Editor’s note: This is the second in a series offering endorsements for the four major candidates in the U.S. presidential election. We ask that comments refrain from inflammatory language and personal attacks.
“When God wants to judge a nation, he gives them wicked rulers.”
This phrase, often attributed to John Calvin but more likely a pithy paraphrase of some of his thoughts on government, nicely sums up this year’s presidential race. The 2016 election process has been nothing short of a nightmare. Candidates have lied, cheated, colluded, and bought and sold their way to the top. We’ve always suspected it, but this year it’s all out in the open and the American people, especially Christians, are stuck in the crossfire.
Earlier this year I made a decision. I was not going to vote. I decided that come election day, I will be sitting on my roof watching the world burn around me while I sip a glass of smug-juice. As the flames whip around me, at least I’ll know that I didn’t contribute to this mess.
The parable of the talents teaches us that doing nothing is not an option.
Yet the reality is that we all created this beast. The media fed off of our idolatry of entertainment. We bought into the fear-mongering and we sold ourselves for just a little bit of comfort. Meanwhile, the parable of the talents teaches us that doing nothing is not an option. Complacent separation is not what God desires. Rather, he calls for engagement filled with careful discernment and prayerful meditation.
This discernment and meditation has led me to choose a third party candidate in 2016: Gary Johnson, the former Republican, two-term governor of New Mexico, and Libertarian party nominee.
There are three important political topics Christians need to reconcile with their faith. These three topics led me to Johnson.
Until recently, I’d never thought about immigration in light of Scripture. It’s shocking, really, considering that the plight of immigrants is central to the Biblical narrative. Israel wandered for years seeking a place to call home. In Acts 2, nationalism is broken down to show that borders and languages don’t matter; Christ does. Like it or not, we were all immigrants at one point to the kingdom of God. Christ was sent to break down the walls and barriers to entry, not build them up. Johnson, having governed a border state, knows the issues of immigration first-hand. He stands in support of an open border that would allow for easier travel and trade between the United States and Mexico. As far as illegal immigration goes, Johnson would allow a two-year grace period for those who are currently undocumented to obtain necessary documentation.
In 1 Samuel 8, God warns the Israelites of the heavy taxation imposed by rulers. While we no longer must give up a tenth of our grain, taxes are very much an issue today. Regardless of your view of taxes, taxation brings up the touchy subject of money. I don’t believe that it is a sin to be wealthy; I know wealthy people who use what God has given them to bless others. Circling back to the parable of the talents, we are taught that we will be judged on what we did with what we had. Johnson’s stance on lighter taxation would allow Christians to have more resources with which to bless others. As Christians, we should be looking for every opportunity to take care of those in our neighborhoods and communities. To this end, Johnson would abolish the IRS and remove income taxes, replacing them with consumption taxes. This would allow people to be taxed on how much they spend, not on how much they make.
My eyes well up every time I think of the millions of babies who have died since Roe v. Wade. Where is the cry from Ramah? Johnson, like many other politicians, believes a woman has the right to put to death her child. I admit that I have struggled with this. I am completely and forever against abortion. Yet in lieu of a candidate who would end abortion, I will vote for one who limits it. A step in the right direction, however small, is still progress. And so I will vote for Johnson, a candidate who will cut federal support of stem-cell research and will not require employers to provide abortion coverage for their employees.
Doing nothing is not an option for us. I hope that you will continue to research Johnson’s stances on these and other key issues. Above all I hope that you seek God in this season of turmoil. May he come quickly.