The Values Driven Voter
Jesus advises us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s.” Augustine also similarly articulated that we are citizens of two kingdoms – the kingdom of heaven being the most significant and the kingdom of this world being of secondary importance. We, arguably, have fundamental responsibilities associated with our citizenship in both kingdoms. Despite the fact that the Bible does not command us to vote, still to be effective citizens in a republic such as ours, it is vital we are able to exercise our most fundamental rights such as the right to vote. As citizens of God’s kingdom and as pro-lifers, it is our responsibility to vote because the government says we can and vote pro-life because God values all life. Pro-life voters exist in two different kingdoms simultaneously. And because of this, we need to keep three ideas in mind, what I like to call the three p’s – principles, pro-active, and perspective.
First, pro-life voters should identify their principles prior to entering the ballot box much like candidates themselves should identify with universal ideals that encompass all political parties. Our government’s responsibility is to protect our most basic rights. In light of this, governmental leaders can most likely all agree on the importance of enhancing public safety. Candidates on both sides of the spectrum might support competing policies on various issues. But no candidates with any future in political office would adopt policies that attempt to violate public safety. In like manner, pro-life voters have principles that serve as deal breakers regardless of political affiliation. Our founding fathers believed that humans by nature of their existence have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The very purpose of government is to preserve these natural rights. If a candidate supports abortion, this violates the principles found in our own Declaration of Independence – namely that all human life is sacred. Of course life is sacred outside of the womb too. For example, it is extremely tragic when children lose their life as a result of our war efforts. However the tragedy of abortion is still more significant given the small time of grace allotted to aborted children. And as Christ’s ambassadors, no matter what our political affiliation, issues involving the culture of life should always take precedent when supporting a candidate.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3
Second, as pro-life voters, we must be pro-active. We must actively support candidates that adopt a culture of life. Voting is important, but why not become politically active? Pro-active political activity might include campaign donations, volunteering for campaigns, handing out literature, making calls and visits on behalf of pro-life candidates, and perhaps even befriending or praying for such candidates. We obviously don’t have to do everything on the list; we can just choose one thing and do it really well. Why is this important? Candidates depend heavily on constituent input in helping to determine their own agenda as well as the weight they might place on issues related to their agenda.
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter.” Proverbs 24:11
And finally, we must keep things in perspective. In the process of becoming politically active, the perspective we should take is that we are interacting with people and not just arguments. Participation in politics takes place in a communal setting. Robert Putnam, famous Harvard scholar, in his book Bowling Alone suggests that active participation in the political process is developed through participation in civic associations such as bowling leagues. People skills learned in such associations help us to participate actively politically. If we bowl alone, our ability to participate politically is also affected.
And it is very easy to “bowl alone” when we act as self-righteous jerks. And quite simply, there is too much at stake for those who wish to subscribe to a culture of life to go through life “bowling alone.”
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
A lot has changed since the time when our Lord lived amongst us as a fellow human. But the call to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and what is God, God’s” has not changed and as long as life goes on, never will. Be an active citizen of God’s kingdom by being an active citizen of our country. And remember, be principled and pro-active with perspective.
Author: Jeff Guse
Dr Jeffrey Guse has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has taught American Government courses at UW-Stevens Point, Lakeland College, and UW-Marshfield. In addition to his work as a college professor, he enjoys volunteering for pro-life organizations at special fundraising events and encouraging people to vote pro-life!
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