Discussing
A Christian Call to Vote Third Party

Matt Arildsen

Matt Arildsen
October 3, 2016

Voting for Clinton or Trump is to claim that Christ values short-run political power over protection of the unborn.

Nancy Behm
October 3, 2016

When I think of pro-life, I think of pro LIFE - in all of the senses. The having of a life, the quality of that life, and the length of that life. If only a single political party could find a way to care for all 3 instead of just one.

This election cycle, God has been continually reminding me that HE is the one in charge, regardless who sits in the Oval Office, or a Senate seat, and to not trust in the political powers to bring about reconciliation and restoration to creation. However, he WILL use any and all things under his domain to bring about good and usher in his kingdom. Praise God!

That hasn't changed the level of engagement on my end, but it does change the way I see things and the way I pray about these things. And, although God absolutely cares for the unborn child - he also cares about the family that is homeless, starving, the prisoner, the enslaved, the widow, born children. (See Luke 4:18-19) And, absolutely, Jesus was a pacifist. When did he ever endorse war and violence? "those who live by the sword, die by the sword?"

So, when I think about which party will receive my vote, I think about the one that is pro LIFE in as many categories as possible, and will impact as many people as possible. For me, this the most frustrating part of the Evangelical Church and their political involvement -- being pro-life only in regards to abortion, and very little beyond the birth of the child.

Jerry
October 3, 2016

The whole premise of "lesser of two evils" is flawed. The vote should be for the best of the two. Yes, I said two. At this current political state we are a two party system. A third party is not going to win. And if a Christian votes for a third party that is helping the worst of the two win the election. That vote should have gone to the stronger of the two candidates. Christians need to stop being short sighted. We are to be kingdom minded. The kingdom is down the floras and so is the future of this country. The liberals didn't take it overnight. And it will take years to regain it. That is why the Supreme Court should be the center of the Christians vision. A president no matter how weak is in office a short time in comparison to a Supreme Court justice. The president gets to appoint those justices. Pick the best person to win. That is your clear conscious. And teach your children to improve on that decision. You are not voting for the pastor of your church. It will most likely be a flawed sinner as we all are. A politician will have many flaws exposed. Nature of the game. So cast your first stone, er, vote for the best person and look to God to lead and use them as well as the. Ext person, who should be better. You give your vote away to that person who will not win then don't complaine about what the person does.

Alicia
October 3, 2016

Anyway you look at it "the lesser of two evils" is still going to be evil, be flawed. However, none of us could do any better. We (including the candidates) have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory.
Be with us Lord as we cast our votes come this November. You know? America was a feared nation when we kept God in our decisions. Very slowly this country is no longer feared or great. Why? Because we have become complacent and easily tossed here and there by Satan's craftiness.
No one person can make America great again. It's up to us to turn from our wicked ways, repent, and seek His face. That is what America was. We need to get back to the basics once again.

Victoria Schwartz
October 3, 2016

After years of voting for the lesser of two evils and seeing our country go into further and further moral and cultural decline, I have decided to vote 3rd party this time. I am voting for the American Solidarity Party because their political platform, across the board, is based on Christian teaching. The American Solidarity Party stands for the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, responsibility for the environment, and hopes for the possibility of a peaceful world. Prolife from conception to the end of natural life.

Joe Sewell
October 3, 2016

And when none of the candidates meet your conscience's criteria? Pro-life isn't the <b>only</b> issue!

Matt Arildsen
October 3, 2016

In Reply to Nancy Behm (comment #29251)
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Hi Nancy,

While I think there is certainly more to a proper ethic of political engagement than opposing abortion, I think that, very often, the "in all of the senses" caveat is used to relativize the pro-life issue and downplay its tragedy.

We couldn't imagine someone in the antebellum US seriously arguing that, although they supported abolition, they thought the problem of homelessness and food insecurity probably outweighed the problem of slavery. I submit that this argument is unconscionable while a similar argument against prioritizing abortion is not unconscionable simply because we have become exhausted and desensitized to the fact that abortion is euphemized murder of the most innocent and needy people in our society. Even though we do need to worry about homelessness, food insecurity, prison reform, sex slavery, the socially disadvantaged and the naturally vulnerable, the greatest gap between justice and our present reality certainly is found on the issue of the legally permitted (even celebrated! http://shoutyourabortion.com/videos/) murder of innocent unborn girls and boys.

This is especially true when we begin to consider the marginal differences between the two political camps, noticing how the stereotypically tone-deaf conservative camp has treated:
-homelessness (http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459100751/utah-reduced-chronic-homelessness-by-91-percent-heres-how)
-prison reform (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/05/06/criminal_justice_reform_theres_bipartisan_hope__130482.html)
-sex slavery (http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/faithbased/2015/03/christians_and_sex_trafficking_how_evangelicals_made_it_a_cause_celebre.html)
-food insecurity (https://www.aei.org/publication/the-state-of-food-insecurity-for-kids-in-the-us/)
-social and natural disadvantages that generate injustices (http://ij.org/)

At minimum, one must say that the picture on compassion is more complicated than the rhetoric of compassion makes it seem.

