Friday, January 27, 2012

Some Guidelines for this Election Season

The following are some thoughts I shared in the latest edition of our monthly senior adult newsletter.

Well, just in case you’ve been totally isolated from a television in recent weeks, I thought I’d clue you in that we’re in the midst of an election year.  It seems it’s possible lately to watch a lively debate among presidential hopefuls at least a couple of times a week if one is so inclined.  And that’s before the GOP has even selected its party’s candidate and the real political fireworks begin.  It seems we’re in for a long season of negative attack ads and impassioned rhetoric.

So where does all of this leave us as followers of Christ?  At the risk of being shot at by both sides, let me offer a few guidelines and suggestions. 

1.      Be informed.  That doesn’t mean you have to watch every single minute of political coverage, but learn about the candidates and their platforms in order to vote intelligently.
2.      Vote your conscience.  As much as possible, let your vote reflect support for the individual you feel best embodies sound principles and character.
3.      Recognize that there are no perfect people—including (or maybe especially) politicians.
4.      Acknowledge that God isn’t the exclusive possession or supporter of either major party.  This one may be the trickiest and most difficult, as we tend to assume that God is on our side.
5.      Recognize that other sincere Christians can differ with your political persuasion without being heretics or insane.  This is a logical corollary of the previous guideline.
6.      Leave your penchant for political debate at home when you come to church.  We gather to worship the God of all creation—not a political messiah. 
7.      Pray earnestly for all those elected to serve in the political arena.  That’s a biblical command.

Baptists have been in the forefront historically of the fight to ensure separation of church and state, and we do well to remember that as the political fever rises this year.  Let’s keep our focus on lifting up the Lord and exalting Him rather than the political party of our choice.

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