Friday, August 17, 2012
DOES OUR CHRISTIANITY BY DEFAULT TELL US WHO TO VOTE FOR?
The home stretch for the election season is almost here. The Democrats and Republicans are set for their national conventions. Speakers will promote the virtues of their party and their party’s nominee for President of these United States. Even in the last few days and hours, political news has jumped us into speculations. Mitt Romney chooses Paul Ryan as veep candidate. Top Obama aids approach Hillary Clinton with the offer of replacing Joe Biden on the Democrat ticket. Ryan accepted. Clinton declined. AS we engage in political discussions or serve in political activities ourselves, where does our Christian faith play a role? I saw several Facebook posts today on both sides of the spectrum. They claim that being a Christian by default means we will vote for one particular candidate over another. Our Lutheran Confessions and, indeed, Holy Scripture paints a completely different picture. The Augsburg Confession says this about governing authorities: “It is taught among us that all government in the world and all established rule and laws were instituted and ordained by God for the sake of good order, and that Christians may without sin occupy civil offices or serve as princes and judges, render decisions and pass judgments according to imperial and other existing laws, punish evildoers with the sword, engage in just wars, serve as soldiers, buy and sell, take required oaths, possess property, be married, etc…. “True perfection consists alone in proper fear of God and real faith in God, for the Gospel does not teach an outward and temporal but an inward and eternal mode of existence and righteousness of the heart. The Gospel does not overthrow civil authority, the state, and marriage but requires that all these be kept as true orders of God and that each according to his own calling, manifest Christian love and genuine good works in his station of life.” (THE BOOK OF CONCORD, Tapper ted., 37-38, AC XVI, 1-2, 4-5) Rom. 13 explains the basic role of government. In our representative democracy, we place people into the roles of President, Senators, Representatives, Governors, etc. by voting. So, when we go to the ballot box, campaign for a candidate, or accept a job with any level of government, we bring our God-given conscience with us replete with God’s Law in our hearts and minds (Rom. 2:15) and His forgiveness on our lips. (Matt. 6:14-15) We Christian have the freedom and joy (Gal. 5:1, 13, 22-25) to stand on those gifts of life, freedom, general welfare, and a competent defense that our Lord gives us. Yes, our Lord does work through citizens to fight on behalf of their country for just causes. At the same time, when we citizens, each or in groups, see elected officials infringing on the free expression and practice of our faith, we have reason to oppose such actions. (Acts 5:29) Government has no business telling private agencies, for example, that they must offer medical coverage for abortifacients or drugs which will speed along the end of someone’s life. Many conservative Christian church bodies, including the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention opposed the HHS mandate that the Obama administration wished to impose—demanding all companies to offer coverage of contraceptives in their insurance plans. AS we approach November 6, we do well to know our Christian convictions grounded in Holy Scripture so that, according them, we cast our vote. After all, our Lord graciously gives us in His inerrant Word everything sufficient for our salvation through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Therein, He guides us in our daily vocations to interpret the people around us, the events in which He places us, and the circumstances through which He guides us. IN voting, in court testimony, or as recipients of persecution, we tell of our Lord’s deeds before all rulers and authorities. (Matt. 10:20, Ps. 119:46) May our Lord direct our days and our deeds in His peace as we consider the direction our nation goes in the next few years.