BibleChurches throughout the land are encouraging voters to get out to the polls and vote for people who share their biblical values.  The Assembly of God has a website devoted to this cause.  To avoid putting their tax-exempt status at risk, they are careful to avoid specific instructions to vote for a particular issue or candidate, but the message is still clear.  Vote for people who support bible-based policy.

The difficulty being that the bible doesn’t provide a great deal of guidance on economic policy, military strategy, infrastructure investment, or immigration.  This leaves people vulnerable to be swayed by a candidate’s stance on issues the bible (or at least the Evangelical community) is clearer about such as abortion, prayer in schools, and keeping Israel safe.

However, these and most other biblical issues are political non-starters.  Our foreign policy would never turn its back on Israel.  At best we’re quibbling about the fervor of our support.  The abortion question should ultimately be settled by a new law, not the courts.  But no Congress is going to tackle that issue in the foreseeable future.  Getting prayer into schools would require a fundamental re-interpretation of the Constitution, or an amendment to it.  Neither of which is remotely likely.  Yes, it is possible to vote for Presidents and Senators who will appoint and approve judges who will interpret the Constitution to your liking, but that is a very long term and indirect means to achieve an objective.

The result may be that voting for someone based on their bible values alone may well mean voting on issues outside the control of the offices to which you are electing them.  Meanwhile, there are emergent problems facing the country that elected officials can and should be acting on.  Where do your candidates stand on those issues?

Religious values matter in elections because too many people vote based on these politically impotent wedge issues without regard to the actual practicable agenda of those candidates.  Remember, it’s all too easy to stand firmly for things you’ll never be called to act on, to promise what you’ll never be asked to deliver.  Vote on the issues your candidates will actually face.

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