If you are like me, then you have spent much of your life as a voter voting for the “lesser of evils”. This has seemed the “practical” thing to do, given that either a Republican or Democrat would in all likelihood win the election. But as I have reflected upon my past course, I am coming to realize it was neither practical nor right. Let me first briefly explain why it was not right, and then why it was not practical.
One’s vote is an act of consent or support. Of course, it does not mean one necessarily agrees with all that one is voting for, but it at least means one agrees and consents in the main. Those who vote for a person or act cannot wash their hands of what that person or act does, especially if it could reasonably be anticipated. Someone certainly must be responsible for that which is elected, and surely it is the voters. But to consent with what is basically evil by one’s vote, is immoral, for consent of wickedness is sinful too (Romans 1:32).
But not only is it not right, it is not practical either. If we are ever going to elect that which is right, then it means each voter has to cast his vote for what is right. If people simply follow the allegedly “practical” course of voting for the “lesser of evils”, then we are destined never to elect that which is right. Each of us must do that which is right, and trust that God in His good time will bless it in such a way as that the right will prevail. Since our God is sovereign, we can know such a course will succeed in the long term, even if it seems to fail in the short term. But even when it seems to fail in the short term, it stands as a testimony to others of what they ought to do. God may well smite their consciences, such that in the future the few become the many.
Of course, one can imagine many of the objections to such a course. One objection is that since all men sin, then every vote comes down to a vote for the “lesser of evils”. In other words, it claims that it is essentially impossible to vote for that which is good and right, especially when the vote concerns a human. This is really more of an excuse than an objection, because its logic so obviously contradicts scripture. In scripture, we read of many examples of good rulers (Joshua, David, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, etc.), as well as many examples of evil rulers (Saul, Jereboam, Ahab, etc.) Now all of the good rulers surely sinned, but this did not take away God’s evaluation that they were good rulers. They were good rulers in Jesus Christ. They were good through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to their account, and they did good because the Spirit of Christ sanctified their actions. Voting for a good candidate is not impossible, for scripture tells us there can be good rulers.
Another objection points out the case of the many godly men who served in wicked civil administrations in the Bible (like Daniel serving Nebuchadnezzar), and suggests that their example justifies our voting for an evil candidate (albeit a “lesser of evils”). But this objection fails to identify the distinction between submitting to and serving the rulers that be (such as commanded in Romans 13), versus voting for the wicked person. The former is commanded in scripture, but the latter is never condoned.
Another objection insists that the “lesser of evils” can stop some particular sin of society, like abortion, whereas voting for someone who will not win does little good. This objection fails to fully understand what is taught in Romans 1 and other places in scripture. There we read how God gives up false religionists in judgment to many sins of the second table of the Ten Commandments. And throughout scripture we find that all rulers defined as good rulers were one’s marked by first upholding true religion and true worship, as well as defending the second table of the law. Now if we ever hope really to curtail the sins of the second table of the Ten Commandments, we must have true religion and true religionist leaders. There is no shortcut that avoids true religion and true worship, yet lands men into a society where men are just with other men.
Of course, all of this leads us to ask what is the true religion. Simply stated, true religion is those Biblical doctrines which are summarized in the historic reformed Protestant confessions like the Westminster Standards. They include doctrines such as the Trinity, original sin, the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, justification through faith alone, predestination, the abiding authority of the Ten Commandments for every man and institution of man, the regulative principle of worship, etc. Those who truly love Jesus Christ and are true religionists, will seek to believe and walk consistent with sound Biblical doctrines.
Finally, it may be objected that such a true religionist cannot win the popular vote in American politics, so we must support a religious compromiser, in order to “win” elections. This objection gets to the real heart of the matter. American Christians are voting for religious compromisers either because they are religious compromisers themselves (and cannot distinguish true from false religion), or on pragmatic grounds divorced from scriptural principles. The objection betrays an end-justifies-the-means philosophy on the part of many Christians.
Now let’s apply what we have thus far stated in this article to the current political situation in America. There the leading political candidates are George W. Bush and John Kerry. One of these two men will win the coming US election (at least insofar as humans can reasonably ascertain). Lesser candidates include such men as Ralph Nader, Michael Peroutka, etc. Based upon information that is publicly available, do we have reason to believe that any of these candidates are true religionists who will seek to uphold both tables of the Ten Commandments? And do they represent political parties dedicated to true religion?
With respect to George W. Bush, he has shown himself to be an unrepentant false religionist. He calls Islam a religion of peace. He calls the Pope ‘His Holiness’. He worships at Shinto shrines and has participated in numerous ecumenical services with other false religionists. He has appointed numerous sodomites to high political positions. He refuses to call for an immediate ban on abortion. He refuses to call for an immediate cessation of the teaching of the lie of evolution in our public schools. He refused to help when a state court sought to recognize the Ten Commandments as the basis for all moral law. He is a Sabbath desecrator, who has shown no evidence of defending the sanctity of the Christian Sabbath. He has a humanistic view of ‘liberation’ and ‘freedom’, demonstrated by his statements and actions concerning Iraq. There is no sound reason to believe he adheres to the doctrines of grace or the regulative principle of worship. He has written a letter to the sodomite Metropolitan Churches indicating what a blessing he thinks they have been to the country.