The pro-life movement's emphasis on combating the intentional killing of pre-born babies is not myopic or mistaken. In fact, it often goes hand in hand with the work of crisis pregnancy centers and churches that care for women in desperate straits and help them get back on their feet after an unexpected pregnancy. When we see abortion for the abomination that is really is, I think it becomes clear that we should seize this opportunity to demonstrate that Christ's Church will not be so easily swayed into supporting this regime of death.

Chuck Adams
October 3, 2016

Pro-life is an important issue, but not the only issue. And there are some differences in opinion related to just what it means to be pro-life--is it spending all of our capital on outright bans and constitution amendments, or is it working alongside people like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in promoting policies that actually reduce abortion. Is it just the unborn, or is it all human life

Given all that, since you mentioned Evan McMullin, who is basically a right-wing Republican and therefore pro-life for unborn children and pro-death for so many others (such as refugees, the poor, and civilians and soldiers in war zones), might I also suggest checking out Mike Maturen of the American Solidarity Party, a party formed to reflect Christian political thought, especially Catholic and Reformed world views?

Jerry
October 3, 2016

To regain pro life values the Supreme Court must be the focus. They are the ones who took it away they will be the ones to bring it back. Victoria, voting third party just gives Hillary a vote over Trump. Look on the internet. Trump has named judges he would consider for the Supreme Court. I don't know the judges. But I do know Hugh Hewitt. Christian, conservative talkshow host, law professor, and lawyer. He says the choices are good. I trust Hugh. Trump could still bypass them and go for a lousy judge. But I have to vote for someone who I think will take care of the Supreme Court if this country is ever going to regain what it had. Another thing, in Trumps acceptance speech he said he would work towards making it where the churches would not lose tax exemption status if they talk politics. Should he win I will be firing a letter to every large church in this country asking the pastor why he does not have his congregation firing letters to Trump reminding him of the statement. Not emails, letters. Handwritten letters that are delivered In bags and have to be open to see what's inside. Making a statement that we need some attention here. If the church can get this right they can teach young people their congregation conservative values for politics and how it coincides with Christianity. Just my opinion unless you're a liberal you think liberalism coincides with Christianity. Your dissapointmet with voting the lesser of two evils is not the person. It is the education of the voters. You're not getting it in high school or college. Conservative churches are the only place that we have a hope. I urge you not to throw away that vote. I look at Trump as a possible first step to get this country on track again. Just by that statement alone. Secondly by the judges he will the point will be far superior than Hillary. I've been told, God can use a third-party. I agree. If you look through history God generally takes generations. You start, and pass it on to your children. I don't believe Hillary is a start.

Steve Hopper
October 3, 2016

I could paraphrase James Patrick Riley's excellent commentary on this issue, but he states it much better than I can:

http://www.jamespatrickriley.com/index.php/religious-spirit/

Suffice it to say, I would not apply Matt Arildsen's logic to finding a doctor or attorney any more than I would to electing a president. we are electing a president, not hiring a pastor. There are only two statistically viable alternatives here, and I believe one of them is a far better choice for the Oval Office than his competitor.

Ralph Hough
October 3, 2016

The Supreme Court picks will be the most crucial outcome of this election on the prolife end of the issue. Prolife means strictly the life of the unborn which Roe vs Wade undid in 1973. It's a baby people plain and simple. Everybody else has a voice, has options, has opportunities but what most people are lacking is a brain that has clarity of thought on this issue and nobody wants to claim responsibility for their own choices. We cannot measure the damage to untold mothers/fathers of abortion but the consequence of fear, addictions of all sorts, lack of true relationship understanding, etc... have blossomed out of control. The only help that can bring God's compassion to those affected by abortion or the seeking of one are the Pregnancy Support Centers love and care for mothers/fathers facing a crisis pregnancy. The help is there... but the law needs to change and the supreme court is the only way right now... Trump is the only viable candidate that has promised to appoint Constitutional conservatives who will get rid of this bad and abominable law.

Cale Judd
October 4, 2016

Have we learned nothing from the 2012 election? Many Christians refused to vote for Mitt Romney in that election, and not without reason. But look what it got us. Four more years of Obama's destructive policies.

And here we go again!

I'm not fond of Donald Trump, personally. In fact, he was the candidate I least wanted to see get the Republican nomination. But when I look beyond his flaws and weigh his policy pronouncements and the things he has pledged to do, he looks like a knight in shining armor compared to Hillary Clinton, who would double down on Obama's failed policies.

The hard fact is that if Donald Trump is not our next president, Hillary Clinton will be. And I'm not sure our nation will survive another four to eight years of the path we're now on. If you don't like Donald Trump, I understand. But I challenge Christians to evaluate him on a policy basis.

Trump supports traditional marriage. He is pro-life. He will defund Planned Parenthood. He wants to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law, prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion. He will appoint pro-life, constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court. He will repeal the Johnson Amendment, which has restricted free speech for churches and pastors. He will reign in our insanely reckless spending. He will roll back regulations that are strangling our economy. He will implement sane trade policies that protect our interests. He will stop the reckless practice of allowing unvetted immigrants to flood into our nation and our communities from Muslim countries where radical Islam is rampant. He will protect our border. He will repeal Obamacare. He will strengthen our military. He will restore our support for Israel. He will do the opposite of what Hillary Clinton would do almost across the board.

