With apologies to Shakespeare, that is not the question.
To say this is the most unusual presidential election in U.S. history is a colossal understatement. We have never seen what we are seeing. Nor have we ever heard anything remotely close to what we are hearing. On a daily basis, in far too many places, social media has turned into verbal UFC cage fighting. Someone posts what they believe and almost immediately others jump in to try to take them down. Followed by friends, even strangers weighing in to help both sides. It’s become a mess.
The media hasn’t helped with 24-hour news cycles saturated with the latest salacious allegations of emails or females, charges of corruption, countercharges, personal and political attacks and counterattacks. It’s become a mudfest of mammoth proportions.
“If you think that the presidential election is driving you nuts, you’re right,” Harry Smith said on Monday’s NBC Nightly News. That’s kind of a glib way to put it, but the American Psychological Association reported last week that according to a new survey on stress in America, 52 percent of U.S. adults say the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The APA dubbed this phenomenon ‘Election Stress Disorder.’ The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, found that the stress is bipartisan, affecting 55 percent of registered Democrats and 59 percent of registered Republicans. Stress levels have almost certainly risen since the survey was completed.” 1
The result primarily (and from the primaries) has been two-fold: polarization or isolation. People either hunker down to previously held beliefs or wash their hands of the entire election process and try to walk away.
As a sidenote: David didn’t walk away from Goliath or sit on the mountainside saying, “Well, God’s purposes will prevail anyway.” Instead, here’s what he said to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45). The Bible tells us David “ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine” (vs. 48). He headed down into the valley and beheaded the giant.
With that said, and knowing I’m walking out onto thin ice (even in October), I want to address the most important question of this season, “How should Christians respond?”
George Barna, in his The State of the Church 2016 report (September 15, 2016), said: “Debates continue to rage over whether the United States is a ‘Christian’ nation. Some believe the Constitution gives special treatment or preference to Christianity, but others make their claims based on sheer numbers – and they have a point: Most people in this country identify as Christian. Almost three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they are a Christian, while only one-fifth (20%) claim no faith at all (that includes atheists and agnostics). A fraction (6%) identify with faiths like Islam, Buddhism, Judaism or Hinduism, and 1 percent are unsure. Not only do most Americans identify as Christian, but a similar percentage (73%) also agree that religious faith is very important in their life (52% strongly agree + 21% somewhat agree).” 2
“We need to look beyond the personalities and parties and look to the platforms.”
Here’s my question: With that many people in our nation identifying as Christians, how in the world did we ever get in this mess in the first place? And, if there are that many people claiming to be Christians, should this really be that hard to solve?
If 73% of Americans claim to be followers of JESUS and the Bible is our standard for faith and practice, we shouldn’t even be having this discussion. But we are.
So what should we do? I have never endorsed a candidate and do not intend to do so now. I have no hope in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. My only hope is in the Lord, JESUS CHRIST. Period. But, I also have a responsibility and the privilege to vote.
The Bible says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1). Jesus said, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Whether or not you want to vote, you need to remember there are millions of people all around the world who would love to have the privilege of voting. But they are denied that privilege.
As followers of JESUS CHRIST, we should pray and we should vote. The Bible says, “First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
We may despise one or all of the candidates. But none of us will be able to ignore the consequences. We need to look beyond the personalities and parties and look to the platforms they support, endorse and plan to implement if they are elected.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has put together a detailed comparison of the two major political parties here in America. It’s called Democratic and Republican Party Platforms: Where They Stand on the Issues. You should check them out and then prayerfully and carefully decide how you will vote.
I won’t tell you WHO I’m voting for, but I will tell you WHAT I’m voting for:
- The sanctity of life
- Religious liberty/protecting our religious freedoms
- Pro-life judges for the Supreme Court
- Defense of our nation and our national interests from terrorists
- Traditional marriage of one man for one woman for one lifetime
- Support for the nation of Israel
Early voting begins Monday.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.