It’s no secret that American Christians are conflicted about this election. What should we do when faced with two candidates who fall so radically short of basic decency, honesty and integrity?
To begin with, we need to remember that decisions about voting are a matter of prudence and wisdom. Biblical truths and principles must be brought to bear, but when we’re dealing with applying convictions in our 21st-century context, we’re making decisions upon which Christians can (and will) disagree. We may disagree strongly; we may try to persuade and exhort others to see things our way, but there is no “Thus sayeth the Lord” about what action to take this November. (For a fuller perspective, see the helpful article “How Should a Christian Vote?”)
But if voting is a matter of prudence and wisdom, we need to have as clear a view of our times as we can. To that end, here are a few observations about the choice we are facing in our present moment.
Recognize God’s Judgment
If you listen to Christians who support the Republican candidate, they’ll argue that the Democrat’s election would push this country over the cliff. She’ll undoubtedly appoint liberal activists to the Supreme Court who will further erode our rights and freedoms. Religious liberty will be curtailed, and more unborn children will die as abortion is further enshrined in our national culture.
Christian supporters of the Democratic candidate feel the same, in the other direction. If he is elected, they argue, then we’re giving control of our nuclear codes to a man with the self-control of a five-year-old. More than that, we’re treating his race-baiting, demagoguery and treatment of women lightly; we may disapprove of them, but we’re still willing to overlook them and put him in office. In both cases, supporters of one candidate see the election of the other as pushing us over the cliff, as taking us past the point of no return.
But what if we find ourselves in agreement with both sides? The election of either candidate represents a colossal failure on the part of this nation. We could go so far as to say that the election of either one of them is evidence of God’s judgment on America. But that’s not the whole story.
The reality is that the fact that we’re faced with this horrible choice is divine judgment. It’s as though God is saying to us, as he did to the ancient Israelites in the book of Amos, “I sent you two grossly unfit candidates, and still you would not return to me. I sent vileness from one party and corruption from the other, and still you would not return to me” (see, for example, Amos 4:6–11).