Should we vote for a third party candidate and get a repeat of 2012 with Hillary Clinton taking the reins this time? Or should we perhaps be wise as serpents and harmless as doves?

Frank Lovell
October 4, 2016

Just remember, a vote for a third party candidate de facto has the same effect on the outcome of the election as a vote for whoever is the leading party's candidate (and same if one chooses to not vote) -- so if you do vote for a third party (or if you elected to not vote) you earn/deserve credit (or blame) for helping the winner of the election to win (even though you did not mean to help them win). Thatsa fact (do the math)! If that is OK with you, then by all means, vote your conscience and live with the results feeling good if you can.

Cale Judd
October 4, 2016

As Christians, we are right to consider our conscience in the choices we make. And that is precisely why we should vote for Donald Trump. Please hear me out.

If Donald Trump is not elected president, Hillary Clinton will be. I don't think anyone questions that. If we don't vote for Trump, we will have failed to do the one thing that could have prevented her election. We will, practically speaking, have helped Clinton get elected. Now consider what a Hillary Clinton presidency will mean for our conscience as:

- Millions more innocent children are murdered under color of law
- We taxpayers are paying for those abortions
- Traditional marriage is increasingly attacked
- Parental rights are increasingly attacked
- Religious freedom is increasingly attacked
- Free speech is increasingly attacked

Think about the country our parents left to us. It was a country with problems, to be sure, but it was one in which we all enjoyed significant freedoms, including freedom of conscience. What kind of country will we leave to our children and grandchildren? What freedoms will they have? And how will that weigh on our conscience?

Mary
October 4, 2016

I appreciate all about this article but one problem:

We must get a specific candidate - and quickly - to get a competitive following/movement to turn this election around. In the end who wins will matter between the two who are running if one does and if we don't choose a 3rd who will overcome them both by really creating a movement of support then the concerns mentioned that push people into voting will remain. The issue is the right alternative - Write In or running candidate.

Paula
October 5, 2016

This is a must-read. "A Pro-Life Case for Voting for Hillary Clinton"

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/pro-life-voting-for-hillary-clinton

Doug Vande Griend
October 6, 2016

The abortion rate has been on a decline long before Obama took office. There is no cause to conclude that Obama's policies had the effect of reducing abortions. The explantion for the claim that they did is that there is a presidential race going on.

Cale Judd
October 6, 2016

Rachel Evans, who wrote the blog that Paula characterizes as "A Pro-Life Case for Voting for Hillary Clinton", says Donald Trump poses a threat to our American democracy. She doesn't say why or how Trump poses such a threat. I guess we're just supposed take her word for it. She also apparently misconstrues the nature of our nation's governmental structure. We do not have a democracy in the United States. We have a democratic republic. At least, we do when those occupying the three branches of government respect our constitution and their oaths to uphold and defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Rachel Evans also seems to think induced abortions reported to the CDC accurately reflect the number of abortions performed in recent years, ignoring the introduction of RU-486 in 2000 which has certainly increased the number of chemically induced, at-home abortions that don't get reported. If we have experienced some annual reduction in the number of abortions in recent years, the numbers reported to the CDC don't tell the whole story. Numbers reported in recent years are probably not even close to the actual numbers. And if we have experienced some reduction in recent years, it does not logically follow that it was because we had a pro-abortion president. Public opinion regarding the morality of abortion has shifted in recent years, and that would likely account for any decline in the abortion rate far more than the fact that we had a pro-abortion president. In fact, there is no good reason to think a pro-abortion president would have a salubrious effect of any kind.

Steven Priebe
October 7, 2016

In Reply to Nancy Behm (comment #29251)
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Nancy, you said:

"And, absolutely, Jesus was a pacifist. When did he ever endorse war and violence?"

Luke 22:36

He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

Certainly plenty of scripture to choose from the OT, too. And God is not a man, that He should change.

Remember, when you ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?", making a whip of cords, overturning all the tables of the moneychangers, and whipping the merchants out of the Temple is WITHIN THE SCOPE of possibilities.

Jesus was no pacifist; He took action, sometimes violent.

Steven Priebe
October 7, 2016

I live in a solid BLUE state (MD). Because of the electoral college system, conservative votes in the presidential election in states like MD, and liberal votes in solid RED states, are not actually represented. The best I can do in this case is to work to enable broader choice in the future, and vote third-party. It's not about the popular vote, or we would have had President Gore.

Doug Vande Griend
October 7, 2016

Your reason, Steven Priebe, is the best reason for voting third party. Oregon is generally blue but it can have a surprise streak in it and could go red in the presidential race. Which is why I will vote Trump, that is, vote for the Republicans to have more power in the federal government than Democrats, in the next 4 or 8 years, despite my enormous distaste for Trump himself.

I do wish more Christians would be b
more involved in the political dimensions of our society during non-election times, when all of the foundations are built that produce what we then all decry when election time comes around.

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