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Before I vote

Questions I Ask Before I Vote

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As a pastor, I do not publicly endorse candidates, nor do I share my party affiliations publicly.  I’d rather be known as a follower of Jesus than a supporter of ‘Candidate X.’  In the same way, our church does not endorse a candidate, and we try to keep political arguments out of the fellowship.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have strong political opinions.  And since we do, we want our faith to inform our politics.

Since my faith comes first in my life, I work hard to look at politics and politicians through the eyes of my faith in God and in the Bible.  As a result, I spend a lot of time thinking, praying, studying the Bible for insights, and talking with trusted people.  But it is hard to vote Biblically when candidates don’t tell you where they stand on important issues—or when they tell you one thing and do another when they are in office.

So I have some serious questions I consider before I vote.  I hope you think through these same questions as well—and more—before you vote.  The following questions all have a Biblical basis.  Unfortunately, not many of these questions are addressed in a campaign, so I have to work hard to discern the answers to these questions from political candidates before I decide who to vote for. 

Here are some things I want to know about a candidate before I vote: 

  • Do you believe in a balanced budget and prudent spending?  (See Proverbs 27:23-27.)  I usually hear—but only from the out-of-power-party—that spending is out of control and we need to balance the budget.  This seems to be forgotten once in office.  Do you believe it enough to do something about it?  And if so, how would you (1) cut spending, and/or (2) increase taxes?
  • Do you believe in religious liberty for all?  The first amendment to our constitution guarantees all Americans the freedom of religion.  Do you only believe in religious liberty for Christians?  Or do you only apply it to members of minority religions?  And what does freedom of religion mean to you?
  • What do you believe about war and peace?  All Christians desire and pray for peace, but we also know that war is sometimes necessary.  When it is appropriate to use military force or to go to war?  What is your plan for promoting world peace?  How involved should we be in wars in other countries?
  • Do you practice personal generosity by giving to churches, charities, and those in need?  (See 1 Timothy 6:17-19.)  I believe that the values of your public life should be evident in your private life, so can you show (via statements or tax returns) that you are personally generous and charitable?
  • Do you believe in protecting the environment?  Or, to use Biblical terms, do you believe in good stewardship of our air, water, land, and resources?  Who should make decisions on what is appropriate—the government?  Businesses?  Individuals?  What do you believe is an appropriate way to be faithful stewards of our planet for the next generations?
  • Do you believe that, to use a Biblical phrase, a “worker is worthy of his wages?”  How do you apply that to the concept of a minimum wage?  Should we have one?  Is the current $7.25 federal wage sufficient?  If not, what should it be?
  • The Old Testament says much about foreigners living within the land of Israel.  For example, Exodus 22:21 says, “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”  Does this concept have any bearing on current immigration laws, asylum seekers, border issues, dreamers, etc.?  What should be our stance on immigration?
  • Both parties believe in caring for and protecting underprivileged and under-represented people, though they talk about it in different ways.  What is the government’s role in caring for seniors, widows, the homeless, the mentally ill, and the poor?  And do you believe in extending that caring to the unborn? 

Obviously, there are no perfect political candidates, for all are human and all human beings are imperfect.  Still, though, I use the Bible as a standard for my faith and politics, and these questions—and many others—are important to me!

I am a man of faith—an imperfect one, of course. But my faith is important to me.  So I work hard to make sure that my politics are informed by my faith!