The voting decision
After months of prayer, deliberation, counsel, and study I will vote for the Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday, November 8. As mentioned every day this week. Donald Trump isn't an ideal candidate, at least in my limited estimation. As a result, this decision is not primarily about his qualities as a political leader but more about the consistency of the Republican Party in reflecting my personal values. Five specific considerations have informed this decision---
1. The platform of the Republican Party.
Forty-five years ago I registered as a Republican voter. The party then, as now,
best paralleled my own political and world views. Each year I have studied the
party platform of the two predominant parties and have voted Republican in
each election. Though the Republican Party has morphed into a party quite
different than the one I've known over the years, the 2016 platform most
clearly reflects my own beliefs. Therefore I will vote Republican in this election.
An interesting side-bar is a totally unscientific survey I conducted at the coffee
shop one day recently. I asked eleven patrons if they were planning to vote this
year and if they had read the party platforms. All indicted a commitment to
vote. None of them had read the party platforms. Evidently, it's another year of
the uninformed voter again. But, based on party platforms, I will vote
2. The good hands people.
In my estimation, the country is in better hands with a Republican president
and congress than under Democratic administration. Of course, I know
nothing of Donald Trump's political experience and have not developed a deep
trust level with him. But, there are Republicans in the government I do trust. A
few of them hold strongly conservative positions on most issues affecting the
governance of this nation. I will trust them to influence Mr. Trump if he is
elected. What is more, it appears to me that the Convention of States project
under Article V of the Constitution has a greater chance of happening in states
where Republicans control the legislature. it's just another element of voting
3. Appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States.
It's been surprising how many Republicans have minimized the weight of
Supreme Court appointments in the next administration. As mentioned
yesterday, this is in reality an unknown. However, I believe a Republican
president will select more conservative and more original intent judicial minds
when making appointments to the Court.
4. Oval Office staff and cabinet selections.
I'm praying for some unity in the Republican party prior to November 8. An
important official duty of a newly elected President will be to select individuals
to lead the various functions of the President's office. Mr. Trump, if wise, will
consult with Republican elected officials in Congress and party functionaries
when filling slots in the cabinet and the White House.
5. The military and national defense.
Once again, history reminds us that Republicans have traditionally supported a
strong military in order the defend and protect the citizens of our nation. Our
posture around the world has been weakened in the last eight years of a
Democratic administration. I sincerely believe a Republican government will
restore our military to a status that will raise our influence at the table of
nations and especially confront the growing advance of militant terrorism that
continually confronts us.
Let it be said that this decision, though shaped by my own consistent worldview, has been reached with reluctance and great deliberation. Please know that I'm not a Trumpite, don't drink kool-aid, and am not a measly rat following the alluring tune of a Pied Piper. I didn't discard my biblical worldview or shrink to the pressure of other humans or groups. This is not a #lesseroftwo evils thing, or a situational ethics surrender. In my opinion, it is the greater good motivation that should define almost every decision I make.
There are differences of opinion in many tough decisions. Christians disagree too, as in the inerrancy of Scripture, baptism, the ordinances, celebrating the Lord's Day, worship style, ordination, education, missiology, and dozens of social and moral issues. In Scripture the Apostle Paul and Barnabas had a dispute and parted company (see Acts 15:36-39). In Galatians 2:11-14 Paul explained a difference of Scripture interpretation he was experiencing with Simon Peter. As Curt Bradford reminded a group of contentious pastors during a critical meeting several years ago, "We don't have to be twins to be brothers" (a quote attributed to Dr. Herschel Hobbs, long time pastor of FBC, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and author of over 147 books and Bible commentaries). That is true in many life venues, even important elections.
There were numerous disagreements in the Corinthian church. Paul's first letter to them is comprised of addressing seven issues that troubled their fellowship and created division. In the second letter, a divisive issue involved the stewardship of giving, in this case, a gift for the persecuted believers in Jerusalem. Evidently it caused debate and hard feelings. So, Paul wrote, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart..." (2 Corinthians 9:7). That seems good advice here rather than the harsh rhetoric and prideful arrogance that has been exhibited to dissenters in this election season. We must decide in our own heart, and be prepared to give account to the one righteous judge.
Well, there it is, the November voting decision.