*Put forth for your consideration, not necessarily as a recommendation but as a primer for biblically thinking through current issues.*
First things first. This post is not about politics. It is about thinking biblically about politics or any other subject that comes up in daily life.
Some decisions are easy. What kind of toothpaste should I buy? Whatever kind I like and can afford. I have the freedom and the responsibility to choose my toothpaste based on what I prefer and good stewardship.
Some decisions, though are not as clear cut. Like politics. It behooves us as Christians to attempt to guide our decisions based on the moral precepts of the Bible as we understand them.
“Of the lesser of two evils, choose neither.” – Charles Spurgeon
There is great truth to those words. God will never leave you with sin as your only “choice” or “your only way out”. However, the choice to – not choose sin / evil – may be hard and bring great hardship, but it is an obedience / trust / faith issue. God often does not take us out of hardship, but sustains us through it.
Do you really believe that to choose what pleases and obeys God is always best in the long term regardless of what the short term is?
Let’s have a thought experiment based on the presumptive choices for President – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
If we agree that neither choice, from a Biblical standpoint, is very good then we can approach this article from the same perspective. If you do not agree that neither choice is very good, then this post won’t mean much to you and you should stop reading now and don’t waste your time. I realize that we are not electing a Pastor-in-Chief but that does not mean that character does not matter.
Via Frank Turk:
- Under these circumstances, as Christians we have to ask ourselves: why would God allow this [two less than desirable choices]? And the answer is so simple, it cannot be denied: our nation, once a function of Christian values and subject to the Christian consciences of its people, has walked away from God. As such, he is walking away from us and putting us in the hands of corrupt judges and immoral leaders. If you deny this, then you need to see what else you will deny about the history of this nation and also the theology of justice and government in the Bible. God hands over those who deny him to the consequences of their denials.
- Because God is judging us, we must vote in such a way which demonstrates repentance, not desperation or math or any other pragmatic solution. That word “repentance” means we have to vote in such a way as to turn our faces back toward God with the hope that he will forgive as he always forgives those who repent. And repentance, to be frank, does not mean voting for the lesser of two evils when we are choosing between Jezebel and Sennacherib. It means we will vote for someone who is neither of them, and rejects everything both of them stand for, and who sees government the way Paul sees it in Romans 13 if nothing else. Vote for someone you believe demonstrates that you personally repent of sin and repent of all your personal and political idolatry, and so that God will forgive you.
- Voting for Trump means that you don’t care about his sort of sin as long as you get what you think you want; voting for Clinton means you don’t care about her sin as long as you get what you think you want. You could choose to vote differently altogether and trust God to do what God does.
There is a difference in the lesser of two choices when one does some good and the other does not vs. the lesser choice when neither choice does good. Consider these examples:
Passing a law that outlaws abortion after 20 weeks is better than not passing a law against abortion at all. Some argue for the “all or none” idea that any abortion is evil and to even consider passing a law that allows some abortion is wrong. This denies the idea that we can defeat abortion incrementally [like slavery in England – see William Wilberforce]. Consider that making abortion illegal at any point [after 20 weeks in our example] means all abortions after that mark will no longer be performed, and lives will be saved — which means that one outcome is legitimately less evil [more good] than the other. An act which saves any lives is less evil than a competing act which saves none, especially when we are talking about children in the womb.
That is the legitimate case in which the argument “the lesser of two evils” is made: in one case we can do some good and in the other we cannot.
Now consider the selling of body parts in abortion. We can either sell all body parts or some body parts but some body parts are going to be sold. There is no lesser evil. One choice is some and one choice is all but either requires death and dismemberment.
Is one presidential choice – Clinton or Trump – truly the lesser of two evils as in our first example or are Clinton and Trump both evil with no redeeming value? And if so what do we do as Christians?
Again a pithy statement from Frank Turk:
It is political idolatry when we think we must choose only between Jezebel and Sennacherib when it is obvious that what we could also do is choose to put on sack cloth and ashes and repent of solutions like these which, frankly, make the people who wanted Saul to be King look clever and godly.
To vote for the lesser of the two evils is to do what is right in our own eyes. To vote for neither of the two evils is to say, “God, I have been thinking about this all wrong for a very long time, and the fruit is in the ballot box. I will not vote for people who hate you anymore, and I will not vote as if my vote is what saves me.” A vote for the apparent lesser evil puts the wisdom of the world as the hope of (political) deliverance, and a vote for neither evil puts the wisdom of God in a place to make foolishness of the world’s (political) wisdom. We all must stop pretending that we can vote our way out of this inane and unimaginable situation we are in.
Again, trust and obey and let God do what God does. Which may not be to deliver us from evil, but see us through it.