I should have known my political views would take me off the broad path. And the signs were there as early as my very first trip into the voting booth. It was the Republican primary in Florida in 1988. I was 20 years old and had been waiting for this moment since Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter.
Afterwards, a fellow Christian voter asked, "So, who did you vote for?"
Triumphantly, I replied, "Jack Kemp."
She looked at me. "You didn't vote for Pat Robertson?"
"Pat Robertson? Why would I vote for Pat Robertson?"
There had been an assumption among many Christians that year. Pat Robertson is a Christian. Therefore, Christians will vote for Pat Robertson. But I didn't think Pat Robertson was very presidential. I thought Jack Kemp was very presidential. (Turns out I was right about Pat. Turns out he's a fruit loop.)
Over the next few election cycles, though, I was the Republican whore, voting for whomever the GOP powers-that-be told me to vote for...like a lemming over the cliff. sigh. I voted for ReadMyLips Bush. Twice. I voted for Dole because I really liked his VP choice. I voted for Bush, Jr. Twice.
In 2004, I was simpering condescendingly over my friends who were 'throwing their vote away' in the Constitution Party. In 2008, I was ready to vote for a fellow named Romney in the Texas primary. But if I remember correctly, he had already dropped off the ballot by that time, so I voted for a Texan named Ron Paul. Then the general election arrived, and I rolled my eyes at my friends who split hairs over McCain's support for embryonic stem-cell research and the fact that Sarah Palin was a mother with five very needy children at home. Was I swayed? Nope.
I was not swayed by the fact that McCain was not pro-life.
I was not swayed by the fact that McCain had authored the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold bill.
I was not swayed by the fact that Sarah Palin had one special needs baby, one pregnant teen, and a horribly disordered home. Hey, she's a Christian. (Wait... This was sounding vaguely familiar.)
The important thing was that McCain was not Obama.
A girl's got standards.
Then Election Night '08 came. And as I watched John McCain give his concession speech, twisting himself into an ideological pretzel in his zeal to 'reach across the aisle,' I thought, "Yikes. I just voted for Mr. IStandForNothing."
My jaw was dropping. This man could have won...and I would have been responsible.
I need a hero.
I need a statesman.
I need someone who will look into the eyes of every compromising, deal-making, weak-willed, principled-in-rhetoric-only politician on Capitol Hill and say,
I found him.
A man of principle whose record matches his rhetoric. (What a concept.)
A man who understands individual liberty and the free market.
And if there is ever a lone dissenting vote or a lone voice of reason on Capitol Hill--well, it's usually his.
He's not afraid of gridlock.
He scratches no one's back.
He's a hero.
But there has been another kind of gridlock this time around, and it's nowhere near DC.
It's in the American church.
What a ghastly election cycle this has been. And I think it would be helpful, just for myself--and maybe for my readers--to try to at least understand the arguments of the different political factions in the church in 2012.
So, let me try to get this straight.
Faction One: "I'm not voting at all." These friends have explained to me that they think the Christian should be above politics. That ushering in God's kingdom is our priority. That government is an evil and a distraction. That our focus should be alleviating injustice around the world. Government is an institution inherently fraught with evil.
Faction Two: "I'm voting for Mitt Romney." These friends are politically involved and love their country. They tend to view America as a Christian nation. They want to get back to a truly free market and the rule of law. And, mostly, they really, really fear President Obama and the damage he can do in the next four years. Of paramount importance is getting him out of office.
Faction Three: "I'm voting for Virgil Goode." They call themselves theonomists. They want a Christian leader, a Biblical legal system, and a Biblically moral nation. The idea of putting a Mormon in office to place this nation back in the favor of God is not just laughable; it is anathema. A Christian governor for a Christian nation is not the best hope; it is the only hope.
Faction Four: "I'm voting for Ron Paul." The priority of limited government for the State restricts the power of the State to protecting citizens from each other--not from themselves. The priority of self-government for the Individual puts no restrictions on personal liberty--no matter how ugly that looks. He will not let the State do the job of the Church or of the Family. And as long as the president understands that, he can be a Muslim or a Mormon or anything else.
Meanwhile, one faction tells me God will judge me for not voting for Candidate X. Another faction tells me God will judge me for voting for Candidate X. Godly preachers tell me to be pragmatic. Godly preachers tell me to be principled. One faction claims there's Biblical support for voting. Another faction claims there's no Biblical support for voting. I got one message telling me to stop trying to interfere with the election and that my arguments won't sway anyone. I've gotten so many messages thanking me for talking and telling me that they're thinking critically for the first time that I've lost count.
Fortunately, I don't have to keep it all straight.
There is a King coming back.
He'll correct my heresy...
and yours, too.
He'll straighten it all out for us...
every crooked path.
No matter who is president, Jesus is King.
Worship the King.
Every valley shall be filled,
And every mountain and hill shall be made low.
And the crooked shall be made straight,
And the rough places shall become level ways. Luke 3:5