The following excerpt from an article in the New York Times is illustrative (see http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/politics/campaign/26gay.html ):
“Bush Says His Party Is Wrong to Oppose Gay Civil Unions
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: October 26, 2004
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 - President Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states.
Mr. Bush has previously said that states should be permitted to allow same-sex unions, even though White House officials have said he would not have endorsed such unions as governor of Texas. But Mr. Bush has never before made a point of so publicly disagreeing with his party's official position on the issue.
In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC, Mr. Bush said, "I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday.
According to an ABC transcript, Mr. Gibson then noted to Mr. Bush that the Republican Party platform opposed civil unions.
"Well, I don't," Mr. Bush replied.
He added: "I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others."
Mr. Gibson then asked, "So the Republican platform on that point, as far as you're concerned, is wrong?"
"Right," Mr. Bush replied…”
With respect to John Kerry, everything bad that was said about George W. Bush could similarly be said about him. In addition, he is an unrepentant Romanist and adulterer. His record on abortion is horrible. It includes the following (see http://www.issues2000.org/2004/John_Kerry_Abortion.htm ):
Kerry staunchly resists restrictions on abortions. (Apr 2004)
Partial-birth abortion ban undermine women's right to choose. (Nov 2003)
No criminalization of a woman's right to choose. (Jun 2003)
Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
Voted NO on disallowing overseas military abortions. (May 1999)
Expand embryonic stem cell research. (Jun 2004)
While Kerry has earned a Zero-percent rating from the National Right To Life Committee, his National Abortion And Reproductive Rights League rating is consistently 100 percent, year after year. And Kerry's stated view on "civil unions" (which is in many respects tantamount to sodomite marriage):
Q: What can you do to help make sure that gays and lesbians have an opportunity to build and love their families?
A: I have always fought for the right of people to be able to be treated equally in America. Long before there was a television show or a march in Washington. In 1985, I was the sole sponsor of the Civil Rights Act to make sure we enforced that in America. I am for partnership rights. I am for civil union. I am for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I am for the hate crimes legislation Source: CNN "Rock The Vote" Democratic Debate Nov 5, 2003
Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are premised upon the position that government policy can be framed without a foundational reliance upon the word of God, the Bible. But such a premise contradicts the doctrine of total depravity, which asserts that men after the Fall need scripture in order to understand how to govern themselves and others. Given its spiritual corruption, no longer can the human conscience be trusted to steer men in the moral course. So supporting these political parties is an implicit denial of the Calvinistic doctrines of grace (sometimes referred to as ‘the Five Points of Calvinism’).
The most plausible of candidates is probably Michael Peroutka, representing the Constitution Party. But a close examination of the candidate and his party gives one faint hope that he would be a good ruler, as scripture defines a good ruler. The Constitution Party is an amalgamation of people from various religious sects, including false sects like the Romish Church. It is in no way explicitly Protestant, as evidenced by the very fact that on its website there is a prominent picture of Michael Peroutka shaking hands with Romanist Patrick Buchanan. This is not a party building its foundation upon true religion, but rather an alliance of true and false religions. While it is commendable that the Constitution Party seeks an amendment to the Constitution which would state the nation is explicitly Christian, the lack of definition given to that term renders it almost meaningless. It would seem to leave intact the basic flaws of the US Constitution outlined in the article “An Examination of the US Constitution and Christian Liberty Academy” . It is hard to imagine how such a party, if holding political office, would suppress heresy, idolatry, Sabbath desecration and the like. And so the root problem of the USA would really not be solved, and God’s judgment would still abide. The candidate Michael Peroutka is a member of what appears to be an Arminian church, having grown up Romanist and attended a Jesuit school. It is hard to understand why he left the Romanist Church, and how many false Romish doctrines he really has repudiated. He is a member of the League of the South, which appears to be one reason the head of the League of the South (Michael Hill) is supporting his candidacy. The League of the South seeks secession of the southern states from the USA, which would most surely mean civil war if such a course were seriously pursued. Such a starting position seems unnecessarily provocative, before peaceful means are tried to obtain sound Christian government. Furthermore, the League of the South, like the Constitution Party, is an alliance of true and false religions. Its foundation is not true religion. So for these and other reasons, we must even object to Michael Peroutka and the Constitution Party.
So should we throw our hands in the air and give up? I think not. It is the duty of those who adhere to the Biblical doctrines summarized in the Westminster Standards to support a political party which can present a real long term alternative and a Biblical solution. That is the goal of the Reformation Party .
But those professing Christians that follow a different course should at least be aware of the spiritual hazards. Those who we make our political bedfellows over time become our religious bedfellows. If we justify our vote for President Bush or Senator Kerry or Michael Peroutka by arguing that one of these men are “sound Christians” , then we are thereby defining “sound Christianity” in such a way as to accept their general moral and doctrinal positions. If we follow the adulterer Rush Limbaugh or the Romanist Alan Keyes for their politics, we should not imagine there are no religious implications. While there are many factors that have been at work in the decline of Biblical Protestantism in the United States, strange political coalitions with false religionists are surely one such factor. “Politics makes strange bedfellows” is a peril to Biblical Protestantism.