By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
We no longer live in a simple Democrat or Republican world. It’s no longer about whose policies are best for the greater good of the country. We have transitioned into a government where it is liberal versus conservative. It’s morality versus amorality.
Americans will go to the polls on Nov. 6. This is the last print issue before the election.
As editor of a religious publication I have no right or authority to tell anyone to vote for any individual and certainly not any political party. But I do have a moral responsibility to encourage our readers and members of our Baptist churches to vote.
To not vote is not an option. Trust me, I know that many times the vote we cast is the “lesser of two evils.” It’s a sad commentary on our society when we don’t have an overabundance of good, quality men and women who can lead our country. Remember, too, with Veteran’s Day around the corner, the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the freedom we enjoy.
I have been voting ever since I turned 18 years old. In my 42 years of casting ballots, I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents. I have always tried to adhere to the policy of voting for the person, not the party.
If I thought a Democrat was the best person for the office, he or she got my vote. The same held true for Republicans or Independent candidates.
Sadly, it is getting harder to find worthy people from either political party. There are some on both sides, but not nearly enough.
So, what are we to do? Here’s a few suggestions.
First and foremost, pray. And then pray some more. God is still on His throne. I believe strongly in the message found in II Chronicles 7:14, KJV: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Secondly, don’t base your decision on who to vote for based on political ads. If I selected my candidate based on radio or television ads, I couldn’t vote. I am so tired of ads that tell me how bad the opponent is. I am more likely to favor ads that tell me what a candidate stands for and what he or she can accomplish. But I can’t remember when I have heard or seen one of those ads. It’s imperative that we research our candidates. Read articles from a multitude of sources. Find out where each candidate stands on issues that are important to you and vote for that person.
Third, and hard as it may be, find a candidate who has values similar to yours. They may not line up exactly, but more likely than not, one candidate will share more of your values than will the other one. Support the candidate who most matches your values and belief system.
Two years ago, before the last presidential election, we ran an article based on an interview with Kenyn Cureton, vice president for church relations with the Family Research Council based in Washington, D.C., and a former Tennessee Baptist pastor. He addressed the question of how to vote for a president when many people were expressing concern there was not a viable option.
Cureton said “every believer must follow his or her conscience, which is a hallmark of Baptists.”
He also noted that the question “should not be about whether or not to vote but which vote is most likely to bring the best opportunity for health and well-being for the nation,” citing Jeremiah 29:7.
Cureton further suggested that people “vote for the candidates who offer the best opportunity to further righteousness and against those who would further sin.”
Those were timely words two years ago and they are still applicable in 2018.
Pray for our nation and go to the polls and vote your conscience. Not voting is not an option.