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October 28, 2011

Question Raised Again: Should Christians Choose Christian Candidates?

This year's Values Voters Summit reignited the question: Should voters base their decisions on the religion of a candidate? Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said he supported Rick Perry because he is “a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.” In the wake of the controversy, conservative Christians appear split over the question. Chuck Colson said religion should not be a test for a candidate, while Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said evangelicals should prefer a Christian, all else being equal.

In an interview with CNN, Jeffress said, “I think Mitt Romney's a good, moral man, but I think those of us who are born-again followers of Christ should always prefer a competent Christian to a competent - to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney.” This position is not new for Jeffress. In 2008, he made similar statements on Romney and called for Christians to vote only for other Christians.

Texas megachurch pastor Joel Osteen said earlier this week that he considers Mormons to be Christians, continuing the discussion of whether Mormonism is a Christian faith.

FRC's Perkins said he agreed that “all else being equal, a Christian leader is to be preferred over a non-Christian.” In a nationally broadcast radio message, Perkins said, “If voters can consider a candidate's party and that party's platform they can consider a candidate's religion and the tenets of that faith. We should prefer mature, qualified Christians for public office over those who reject the orthodox teachings of Scripture.”

Colson used his radio message to make a counterargument. “I want to say this to every Christian listening to my voice: Let’s stop criticizing candidates for their religious convictions,” Colson said.

Colson referenced the Constitution, which states that there should be no religious test for public office. “The public statements of some evangelicals that they wouldn’t vote for Romney because of his Mormonism would cause the Founding Fathers to spin in their graves,” Colson said.

According to Perkins, the question of a religious test was about the government, not the voters.

“Many so-called journalists have gone apoplectic claiming such a bigoted position violates Article 6 of the Constitution, how absurd,” Perkins said. “The article reads Congress may not require religious tests for an office. The Constitution restricts what the government can require not what individuals can consider.”

Al Mohler, Colson, Perkins, and Jeffress each agree on one issue: none of them consider Mormonism to be a Christian faith.

“Having said that, there may be no other group of people I appreciate more as co-belligerents than the Mormons,” Colson said. “They are stalwarts on life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty issues.”

Overall, Colson said the debate over religion and voting was a distraction.

“Stop talking about the candidates’ religion. It’s distracting and it marginalizes Christianity in the public debate,” Colson said. “Let’s continue instead to work to advance the Kingdom of God and pick, to the best of our ability, a candidate of competence and sound character who will preserve order and promote justice in our land.” 

Comments

My thought it that Christians choose to vote for candidates using at least the following criteria: Character, Conviction and Competence. There are many who label themselves as "Christian" that are severely lacking in one or more of these, and there are also non-Christians who might just put many Christians to shame in these three areas.

I agree with Colson, although this is an idiotic position to put people into. We are not capable of judging the candidates' hearts, only their outward expressions. And frankly, I see very little of Christ in most of the candidates out there. We see a lot of millionaire money-grubbers, xenophobes, gay-haters, dominionists, liars and outright nutbags, but not a single one who reflects the true ministry of Christ: don't hate the poor but give freely and without question; don't judge your neighbor unless you also be judged; turn the other cheek; all that social justice nonsense that candidates who profess Christ openly hate and criticize.

Colson said, “Let’s continue instead to work to advance the Kingdom of God and pick, to the best of our ability, a candidate of competence and sound character who will preserve order and promote justice in our land.”

My question for Mr. Colson would be, what exactly does it mean to advance the Kingdom of God? Is advancing the kingdom of God what happens when American Christians exercise their civic duty to elevate a man to the position of international figurehead and spokesperson of not only the United States, but of a formerly-fringe heretical sect with dubious origins, theology, and eschatology? Is it advancing the Kingdom when countless thousands of seekers now give said sect a second look (think people in the developing world here--which the LDS movement is now spending big bucks to convert) leading to damnable conversions? Or did Jesus only die to unseat a liberal President? Come on, men.

I'm as much for the Kingdom in all of life as the next guy--but I draw the line at publicly declaring my allegiance (over and against other competent candidates) with a card-carrying member of perhaps the most deadly public relations campaign in the 21st century. High taxes and a sinking economy may be bad, but a cancerous heresy that survives by scavenging on so-called family values and rotting civil religion is far worse.

Politics is a secular preoccupation with the idea that the world can be perfected by secular laws. Christians are called to change the world one salvation at a time, not by wasting time and money on secular politics. Either the answer to the world is Jesus Christ or we are attacking windmills.

In 1986 I flew from an oppressive, explosive South Africa with its 'Christian" government to a just and peaceful Singapore with its 'non-Christian' government. This shattered forever the "Jeffress" delusion that a Christian government is better than a non-Christian one. Just as we all know that being a Christian does not guarantee a good Marriage, so being a Christian does not guarantee a good Government. It is BEHAVIOUR that counts, and non-Christians can be capable of good behaviour. Jeremiah 9:23,24 and Matthew 23:23 emphasise what God wants. Qualities of Leadership in 1 Tim 3 fall into 2 categories: Competence and Character. Colson and Bailey are spot on. This is a Leadership issue, not a Salvation issue.

