Friday, September 05, 2008

Voting for the President

A reader on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog sent in a letter asking about the upcoming election. He admitted he was torn on who to vote for. Among other things, he says:

Does placing “no confidence in redemption by way of politics” justify a least-of-two-evils vote in November? Does voting for a candidate who I know will support immoral policies not implicate me with those policies? Would it be better to conscientiously abstain from voting? Or is that simply a moralistic cop-out? Should I perhaps consider voting for one of the “protest candidates” like Ron Paul, who I know won’t win but still allows me to do my “duty” to vote?

Scot responded saying a number of things. Here is a taste.

On November 4 I will vote; in the evening Kris and I will watch the TV as it enters into the lather of not only reporting news but making the news.

More importantly, on November 5 I will get up and go about my business no matter who gets elected. There will be people who need to hear about Jesus; there will be people who are suffering from systemic injustices; there will be people abusing power; there will be good reasons to drink coffee and eat lunch with colleagues and prepare dinner and go for a walk with Kris before supper. Changing Presidents will not end those needs and those problems and those parts of my life. So, my task as a Christian is to follow Jesus by loving God and loving others as well as I can. Changing Presidents won’t change that one bit. I don’t see that either candidate has the intent of depriving us of these things.

He goes on to say:

Now one more way of saying this: my eschatology, or my hope, is not in who will be the next President. I hope in the power of the gospel that flows from God’s good graces toward us humans. I hope in the God who designs that gospel; I hope in the Christ who embodies that gospel; and I hope in the Spirit who empowers that gospel. And I hope also in the Church whose task it is daily to live out the gospel and draw all into its saving graces. I don’t hope in the next President. I think that is idolatrous. In fact, hoping in the next President is the first step toward idolizing empire.

So my friend, I approach this election as a Christian who finds it important, significant, and incredibly fascinating, but who also finds it not as important as the task Jesus has given to us as his followers.

I think he makes some good points. I think voting is good, and I plan too. But may we remember that our hope does not lie in whomever gets elected on November 4th. The reason this is important is because many in our nation pretend that the future of our civilization depends on this election (as they do for all elections). May we strike a good balance of seeing voting as a good right, but not as our hope for the future.


Chip Burkitt said...

I think Obama and McCain are approaching one another asymptotically. You can hardly tell them apart now that both claim to be the change agent. See my blog at Ordering Chaos.

But your post is much nicer and more positive.

Chip Burkitt said...

Sorry, should be

Nick said...

Thanks Chip.

First, you didn't tell me you switched blogs again.

Second, you re totally plagiarizing my blog title.

Chip Burkitt said...

I didn't plagiarize. It was parallel thinking.

Nick said...

You say "tom-a-to", I say "tom-ah-to"