Voting Your Conscience

images.duckduckgo.com(8)Dear Homeschool Families,

Well, the presidential election is just around the corner.   Are you interested?  Some folks are, some not so much.   Either way, please take a moment to read my note to you.

 My decision to share my thoughts with you, as well as my decision to vote this year, is influenced a lot by my love and devotion to my kiddos, and my concern for their future. I believe much is at stake and I’m concerned that many Christians will throw away their vote.  Because I’m not so keen on my options, I might consider opting out. Sitting this one out. That’s what I’ve heard many of my friends suggest. But the more I think about it, I realize that’s really not an option after all. Oh, we can decide not to participate in the vote, but we can’t opt out of the game. The game is “life”, and we can’t opt out. The only thing we can hope to influence, is by whose rules we will be playing the game. So it’s important to consider what those rules will look like under each candidate.

  I know a few local pastors have discouraged Christians from voting this time, and I think that’s a shame.  I see no difference between this election or any  previous

election.  While maybe this time the media has made us more aware of the personal flaws in our candidate options, I’m pretty certain that if the same scrutiny was given in past elections, we would have found some pretty disappointing character flaws or associations in previous candidates as well.  So if these pastors are fine with voting for Reagan, (who had been a democrat, supported abortion, been divorced, etc.), this election should be no different for Christians exercising their privilege, right and responsibility to vote for our country’s leadership.

The advice to skip voting this election, reminds me of Pontius Pilate thinking that by washing his hands and not making a decision on Jesus’ guilt, he would not be considered responsible.  He could attempt to remove himself from the situation, but the truth is that he did have the ability to influence the outcome of Jesus’ fate.  Likewise, we can withhold our vote, but by doing so, we bear some responsibility in the outcome of the election and the future of our country.  As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

Here is a quote from Franklin Graham’s Facebook page that I appreciated:

“The responsibility for future generations is in our hands. How you exercise your privilege to vote and who you vote for is going to determine the type of life your children and grandchildren have. Every Christian needs to pray and to vote. The America I grew up in is quickly disappearing, but with God’s help and your prayers, things can change.”

Below are links to a few conservative voter’s guides to help you make informed decisions on many of the options on the current ballot. Usually, the presidential choice is a clear and easy one. But this year, I am aware that many are struggling with this issue. Matt Shea gives a good perspective on what the core issue is really about. I hope these links are helpful as you fill out your ballot.

voteshea.com/matts-take-on-elections/

webelievewevote.com/2016-presidential-election-voter-guide/

webelievewevote.com/2016-voter-recommendation/

It is not my intention to scold anyone. On the contrary, I have been wrestling with this election and my role in it for weeks/months. Maybe you have too. But it is my intention to challenge all of us to think carefully about what is at stake and encourage us all to vote

. And I’m hoping that we all understand that even if we don’t cast a ballot, we ARE CASTING A VOTE, by “not voting”. A withheld vote WILL HELP one candidate or the other get elected

and is a missed opportunity to elect leadership that can slow down the decline of our country

. That’s a huge responsibility weighing on us, because elections have consequences.

So, I’m going to follow Ted Cruz’s advice, when he suggested we vote our conscience. My conscience won’t let me rest knowing I had any role, even by not voting at all, in helping to get Hillary Clinton elected and there by moving our society even further away from anything that reflects Christian values as the norm. Not only do I feel I have to answer to the Lord for that, I will also have to answer to my children and grandchildren.

So  yes, I will vote for Trump.  Not because I’m impressed with him, or find him a great role model.  But because my concern regarding where the democratic party will continue to take this country is much greater than any criticism or disappointment I have regarding Trump as an individual.  We live under the rules of the political party that we allow to get elected.   Even the Bible acknowledges the importance and consequences of certain leadership.  While it may be argued that Trump individually falls short of the righteous title (as we all do, outside of the righteousness of Christ), the party and platform he will lead under our form of government champions Judeo-Christian values on many of the important issues that generally concern Christians.

   When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule,the people mourn.   Proverbs 29:2

Please allow me to humbly share my journey. I don’t have time to write a polished essay on this subject, so I will simply pour out my thoughts and share my heart.