Jesus Christ Himself criticized the Pharisees etc. A sweet talking person need not necessarily speak or do good. For eg. in a diplomatic session, which is pleasant to hear how much of truth is actually spoken. In the words of Jesus what does it mean "Wolves in sheep's clothing". What matters is the truth in the words spoken.

Perkins said. “The article reads Congress may not require religious tests for an office. The Constitution restricts what the government can require not what individuals can consider.”

EH? That's how Perkins would LIKE the article to read, or even remotely, to mean - but it does NOT! Sleight of hand, Perkins! What MY copy says is this:

"...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." There is absolutely NO suggestion that this requirement is of Congress; rather, it is required of EVERYONE, with respect to the Offices (Officers) of Congress.

Perkins is right about Romney, but I would rather have a Morman that has decent business sense who has leadershi qaulities and loves America, than a man without scruples, raised as a Muslin who wants this nation buried.

Aslo, when are Christians going to wake up to this hertic in the guise of Joel Osteen. By his own admission he knows little about the Bible, but will responsible for leading many to Hell right along with him.

It seems crazy to say that anyone calling themselves a Christian (and particularly declaring the most extreme fundamentalist beliefs) should be preferred automatically over other non-Christian candidates.

America is a land of diverse faiths and beliefs - that's it strength. Electors should seek a person able to unify and inspire these diverse range of people to work towards a better country and not to marginalize those of contrary beliefs.

Laughable to say the least!

Nowadays "christians" don't or can't even choose christians as wives and husbands.

Good Lord! They don't even choose christians as leaders in their "churches". Is all about Mammon and who is prince charming.

As far as the Politicians go, they usually choose whoever gives the best Lip service, to whatever the Fad-cause-value of the season.

The issue raised about "competence" is nothing more than a smokes creen. Because one has to ask what the competence is about or; competence in What?

I think that these "Conservative Christians" are a bunch of idiots! They claim to be "Jesus's personal candidate", but do the exact opposite of what Jesus taught! Of course, I wouldn't vote for any Republican or Democrat because each and every one of them is bought and paid for by the special intrests and lobbiests!!!!

I'm suspicious of anyone who says "God told them" to run for president.

This is an interesting topic. I have a few guidelines on this topic for myself- as we always judge ourselves first, if what I say is contrary to the Word then let all the shame come to me and let the Lord Jesus remain glorious:

1) Why do Christians always clamour for safety and succour? The Bible says, rejoice during times of tribulation for you have been counted worthy.

2) Since when was the voting system approved as Biblical? When Israel required a king, God appointed a man as a king. Not conduct an election in a state of democracy. Leave the clamour to the unbelievers. If it is a Nero praise God that you have been counted worthy for they did the same to the true prophets. If it is not a Nero, then if you think you are standing take heed, lest you fall.

3) We do not judge somebody's quality of faith. Yet we judge all things, in the sense of having the Word, we judge every doctrine, way, teaching, political marketing, to keep away from them if they do not align the Word and ensuring our garments are unstained and exhorting our brothers/ sisters to do the same.

4)Do not be deceived when some say, Christ is here (or the Word is here or there, like all these candidates do- The Word is in my political tent because this is my political stand on abortion/ homosexuality). For they seduce (if possible, even the elect) with promise of peace and safety. And upon such the day of the Lord will come, like a thief in the stealthiness of the night.

Well I guess my previous question about competence in what was answered by Mr. Rick Perry in the last GOP debate.

It was about... er...uh... mmm... oops... never mind I already forgot what was it about. Sorry!


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Do you concern yourself with Obama's competence when he said that the United States had 57 states? That's quite a lapse too, and there are a lot more, and thus the constant teleprompters, even when he speaks to kindergarten children.

Actually, Mr. Obama may have been very, very close to an accurate description of the entire US of A with ALL of it's Territories.

Taking into account Territories like American Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, USVI and all others, both Incorporated and Unincorporated etc, etc. Mr. Obama may have been including or thinking of the US as a whole, with the Territories included.

After all "el Presidente" is also the President of the Territories. Of all of them [Territories], 3 are Officially; Free Associated States under a Free Compact Association, namely: The Federated States of Micronesia, The Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau. Of the 50 States 4 officially describe themselves as Commonwealths: KY, PA, MA and VA.

I know this is hard to comprehend, given the current situation across the Country. Where people can't find their street in a map of their city, their city in a map of the State, the State in a map of the Country or the Country in a World Map.

So it's better to use the Teleprompter!

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Christians should vote for a candidate who is the closest to their christian positions on issues that the politician will be acting upon. In other words, don't vote for the guy who likes abortion, gay marriage, or wants to cut defense while expanding class envy-warfare. Don't vote for the people (Democrats) who have refused to pass a budget for 3 consecutive years - because they are AFRAID of what the numbers will tell them. If there is a better alternative, it doesn't matter if that alternative will win or not - vote for him/her.