U.S. Capital Building in 2012
Concerning Politics/Government

Should Christians Vote based on Competence or Character?

February 1, 2016

I recently read an article by Doug Bandow, Christians Should Vote for Good Governance over Good Theology where He insists Christians should not walk into the ballot box considering which candidate is the most genuine believer but rather vote based on who holds the soundest positions that are backed by historical accuracy and who is the most competent candidate.

His ‘best’ response in considering who (which presidential candidate) might be a genuine believer was, “who cares? One’s theological views just don’t tell much about a person’s competence to perform a civil office.” …I strongly disagree.  He argues there is so much manipulation in politics, that, to my understanding of his writing, the factor of ‘Christian or not’ should essentially be checked at the door when voting.

What are your thoughts on this? I have a few myself I will share, but I would genuinely love to hear thoughts on this issue! Let me know in the comments!

Firstly, Bandow’s idea that a person being a true believer is irrelevant to whether they are competent to perform a civil office is misguided.  I would argue the opposite.  While it is true that being a Christian does in no way magically influence your knowledge of public policy, the Constitution, law, economics, or foreign affairs, Christianity in every way, influences one’s mindset of being a servant.

I don’t believe one performs a civil office but rather serves in a civil office.  Ultimately the President of the United States is meant to be a servant of the people of the United States.  Any good leader is meant to be a servant of the people they are leading.  There is far more to leading than simply competence.  Competence can be manipulated and corrupted, far more easily than someone with a genuine and Biblically based desire to serve.

Secondly, his statement citing Martin Luther in saying he preferred to be governed by a smart Turk than a stupid Christian, is ill cited.  I am not going to pretend that I understand the context of Luther’s statement, but I don’t believe it to be as applicable here as Bandow makes it.  If the Holy Spirit is living inside of a person because they believe in Jesus Christ as their savior and they most assuredly believe the Bible is the inherent Word of God, then, while not perfectly because we are all still sinners but still nonetheless, the truths and commands in the Bible will be strived to be obeyed.

What will be strived to be obeyed is a calling to excellence, humility, selflessness, and servanthood, to name a few.  Truthfully, any true Christian believer is called to excellence in anything and everything that they do.  More than any group on the planet, Christians have a calling by the God who made the heavens and earth, and who sent his son to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, to do all things with all your strength, without complaining, in love, and so much more.

What I’m getting at, is while being Christian will not just magically make you a knowledgeable, competent individual, shouldn’t it in a way?  Shouldn’t we trust and believe that if God is working inside of a person and they are striving to obey the words of God, that they will have taken measures to be competent? Shouldn’t they have a desire stronger than any willpower man can conjure of themselves, to pursue excellence, competence, and humble servanthood?

I tend to lean more towards a person’s character as more important than their position on an issue.  Not that the position is considered any less but that a person’s character and integrity will have much further reaching effects, whether good or bad, than will their stance on any issue.  The issues are SO important! Do not get me wrong on this point.  In the end, what a person is standing up and fighting for makes all the difference.  But I have to believe that a genuine believer would be striving for excellence in the area God has called him, and doing it all with a humble spirit.  his

This would make a difference in who I vote for.  Being a Christian has far more reaching effects on a person’s life than simply being a religion.  Following Christ is a holistic, rebirth from a life of sin into a life of serving God and man, all for the purpose of bringing glory to God in everything we do. 

I absolutely agree that to pick the candidate who says all the right “Christian” things, regardless of their positions they hold, would be irresponsible.  Especially considering the degree people can be, are, and have been manipulated in the political arena, to simply take people at their public word and to not check their credulity, would be irresponsible.  I am not calling Christians to that or to anything really, except to the Bible.  If we are looking to anything but the Bible as our guide, we will be led away from the truth.

Being a Christian in any position of authority is very important.  Not that they try to legislate morality, but that they have a standard of morals and a foundation built on something far stronger and more solid, Christ Jesus and the Bible, than on one’s self-motivated desire to perform a civil office based on their knowledge and competence.

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