Thursday, October 25, 2012

Journal-Gazette Refuses To Print

Below is a copy of an article I sent the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette last week. The editor of the Features section and the editor of the newspaper refused to print my article, each giving contradictory reasons why they would not print the article. I have been writing articles for their column for several years, longer than anyone, and this is the first time they have refused an article. As of today, the editor of the newspaper has not answered my questions about his refusal, except for a brief (almost rude) two sentence response (rebuke?) from him. Judge the article for yourself.

In every election I've voted in (and I've voted in every Presidential election since 1976) I've never been completely satisfied with the choices. In the election of 1980 between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, my wife and I were standing in line to vote early that morning, and a reporter from the newspaper was interviewing people about the election, asking them who they were voting for. My picture ended up being in the paper because I said “I'm a little for Reagan & a lot against Carter”. That's almost the way I've felt about every election since then. And I'm not sure if there will ever be an election where I don't have any reservations about a candidate.

Many people struggle with this year's Presidential election because they have serious reservations about the two major party candidates. Some do not like what President Obama has done as President, even those who voted for him in 2008. Some do not like Governor Romney, in part because of his Mormon religious beliefs.

Many people piously say that a candidate's religion shouldn't be a factor in deciding whether to vote for that candidate. Yet what if that candidate's religion practiced animal sacrifice? I imagine many would suddenly decide his religious beliefs were now a topic for discussion!

Some Christians will not vote for Governor Romney because he is a Mormon, and they cannot in good conscience vote for someone who is a practicing member of a theological cult. Yes, Mormonism is a theological cult because, although Mormon theology believes in a person called Jesus Christ who died on a cross as Savior, Mormon beliefs about who that Jesus is are very different from Biblical teaching, twisting and changing the Jesus of the Bible into someone else.

If a Christian cannot vote for Gov. Romney because of his Mormon beliefs, then the Christian should not vote for Gov. Romney. Romans 14-15 discuss the application of conscience to difficult issues, and a person should never violate his conscience. Your conscience is more important than any election. Candidates and elections change every two years. Your conscience will be with you forever. You must not violate your conscience. Having a pure, clean, Biblically healthy conscience is more important than winning an election. Once you start crossing your conscience, you will do it again and again until you have what the Bible calls a hard, seared conscience, unresponsive and insensitive to moral issues.

A Christian in that position should also understand that we are not selecting a religious leader but a political leader. Christians living in areas such as Utah have struggled with this problem for many years. Will Gov. Romney's religious beliefs affect his political decisions? I'm sure they will, just as President Obama's religious beliefs have influenced his social justice emphasis.

Another factor to consider is that if a person usually votes Republican but does not vote this year because he does not like the Republican candidate, then practically his decision helps re-elect President Obama. Then the question becomes a “Which is worse” situation—President Obama or President Romney.

The Bible teaches very clearly that the Lord God controls this world, including which people are in positions of governmental power. Proverbs 21:1 teaches that leaders are like water directed by a hand in the direction you want the water to go, and the Lord is the hand which controls. Second Chronicles, Ezra, and Isaiah describe how God chose and used Cyrus the Great to accomplish certain plans.

Realistically, only the candidates from the two main parties will win the Presidency. Third Party candidates don't win Presidential elections today. We are not given ideal choices in elections. In the Presidential election of 1804, only two major candidates had any hope of winning, Thomas Jefferson and Charles Pickney. Jefferson was the current President, and Pickney was from South Carolina, a Revolutionary War veteran, and member of the Constitutional Convention. But he was not as well-known nor popular as Jefferson, who won in a landslide. You're probably thinking “Well, Yeah, I would have voted for Jefferson too”
Did you know, however, that Thomas Jefferson openly denied the deity of Jesus Christ, rewrote the NT to fit his religious beliefs, believed that some of the Gospels was absurd, and that Paul was an imposter and corrupter of Christ's teachings? So we would vote for Thomas Jefferson but not Mitt Romney?

My point here is not to promote Mitt Romney, but simply that, in this world corrupted by sin, we do not have ideal choices. And we sometimes have to make a choice less than ideal in order to prevent what we believe is a worse choice from winning.

If you decide not to vote, you are leaving the results to other people, people whose views may be very different from yours. Other people are counting on your not voting so that their views are what wins, not yours. Do you trust others to make this decision for you? The more people who do not vote, the results of the election are decided by those who do vote. In other words, if most people do not vote, then the minority decides the election. And that's not how our political system is supposed to work. This results in government by a few, not the majority. And those few will usually be people with extreme/fanatical views who are highly motivated to vote and influence the country.

If you do not vote or cannot vote, you may say “I'm just going to leave the results to God.”
And that is true---you are choosing not to participate and trust the Lord knowing the results are the Lord's plan. But that's almost like not praying because you are just going to trust God to do His will. Praying is our working with God to accomplish His will by our verbalizing requests to Him and asking Him to do something. Voting is our working with God to accomplish His will by our selecting who we believe is the best candidate and asking God to work the results. So, if someone doesn't vote and leaves the results to God, that's OK. But voting also is trusting God.

We have the privilege in this country of voting for our representatives in government. That privilege is not always easy. Yet liberty and freedom are not supposed to be easy. Situations like this remind me that I am not in control of world events, that the time before Christ comes grows more confusing, that I am looking for a better place. Christians who are angry and bitter about our country and how the world is changing are forgetting that this world is not our home [Hebrews 11:13-16]. But while we are here, before Christ returns, we have a responsibility to do our part to promote what is right, what is Biblical, and work for freedom to do gospel work. Let's not forget why we are here---not to promote America, but to proclaim Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012