage? But I’m opposed to gay marriage,’” (Clark, 2016). Furthermore, on, “the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on same-sex marriage. Trump does not agree with the decision. [However,] He has said efforts to overrule the court through an amendment to the U.S Constitution are not realistic,” (Clark, 2016). Yet, Politifact stated that he, “also suggested in at least one interview that he would consider appointing Supreme Court justices who would support reversing the ruling,” (Clark, 2016).

The founders of this nation gave their all to ensure that future generations of American Christians would be able to speak up in opposition to laws and leaders who stood against religious and Biblical teaching. Today, two issues stand in sharp opposition to the Bible’s teaching and must be and will be dwelt with. When looking at their individual histories, it is clear that one candidate stands head and shoulders above the other on these issues. Yet, whether or not they are dwelt with by the President whose beliefs align with Christian principles will be determined by whether or not Christians make it to the polls.  After looking at history and the words of the founding fathers, there seems to be no reason or excuse for American Christians to withhold their votes for the next President, during this election. For those who are still skeptical, the Bible makes clear that Christians are to stand up for the issues that they believe in. After all, in a parable, Jesus himself told his disciples to, “Occupy till I come,” (Luke 19:27, King James Version).

Repercussions for Inactivity

To avoid confusion, I will have it known that my reason for writing this paper, was not to condemn Christians for inactivity, but to remind them that their decision to either vote for President or stay home this election, will have repercussions not only on their own lives, but also on the lives of their children and grandchildren. Children like me who are not yet old enough to vote in this election, will not have a say on whether or not Christian principles and freedoms are maintained in this country. But if you are a legal living citizen of the United States who is over the age of 18, then you can. You can support Biblical principles. You can support Christian freedoms. You can appoint Supreme Court Justices that will uphold Godly values. The power is in your hands. The founders of this county and God Almighty gave you the Right to influence this election. Now is the time to use it.

 

Bibliography

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