© February 5, 2009
“Yes, I would campaign for the NAZIs and cast my vote for Adolf Hitler.” These words shocked me as they came out of my friend’s mouth. What shocked me more was that this young man is a conservative homeschooled Christian. Why would such an intelligent individual not only admit he would vote for Hitler, but say it with pride? I believe the problem goes deeper than misguided logic and actually explains why conservatives lost the recent Presidential election.
Today, I will expose the implications of a mentality that has become pervasive within conservative Christian circles: the view that one must vote for the lesser of two evils. I will attempt to persuade you to instead choose a righteous path in every situation. Using the 2008 Presidential election as a case study, we will learn about the lesser of two evils philosophy. After that we will analyze and weigh its justifications, and finally we will look at what our moral responsibilities are and determine a plan of action.
During the recent Presidential election, Obama’s views on abortion were well known. His support of extremist pro-abortion groups, his pledge to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, and even his support of infanticide were no secret. ("Obama's Abortion Extremism." Washington Post, Apr. 2008.)
John McCain’s views however, demonstrated a disconnect between his campaign rhetoric and his record as a Senator. Eight years after they released a report naming McCain’s presidential candidacy as a threat to the pro-life movement, ("How John McCain Threatens the Pro-Life Cause." National Right to Life News Feb. 2000.) National Right to Life reversed its position when it became clear that McCain was the 2008 Republican frontrunner and gave him a “100% pro-life” rating. ("Pro-Life Senator John McCain." National Right to Life News. Oct. 2008.) If one only listened to McCain’s rhetoric and National Right to Life’s rating, we might be led to believe that he is pro-life. However, as we look at his record, we see that he is not.
In 2005, McCain voted to provide a third of a billion dollars to fund abortion in the cases of rape and incest, authorizing taxpayer funding for more than 300,000 abortions. (U.S. Senate. U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress - 1st Session On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 3010, As Amended). 27 Oct. 2005.) Through 2008, he continued his support for expanding Embryonic Stem Cell Research: the fatal experimentation and dissection of the tiniest boys and girls. ("McCain Says His Support Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Unchanged." Medical News Today 27 Jan. 2008.) At the Saddleback Forum with Pastor Rick Warren, McCain claimed to believe that life begins at conception. (“Obama, McCain talk issues at pastor's forum." CNN 17 Aug. 2008.) Yet this is irreconcilable with his thirty year record of supporting and funding the wrongful killing of the innocent. It is clear that McCain was willing to lie in order to win our votes and we were all too ready to believe him.
Some of us did not know McCain’s pro-abortion record and voted for him in ignorance, but those of us who did justified our support for his candidacy by pointing to him as “the lesser of two evils.” We made political calculations, concluding that we had to support the pro-choice Republican in order to beat the more radically pro-choice Democrat! When did we forget that there are some issues, such as abortion, that are non-negotiable? When someone supports mass-murder, that person is automatically disqualified as a candidate that Christians can vote for with a clear conscience. Even if our candidate had won, we would have lost. So where then does this idea of “voting for the lesser of two evils” come from?
It certainly does not come from our Constitution. When citizens are obliged to support one person who doesn't represent them in order to stop another person who also doesn't represent them, they end up with a government that doesn't represent them. President John Quincy Adams enjoins us to “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”("John Quincy Adams Quotes." Think Exist Quotations. 05 Feb. 2009) Because of the “lesser of evils” mentality, voters have been manipulated into a system that effectively destroys the idea of a Republic as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
Similarly, nowhere in the Bible does Christ say “do the lesser evil so that you might achieve good for my kingdom.” In fact, Paul warns us not to do a little evil in order to potentially achieve some future good when he says: “Why not say… ‘Let us do evil that good may result!’ Their condemnation is deserved.” (Romans 3:8. NIV.) Scripture is clear that moral considerations take precedence over political expedience.
The decision to vote for the “lesser evil” is primarily made out of fear. Fear of the devil with his mask off chases us into the arms of the devil with his mask on. But this fear is a bottomless abyss. A conservative in NAZI Germany during the 1930’s applying the “lesser of two evils” standard could say, “The Marxists are ahead of every other political party in the polls, so even though the NAZIs want to kill the Jews, I think the Marxists may end up killing more people than the NAZIs. Therefore, I will vote for Hitler.” History would eventually prove that assessment correct, since the NAZIs only murdered six million while the communists in Russia alone murdered more than twenty million. ("That abyss has no bottom." TheologyOnline. 19 Oct. 2008.) Of course we know that the German in our example could never be justified in supporting Hitler. But by the standard of fear, it is easy to see how even Christians like my friend would say that, in that situation, they would. When we no longer fear God and instead fear wicked men, what candidate wouldn’t we support, provided the alternative is worse? If our justification for supporting one evil is fear of a greater evil, then there is no depth of depravity and atrocity we will not support, as long as we fear a darker alternative. Voting for the lesser of two evils abandons the immovable moral standard of righteousness and replaces it instead with a shifting foundation of moral relativism and situational ethics.
Christ’s standard requires that we fear no one but God. Matthew 10:28 exhorts us to,“fear not them which kill the body… but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28. KJV.) Is it truly such a terrifying thought to consider what our country would be like if one million Christians chose to reject the “lesser of two evils” philosophy and instead chose to honor God by refusing to do some evil that good might come of it? We aren't called to calculate which candidate will murder fewer innocents, we are called to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33. NKJV.)
So how, then, are we to seek it? We know that any person who advocates and defends the intentional killing of innocents is a conspirator and an accomplice to murder, and from his record we can see that John McCain was just such a man. We also know that Christians should not support mass murderers, even if they are afraid of other mass murderers.
Instead, our standard of behavior should be based upon trusting God. ("John McCain's Tragic Pro-Abortion Record." American Right to Life. 12 Oct. 2008. ) Therefore, it is every Christian’s moral responsibility to use the authority given to them only within the boundaries of righteousness and to act in accordance with God's will.
Critics argue that voting on principle is impractical, but Christians ought to act on the wisdom of God, even if it appears foolish from a human vantage point. Nevertheless, I believe that the wisdom of God offers the only path to real success even in human terms. Christ does say that if you faithfully seek God's kingdom, “all other things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33. NKJV.)
There are two benefits to voting based on principle rather than political expediency. The first and most obvious is that when a citizen votes for a Godly (though imperfect) candidate he honors God by voting morally. Second, every vote for such a candidate adds to the likelihood that he will win the election, reaping pragmatic benefits. The only reason Godly candidates lose is because too few voted for them. When we create imaginary requirements to vote for only one of the two main candidates, we submit ourselves to a system that advocates moral relativity and presses us into making excuses for unrepentantly wicked men like John McCain. (“Is it Immoral to Vote for McCain/Palin? Battle Royale XIII.” TheologyOnline. 08 Oct. 2008.)
It’s the devil’s game to give you two evil choices and act like he’s the good guy by letting you “choose” one. When given choices A and B by the devil, what would Jesus do? The answer is C. When Christ was asked by His disciples, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither…” (John 9:2-3. NIV.) Given two wrong choices, he refuses both.
We are to follow Christ’s example and choose the good that God has provided to us in every choice and circumstance. When we vote we must actively look for the candidate who most effectively stands for His will. When we find such a candidate we should vote for him or write in the name. We are never forced to choose between two evils and never have been. Jesus knew this and lived it. Christ came into this world to make sure we would always have a right choice. With Him, we can stand in faith, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds, and overcome evil with good, because all things are possible through Christ.
To read more, you can explore my previous notes The Lesser of Two Evils: The Devil With His Mask On & McCain: The Other Pro-Choice Candidate.