Faith and the Election
Three beliefs I hold are central to me as I approach this election.
1) God works through elected officials to care for God’s people and world. Indeed, I would say that God sets up the office of public official for precisely this reason (see Romans 13:1-7). For this reason, elected officials deserve our prayer and support (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4). And for this reason we should also vote – as by voting we faithfully occupy the office for exercising authority in a democracy – and protect the right to vote of all citizens.
2) God’s will and concern throughout Scripture is most clearly directed to caring for the most vulnerable: the poor, children, the hungry, immigrants, those without family or protection. Again and again, from the prophets to Jesus in Matthew 25, God directs us to care for “the least of these,” for when we do so we honor God and witness to God’s goodness.
3) While Christians cannot afford to disagree on this primary affirmation of Scripture – that God gives particular attention to those in need – we may and often do disagree on the means by which to accomplish God’s will. There is no one way to serve the poor, but we’d better make sure this is what we’re really doing.
So with all this in mind, I wanted to share that I voted this year by absentee ballot because I will be out of the state on Nov. 6. What I found really interesting is that it gave me the time and opportunity to look more closely into some of the races and candidates. On the national and state-wide contests, I had pretty much made up my mind. But when it came to several local races – city council positions, judges, etc. – that I often leave blank, I took 15 minutes or so to do a little online research and come to a more informed decision.
Granted, I could do that before going to a polling place, but there was something about having the ballot in front of me that helped me take the time and do the research to be a more informed voter. And it felt, to borrow the old words, meet, right, and salutary.
Should you also want to give some additional thought to your votes – whether by absentee ballot or in person at the polls – here are several cites that I have found helpful.
FactCheck.org – a non-partisan review of candidates’ claims, statements, and commercials.
Congress.org – providing information about local, state, and national officials.
Circle of Protection – a group of Christian leaders from across traditions that have urged the government to care for the poor. They currently feature of a video response of the two candidates explaining their strategy for caring for God’s most vulnerable people.