Thank you Great State of Indiana for early voting. Anyone who knows me very long has learned I don't do lines. Waiting in line to vote this year was not something I was going to be up to, and voting early sure makes it easier.
This is the 10th Presidential election in which I have voted -- and I think 10 out of possible eleven is a good enough score (my apologies to President Bush and Senator Kerry last time around). If you're wondering, my first election was Johnson v. Goldwater. Apparently Goldwater was a conservative, although I hadn't heard of the term at the time. There was no particular issue back then as to whom "courted" the Christian's vote, everybody did. Every candidate for any office at very least made a public demonstration of attending church.
To the best of my recollection the Christian vote was not a particular issue until Jimmy Carter made it one. Now, of course, it's not called the Christian vote, but the "Conservative" vote (if you're being polite). Sometimes, being slightly less polite, it is the "right wing" vote; or, most demonstratively, the "extreme right wing" vote. Whatever you call it, apparently everyone running for office still wants it -- even though making a public proclamation of religions faith is no long a prerequisite for seeking the "Christian" vote.
It seems to me that a Christian, approaching any election as a Christian, has bound themselves by certain considerations.
For one, there is probably no candidate who believes exactly the same as me. What should I do, make a checklist of my personal doctrinal absolutes to which a candidate must adhere to get my vote? Best guess is there aren't three people in my own church who would pass such a litmus test.
And, there really is no absolute way of knowing "God's will." I'll concede God still speaks to man today. However, the written record indicates He speaks only to a few, not very often, and rarely about politics. The very best we can do is judge the candidate by whether we ourselves believe he or she will best do the work of the Lord. President Kennedy summed it up this way: "With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."
Finally, bringing the most difficulty, the Christian voter is obligated to pray for and believe God has brought into office even the "wrong" person. This does not require agreement on all things, nor does it impose limitation on disagreements. It is only that a Christian voter, as a Christian, must continue to seek God that the poor, misguided elected official will come to see the "right."
This is not the place to say for whom I voted this time around. It is not for me to place the Brazil Times in any position which would make it appear to prefer one candidate over the other. More importantly, it is not for me to say -- writing as a Christian -- for whom you should vote. I certainly do not want to seem to speaking for God. But whoever wins will most certainly need our prayers -- especially if God doesn't get to the polls on time and early voters put the other guy in.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.