From the Disk of the Pastor November 2010
Dear Friends in Christ,
Christ gives us salvation as a free gift. We do nothing to earn this. It is simply received by all who trust in Christ. In fact we can do nothing to earn this. God needs nothing from us. There is nothing we can do for God. Christ then would have us reflect the mercy He has given us to our fellow man. So then we speak of our duty to our neighbor. One of those duties is to be a good and loyal citizen of the nation in which we reside. What that means will vary greatly depending upon the country. A monarchy would have different requirements than a republic. We, of course, live in a federal republic. A federal system is one where several independent levels of government function together at the same time. In our case, we have national, state, and various forms of local government. We almost all have two levels of local government - county and town or municipality. (City or village.) Each of these has a reserved function, into which the others are not to tread. As we are both a federal system and a republic, we get to vote for all these different government officials. As Christians we should consider it a God given duty to vote, even in the most minor of elections. While this is a duty, it also carries with it a responsibility to be informed. So we should know who the candidates are and where they stand on the various issues. This is sometimes quite difficult to do, though the internet has made it easier. This is particularly true in our area where our print media does only a limited job, and there are really no other local media sources.
As Christian voters we take Christ with us into the public square. We are to vote our beliefs. By this I don’t mean that the church is to take over the government. But if we know that Scripture teaches that something is wrong and destructive, we should vote for candidates who share that view. It’s that simple. These candidates may be Lutherans or belong to another church. They may even be non Christians - just so long as they share our view on what is right. We should never vote contrary to what the Bible teaches us is right or wrong.
One issue I don’t think has weighed heavily enough on the consciences of most Christian voters is that of life. God is the author of all life. We are made in the image of God. It is never man’s place to take a life. Because of sin in the world, God permits just a few narrow exceptions - self defense and those acting lawfully as police or military, including, if human laws allow, capital punishment. Other than these narrow exceptions, human life is never to be taken, from conception to natural death. Abortion, except to save the life of the mother, is always excluded. Euthanasia, that is the killing of the elderly and infirm, is also forbidden. Rather than kill the elderly, we are to care for them with grace and dignity.
As Christians we have a duty to uphold life when we vote. But there is more to this. It’s not just the specific acts in question. It is about a whole world view. Our founders believed that every individual person has dignity and value. They embodied this in the Declaration of Independence when they said... “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights...” All people, no exceptions. This idea was drawn from the Bible. Jefferson was not a Christian, but he had a Christian world view. When considering law in all areas, how a person views life will effect how he/she votes. Understanding man as having intrinsic value and seeing man as a commodity are radically opposing ideas. Pro abortion legislators will also, likely, support other measures that attack the dignity of man, in all areas, from the environment to job creation. So it is imperative that we elect pro life people to office. God is pro life, and so also should we be pro life. And one’s attitude toward life will determine their views on nearly every other area governmental activity. So yes, it is our duty to vote, and to vote for life.
Rev. Jody R. Walter
Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:104-105