Monday, November 7, 2016

Some Undercooked Thoughts on Voting Biblical Values

A few months ago I received this email from Franklin Graham stating: 
“I will be going to the capitals of all 50 states to proclaim the Gospel, rally prayer for our country, and encourage Christians to vote for candidates with biblical values.”

I began to think, what would it look like if Christians voted for candidates who espoused biblical values? What would that platform look like?

Deut. 10:18-19 - He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Who are the candidates who are advocating for care of orphans or for providing greater funds and resources for foster care? Which candidates are proposing more resources to take care of the elderly? And in light of the recent rhetoric about immigration reform and the need to place millions fleeing from war torn countries, which candidates propose providing food and clothing to the immigrants among us? Especially remembering that almost all of those currently living in the U.S. are descendants of foreigners?

Luke 4:18-19 - “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Let’s look at these biblical values to see where our candidates line up.
Which candidate’s agenda will be good news to the poor? Who are the candidates who seriously consider prison reform? Which candidate will make affordable health care a priority? Which candidate will tackle the issue of debt forgiveness?

Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

I recognize that this verse is talking about the equality of Christians and not addressing society as a whole. But what if a candidate who espoused biblical values applied this verse to their platform? Wouldn’t their agenda be represented by a serious call at racial reconciliation? Wouldn’t their vision include a call for trying to break down people’s value that is based on their economic status? Wouldn’t there be a call for recognizing the inequality of women in their work place?

James 2:1, 6, 15, 16 - “…believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism (between rich and poor)…you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? …Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed, “ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

If a candidate wants to uphold these biblical values, they will take special care of the poor, providing food and clothing while not showing favoritism to the rich.
As I scan just these few verses, I can come up with a few biblical values that I can evaluate any potential candidate. The “biblical values” candidate will stand for:
            -Taking care of the elderly, orphan, and immigrant
            -Taking care of the poor, prisoner, the sick and those bound by debt (and in                          light of the Bible’s overarching desire to see the vulnerable cared for, this should speak to care for the unborn as well.
            -Working for racial reconciliation and gender equality
            -Not basing their work on who can do the most for them (showing favoritism                         to those who may be able to fund their campaigns).

I recently looked at one “Biblical Voters’ Guide”. In spite of the words over and over again in Scripture of taking care of the poor, they did not think that that was something that should be undertaken by a government. “In short, for both biblical and statistical reasons, addressing poverty through the government should not be an election issue for Biblical voters. They should instead remain focused on keeping first things first – on keeping the four non-negotiables at the top of the list:
1.     Appointing originalist judges (preservers of the Constitution)
2.     Protecting unborn life
3.     Opposing the ennoblement of homosexuality
4.     Publicly acknowledging God and honoring Him in policy

I agree with number two above. I do find if interesting for some pro-choice candidates talk about standing with the vulnerable but not having more nuanced views on abortion. But I don’t know how 1, 3 and 4 can be seen as biblical values in a pluralistic society. Especially seeing that no writer of any of the books of the Bible would have any idea what an "originalist judge" was. 

Trying to find a candidate that truly espouses biblical values? Good luck. Instead of placing your hope in any politician or party platform, get involved with a church that is doing the things that God truly values.

No comments: