Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Guiding Principles I Follow in the Voting Booth

During an election cycle we hear ads from candidates who offer contradictory "facts" to convince you that the other candidate is the embodiment of evil and that they are fundamentally different. It is easy to get caught up in these ads - and the fear mongering that is so prevalent - and not know exactly how one should vote. A number of years ago - and in no small part due to the influence of Francis Schaeffer, Russ Moore, and others - I developed a three principle method of evaluating candidates. I provide it here in hopes it may help you as you face the voting booth.

On July 4, 1776 the Founding Fathers of the United States declared: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It seems to me that this provides a good three principle paradigm for evaluating candidates: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

There is no right more fundamental than the right to life. Every person who advocates a pro-choice position does so only because their own mother chose life. Think about that for a minute. I recognize there are difficult situations people find themselves in and circumstances that are often less than ideal for a pregnancy. Yet, none of those situations or circumstances justify the killing of an innocent child.

Mother Teresa once said, “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child... A direct killing of the innocent child, 'Murder' by the mother herself... And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?" And, she got to the heart of the matter - the real reason our culture advocates abortion - when she said, "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

Therefore, when I vote, the first principle that guides me is whether a candidate is pro-life. This, in my estimation, is the most practical way to ensure that every person's right to LIFE is protected.

To some people this seems to contradict the first principle. But, it does not. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The Founding Fathers had experienced the tyranny of King George and had openly rebelled against that tyranny. They were able to do so because they were armed. In their day a militia was a group of ordinary citizens who formed to defend an area or region. It was a precursor to the present day military. Yet, the right to keep and bear arms was not inextricably tied to the idea of the military, as some presume today. Rather, the right of citizens to rebel against tyrannical government necessitates those citizens posses the right to keep and bear arms.

The Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our Creator with the right to LIBERTY. The way we ensure our liberty is protected is not by trusting that the government will take care of protecting it for us. Rather, each individual has the right to protect their liberty on their own. So, the second principle that guides me is whether a candidate supports the 2nd amendment.

The third principle that guides my voting decisions is whether a candidate favors smaller government and lower taxes. This principle comes out of the Declaration as well. We are endowed by our Creator with the right to the pursuit of happiness. It is difficult to pursue happiness if the government continually takes more and more of one's income.

So, there they are. Three principles that help guide the way I vote. Whether you agree with these or not, I encourage you to develop principles that will help guide your time in the voting booth. It will be much easier to sift through the hundreds of political ads!

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