~ I’m a Christian, and although I would be considered conservative when it comes to most political platforms, I don’t pledge allegiance to any particular political party. However, each of the political parties has a platform or agenda or direction they desire to push the country in, so I do my best to vote for the party whose agenda most closely fits or least violates my Christian worldview. And whether we like the candidates we get to choose from or not, bottom line is that one of these parties will be in power and one agenda, or the other, will be steering the ship of our country.

~ Yes, I’m disappointed with my choice of candidates. I would have preferred a candidate that personally reflects more of my Christian worldview, but I’m beyond hoping for that. Our general society has moved so far from traditional values, and even the church and professing Christians have moved so far from fundamental, traditional values in many cases, that it is highly unlikely that this country would elect a candidate who thinks wholly like a fundamental, evangelical Christian. So that is not my expectation at this point in history, and I realize I am not electing a pastor and my vote does not indicate that I condone or support the individual candidate’s personal life on all fronts.   But I am prepared to vote for whoever comes the closest to promoting Judeo-Christian values.  And with each election that Christians “take their marbles and go home”, rather than cast a vote, it becomes that much harder to move the needle back towards a Christian society.

~ Regardless of who I was cheering for during the primary election time, the bottom line now is that we have 2 choices: Clinton and Trump. One of these two people will be our next president. It might be important for us to be familiar with what direction they and their political party’s agenda and the people they appoint have pledged to take this country.

~ For those of us who have taught civics, elections or high school government to our kids, we are familiar with something that is easy to forget. We aren’t electing a king or a ruler. We are electing a person at the helm of a platform. And while that person may be a disappointment to me, at this point, that person is pledging to further a platform and the agenda that goes with it. So it is helpful to take our focus off of the person, and look more closely at the overall agenda they represent. That’s difficult to do when the individual may rub us wrong or offend us.

~ Sometimes the line is kind of blurry between the two agenda choices. But this election, the line is very clear. The agenda’s are quite opposite. And you get to choose. Here are just a few comparisons of the platform issues each candidate represents:

Pro Life – Protect unborn children by appointing Supreme Court judges that will overturn laws that put them at risk, and will take taxpayer money away from funding abortions through organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Vs.

Pro Abortion – Disregard unborn children by appointing Supreme Court judges that will uphold and protect laws that allow for up to full term abortions.

(If you watched the last debate, both candidates boldly declared what they would do to further their party’s agenda on the abortion issue.)~~~~~~~~~~

Conservative Supreme Court judge appointments – that will uphold the Constitution, according to how the American framers traditionally intended, rather than make changes or interpret laws that reflect popular culture and trends. MANY issues and freedoms are at stake. Religious, education, 2nd amendment, parental rights, traditional marriage… just to name a few.

Vs.

Liberal Supreme Court judge appointments – who believe the Constitution is a “living” document meant to adapt to the social and politically correct pressures of the day, that will interpret the Constitution to reflect the liberal, pop culture society on every moral and freedom issue. The democrat party, via the judges they appoint, boldly promises to uphold legalized abortion, implement tougher gun control laws, redefine marriage, further a socialized economy (“free” college – {by the way, not free – way higher taxes will pay for it!}, “free” healthcare – {are you kidding!!? Our health insurance doubled in Jan. due to Obamacare. Our premiums had to sky rocket to pay for the “free” healthcare they promised everyone.} And Obamacare was upheld in the Supreme Court because it was actually a legal TAX on the people.)

( Again, if you watched the debate, it was telling to hear directly from the candidates’ mouths, their intentions regarding Supreme Court judge nominations. They made no attempt to hide their plans to appoint either traditional/conservativejudges or far left/ liberal judges. And if you missed it, a conservative judge died suddenly a few months ago, and there is a current vacancy that will tip the court one direction or another. THIS ISSUE ALONE WARRANTS OUR ACTION IN VOTING. It could easily be a generation before there will be another chance to influence the Supreme Court. And there are a lot of parental, social, religious, educational, and moral freedoms that will be stomped on under a liberal court. We owe it to our children to do what we can to protect their freedom to live a life where they can enjoy the same freedoms we have enjoyed.)

~~~~~~~~

Capitalism/Free Market Economy

Vs.

Socialist Economy
(If you don’t know what socialism looks like, read Animal Farm by George Orwell. It is short and actually entertaining. But if you read it as intended, it will give you a chilling look at how socialism plays out in society. To quote, “All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.” Also, we need to ask ourselves if we are more comfortable economically these past 8 years? Jobs are scarce, wages are low, insurance premiums are sky high, food, gas, utilities etc., are higher, and taxes are increasing. It cost a lot of money to fund a socialist society and those are the policies that have been implemented these past several years, and the goal is to go even farther with it. Once again, I feel a responsibility to do my part to secure for my children a chance at a normal standard of living and economic freedom, and therefore, I am compelled to vote.)

