ivotedNovember 8, 2016

I just left the voting booth. For me it was a happy sad time: happy for the candidates I could vote for in good conscience, sad as I had difficulty voting for the most important job, the President of the United States. As a Christian, I would have loved to have had a person to vote for who sees the world exactly as I do. Alas, there was no such candidate from the two major parties which were even close to my convictions. There actually are some third-party candidates which, if even I didn’t agree with them on everything, they are closer to the spirit and political planks I agree with.

So, then who did I vote for? That is between my conscience and my God. Particularly as a Pastor, and generally as a Christian, I have to be careful not to put my politics before Christ. I am to love and serve people from all different backgrounds. Our Constitution gives us some wonderful liberties like freedom of speech. For a man to be truly free inside, he has to be able to vote his conscience apart from the coercion of implied false guilt. False guilt holds a person responsible for what may occur if his/her vote takes away a vote from a major candidate who claims to hold a key conservative or liberal principle.  For example: if one votes Green they are said to be actually voting Republican, or if one votes Libertarian they are said to be voting for the Democrats.  Mr. Hannity from Fox News waxed eloquent with this argument. Then why even have a ballot with more than two choices?

Christians should not separate themselves from clear Biblical principles and compromise for the sake of some proposed political promises coming from the mouths of politicians who do not demonstrate themselves to be very good care takers of truth. Jesus said it this way:

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45).

Do we really believe the promises being fed us from the left or the right based upon the character of those who are speaking to us?

Should Christians impose a wrong party spirit upon the conscience of some of their brothers and sisters? Some are bashing others wondering how any discerning Christian could vote for such an over-the-top, foul-mouthed womanizer. Some will actually vote a protest vote leaving others wondering how they can do this when the candidate they vote for supports abortion and a socialistic agenda. Other Christians are simply going to leave the little oval blank and not vote for a President. Some are going to vote for a third-party candidate which they believe more closely resembles where they are. These voters are faced with shouts of “How can you do this? Don’t you realize by not voting for X in a two-party system they are voting for Y?” Questions like these presume those other candidates don’t count. Actually, they do count if people vote for them. Remember Ross Perot?

Well then, Christians, how are we going to sort this out after Election Day? For anyone reading this, I want you to know I will love you no matter who you vote for even if it is not for whom I would vote for. Personally, I may think “God help us” if a vote is cast for candidate X and I might be scratching my head wondering when a vote is cast for candidate Y. I will love you whether you vote for a third-party candidate or if you decide not to vote for the President. God will hold each of us accountable for our civic duty based upon the dictates of our own conscience. To vote contrary to your core belief is a lie, ungodly, and un-American. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

I will wear my “I Voted” sticker all day with pride. I did the best I could do with what was offered. I did not hold my nose when I voted. I decided to vote my conscience…regardless of what the talking heads are saying, or what my friends, family, or brothers and sisters -in-Christ are saying. After all, I do not answer to you or you to me, but we all answer to God. Regardless of who you voted for today, I will still love you and respect you even if I may not agree with your reasoning. After all, I wore a United States Marine Corps uniform in defense of your right to exercise your vote even if it is contrary to mine.

Our liberty is in jeopardy. We all must do the best we can to preserve and protect it, but in the end let us never forget where true liberty comes from. We can pursue it in the ballot box, but it is not the vote by itself which will keep it. We can fight for it on the battlefield, but blood and sacrifice by themselves are not enough to keep attain it. Rather, we must never forget the true source of our Liberty.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”              (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Love in Christ

 Pastor Schofield