I registered to vote when I turned 18 in 1981. I missed the Reagan Train the first time. I did not miss it the second time.
When I was thinking about what Party to register with I talked to my Dad. His advice was pragmatic. Historically, to that point, Oklahoma was a State that was largely Democrat. Oklahoma was conservative Democrat, with maybe the exception of Little Dixie. If I wanted more opportunities to vote, according to his experience, I would need to register as a Democrat.
I still registered Republican.
The year I registered matters – 1981.
My sense of call to ministry came during the early days of the Moral Majority. We were going to take this Country back. Values mattered. We would vote for those who shared our values. We would oppose those who did not. We did not vote about the budget. We did not vote about issues of war. We did not vote about poverty. We did not vote about economic disparity. We did not vote on the climate. We did not vote for equality. We voted in hopes of repealing Roe v Wade. Despite all our protests, we were most often single issue voters.
I was young. I was naive.
Last Fall, like many people, I became concerned over the possibility of a Trump nomination. I wrote about the subject from a variety of angles. Eventually I landed on the possibility that the course of the Evangelical marriage with the Republican Party would lead to the need for a major rupture. It seems that may be true. Trump recently accumulated enough delegates to win the Republican Nomination. All hopes for a brokered Convention and a better candidate faded.
Today Oklahoma is a Republican State. The pendulum swung so hard that we carry the banner for being one of, if not the, most conservative States in the Union. Republicans control Congress and the Governor’s office. I don’t think President Obama carried one County in Oklahoma in 2012. Don’t get me started in the recent Legislative Session in Oklahoma.
Maybe you see the dilemma. A Trump candidacy poses a problem. Like you I have heard countless people suggesting we hold our nose when entering the voting booth come November. The rhetoric about voting for the lesser of two evils is at an all-time high, or so it seems.
Ed Stetzer comes to the rescue.
Despite the harsh words coming from some Evangelicals about what a Trump Presidency might mean, Stetzer goes parabolic. He suggests we think about the Bible. In particular, Ed wrote Christians should not shame or judge others as less righteous if they vote for Trump. He includes that Christians of all stripes vote across the board – Independent, Democrat, Republican. Though he may have left out those who choose not to vote he makes the point there is no room for self-righteousness, no place for religious smugness.
There could not be a better reminder.
So I will now consider what it might mean to vote for Hillary.
Yes, perish the thought say my conservative friends. Don’t do it say my radical Left leaning friends. But, if there is more to a vote than Supreme Court Justices and the overturning of Roe v Wade, then why not think about Hillary?
Did you see what was posted at The Gospel Coalition Website?
Thabiti Anyabwile gave his space over at The Gospel Coalition Website to a member of his church who lays out six reason why Evangelicals, an others, should consider voting for Hillary. If you do not know anything about The Gospel Coalition, this is like waking up in Oklahoma to one of the many earthquakes related to fracking. Well, er, uh, maybe fracking depends on whose study you use.
I confess. A vote for Hillary never, never, entered my mind. But, since Stetzer opened the door for voting as a matter that should not provoke self-righteousness, why not take Nick Rodriguez suggestion into account?
If a mature voter will consider the issue of life to take in poverty, economic disparity, climate change, and equality, then maybe we have indeed moved to a place where the complexities of voting will take center stage. Think about it. Those of us who are part of the waning dominant culture might need to consider a broader platform for issues of life. Is it possible the marriage between Evangelicals and Republicans was a tragic mistake? If so, the next question, is there a Party any Christian group should ally with when it comes to voting season?
The one thing I continue to disagree with is this: there are only two options. And, what Ed reminded me of, whether he knew it or not, is that my vote is my vote and I will not be shamed to vote for Trump or Hillary. While I may re-open my consideration of all possibilities, I still believe it within the bounds of conscience to vote other than either Trump or Clinton, and even to not vote at all.
Remember, Christian, don’t beat your chest thinking you to be more righteous than any other.