Jeff Walton is Communications Manager for the Institute on Religion & Democracy and directs the Anglican program. He graduated in 2001 from Seattle Pacific University and is a member of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA.
If you want to be in a church in which the pastor tells you how you should be voting in this coming election, you are surely in the wrong church, although there are and have been historically many such churches. Most of us have strong feelings about the issues and the candidates, and, quite rightly, we believe one aspect of Christian discipleship in America is following the political process closely and working and voting for the candidates we feel are best. Our right to elect our own leaders is a fearsome privilege for which our forebears died, and not to vote is irresponsible. But I have never felt that part of my responsibility is to publicly advocate a particular party or candidate.
Frankly, God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Very few candidates when elected accomplish what they promise in their campaign. Governing and the political process are at best only capable of limited success in protecting our country. Parties, platforms, and people are all flawed, so we support those we feel are best equipped to serve our nation, without putting our ultimate hope in them. To me personally, issues that seem paramount for our nation’s welfare are the preservation of religious freedom, the precious sanctity of human life, provision for the poor and an economical approach that enables people to support themselves but provides for those who cannot, a military that is strong and restrained, and a common commitment to work hard across party lines to seek agreement on the things that are most clearly understood as right for our country.
I think, for example, the moral implications for our country of holding to the biblical understanding of marriage are staggeringly important. We must not lose hope that men and women of integrity and wisdom can break through the current gridlock in Congress, but they must be courageous and able to compromise at the same time. We should be profoundly grateful for everyone who is willing to run for public office. We pray that God will help us, as a nation, to live up to our best intentions, not turn away from us because of our grievous sins. Our Christian responsibility to pray humbly for America has never been greater, whatever the election’s outcome.Google+