Thursday, November 01, 2012

God Knows Your Vote!

Sometimes the choice seems so clear.

"God and a religious president, or _____ and no God!"

"We must prevent the election of ____. If he is elected president, you will not be allowed to have or read a Bible!"

This candidate has broken every one of the 10 Commandments, but to go into detail "would be too shocking, too disgusting to appear in print."

And if you needed any extra motivation, if you vote for the wrong candidate you "will go to hell".

None of these scare tactics are new. The first quote was used against Thomas Jefferson by John Adams in the third ever presidential election. The second was against Alfred Smith who was running against Herbert Hoover. What makes this quote even more remarkable by today's standards was that it was in a newsletter sent home from school by a local school board. Take that, separation of church and state! The third quote is hilarious in that James Polk didn't have to prove his allegations against Henry Clay because they were just... too...disturbing!

And you might not recognize the last one because it is so new. This is a reactionary headline to an advocacy ad put out by Mike Huckabee yesterday against President Obama. Never mind that Huckabee never uses those exact words, the headline is enough to get your attention.

Using religion as a tool to manipulate campaigns is nothing new. We expect candidates to sling mud. What is concerning to me however, is when sincere Christians use their faith to defend their unique political positions.

What do you think of this picture? Do you want to cheer, or do you scratch your head trying to figure out what the scripture has to do with gun control? Or how about my favorite prayer from Billy Graham:

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'One nation under God.'
And even though someone just the other day posted this on Facebook as if these words were uttered recently, this is not a new prayer. Not only that, but neither Billy Graham or Paul Harvey had anything to do with it. This was a variation of prayer by Bob Russell in 1995 at the Kentucky Governor's Prayer Breakfast and recited by Joe Wright as the opening prayer of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1996. Sadly, neither Russell or Wright are big enough names to start an email chain or to get quoted on Facebook, so we end up with the version we see here. What really gets under my skin though, is that somewhere along the line someone claiming to be Christian chose to lie in order to advance an agenda.

If we are to believe the statistics that roughly 80% of Americans claim the label "christian" and political polls show the country to be pretty evenly divided over the presidential candidates, then chances are that you and I aren't likely to agree on politics even though we agree that Jesus is Lord. Does that mean I hate you or that you are going to hell because of how you vote? To suggest such a thing is abusing the faith that should be uniting us. Besides, if electing an alleged atheist 212 years ago didn't force closed the doors of every church in America, then the results of this election are unlikely to affect my citizenship in the only Kingdom that matters. The only thing I know for sure, is that come Wednesday half of us are going to be upset.

"Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." (2 Timothy 2:23)

"You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow [Romney],” and another, “I follow [Obama],” are you not mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3-4)

"Welcome all the Lord’s followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don’t criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours " (Romans 14:1, CEV)

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