~~~~~~~~

National Security – where secure borders are important, and legal immigrants are vetted in order to protect the safety and economy of our citizens.

Vs.

National “Insecurity” – Clinton stated that she wants completely open borders!

(When I look on a map, it is the “borders” that define a country. Without borders, we have no country.)~~~~~~~

Pro Israel

Vs.
Anti-Israel~~~~~~

Conservative/patriotic associations

Vs.

Liberal/communist associations ~~~~~

Both of the candidates have questionable moral issues in their past (although, don’t we all?), both are often childish or rude (but that seems to be the current political norm). But I think our focus must be on the national and long term issues at stake. For our children’s sake.

These are just a few of the topics that will have long lasting consequences for our families. I am no political expert. I realize that both political parties are filled with elitists and they are not that concerned about who wins elections because they benefit either way. It is you and me and our children that will be affected in so many ways.  And so I ask that each of us pray and consider what is at stake, and please exercise your privilege to vote, as well as encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Below are a couple of links to two pastors and their thoughts on this election. If you are undecided or considering not voting, please take a moment to watch.

Franklin Graham – www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTX1oyJanXY

Franklin Graham on Christianity Today –www.christiantoday.com/article/franklin.graham.on.why.christian.voters.cannot.be.silent.the.church.needs.to.take.a.stand.for.gods.truth/98926.htm  

Reverend Robert Jeffress

   www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7_ArxNcZ7c

And finally, I’ve also included below the thoughts of a local Pastor, Ken Ortiz, from Calvary Spokane.

A NOTE FROM PASTOR KEN

Most agree that the upcoming Presidential election will be the most important in our lifetime. It also has become the ugliest. One would hope that at such a critical juncture, the choice would be better. However, both candidates have more baggage than Delta Airlines. At a time when our nation and the world have become intensely heated, it is not the gold that has risen to the surface, but the dross.

For this reason, many have decided not to vote, or to vote for a candidate that has no chance of winning. Throwing away your vote is neither wise nor noble. As our 13th President, Calvin Coolidge explained, “If the people fail to vote, a government will be developed which is not their government… Unless citizens perform their duty, such a system of government is doomed to failure.” Yet today half of all Christians are not registered, and only half of those who are, do.

The simple fact is that one of these two will be elected as our next President. Whichever one wins, will not only be our President for the next four years, but most likely the next eight. All we need to do is look at the last eight years to realize how dramatic the effect can be. Are you better off then you were eight years ago?

To be honest, I am not sure that anyone can reverse the direction our country is headed. Greed, corruption and immoral behavior have become legalized, normalized and institutionalized. As the Lord told Jeremiah, “Can…a leopard change his spots…can those who are accustomed to do evil, do good?” (Jeremiah 13:23)

Regardless of how disappointing the two candidates are, the party platforms they represent are diametrically opposite. They represent two vastly different agendas. If you have followed the election at all, you know they differ on the economy, the military, international affairs and globalism. But they also differ on issues that are of special concern to Christians:

Marriage: Democrats support same-sex marriage. Republicans “condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling” and “urge its reversal” by court ruling or constitutional amendment.

Abortion: Democrats will fight laws and policies that impede abortion; even partial-birth abortion. Republicans have presented the most pro-life platform in the history of the Party.

Courts: Democrats “see the Constitution as a living document, open to new interpretations.” Republicans “support the appointment of judges who respect and rule by the Constitution; respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.” The next President will appoint the next Supreme Court justice, determining the direction of the courts for at least the next decade.

Religion: Democrats support “a progressive vision of religious freedom,” criminalizing conscience and prosecuting those who take moral stands based upon the Bible. Republicans want to “bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

Education: Democrats “will fight” to “improve school climates” and advance the gay and transgender agenda. The schools are a place to change society rather than educate children. Republicans call out the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom edict; denounce the liberal social agenda “determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions.”

It has been said that we get the government we deserve. Maybe so. But what is also true in the U.S,, we get the government we choose. Vote on November 8th.

Blessings and God Bless America!

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