It’s So Simple – Or Not
Yesterday in church we all received an insert in our order of service bulletin entitled “Voting Your Values” with the subtitle “How You Vote Today Impacts Tomorrow.” My first thought was “Doesn’t everyone vote their values?” Don’t we all pick candidates we feel are representatives who will speak accurately for us? But the title inspired me to read the extensive pamphlet. Inside I found this charming quote:
“Imagine the impact Christians could have on the direction of our government, the character of its leadership and the moral health of our nation if we simply applied biblical principles to every aspect of our lives, including our participation in the democratic process.” (I’ve put the whole quote in italics but the bold faced words come from the original.)
My first thought was “Wow, these guys seem to be post-millennialists!” They seem to feel that we can usher in the thousand year reign of peace, harmony and righteousness by “simply” applying biblical principles when we vote.
This was followed by the hint of warning I felt when I zeroed in on the word “simply” in the quote above. They couldn’t be saying that understanding and applying the complex teachings of the Bible on moral and ethical issues can be “simply” read into today’s culture could they? Giving them the benefit of the doubt I assumed that perhaps they meant that the process of voting was simple. With that assumption in mind I began to look for help in their hand-out in defining those biblical principles for us.
Were they going to tell us to vote for people who would stand up for the oppressed and the disenfranchised? Nope. That wasn’t there.
How about people who would succor and care for the poor and disadvantaged? Nope, that does not seem to be important either.
OK, then what about people who are peacemakers? Should we vote for those who champion turning the other cheek and going the second mile? Nope, that doesn’t seem to be required either.
Uhhhh, what about people who are good stewards of the world that God has given us; who care for environmental resources? Nope , no need to worry about that.
In fact the only biblical principles that seemed to matter to these folks were “the value of human life, the definition of marriage, and the freedom to express our faith in public.” End of story. To be fair I went to their website but didn’t find any other biblical principles there either. I did find a way for me to sign up for their cause but no discussion as to what values are truly biblical. Sigh. While I am sure they don’t want it, I’ve got some advice for the writers of this piece.
- Don’t treat the rest of us as stupid. Don’t tell us that understanding biblical principles is simple when we all know that theologians have been wrestling with this for centuries.
- Don’t pick and choose a few that you like and expect we will follow like lemmings. I’m cool with you championing the things that are important to you but don’t pretend that your choices are all there is to biblical principles.
- If you want your point of view to appeal to more than a small section of middle class suburban whites use some pictures in your illustrations of people other than middle class suburban whites. I’m pretty sure that Jesus was concerned about every tribe and nation and you might want to show that you are too.
Having said that, I agree we should vote our values. Just don’t let somebody else tell you what those values need to be; don’t let someone else choose them for you.