Originally published on RodMartin.org
by Rod D. Martin
August 26, 2016
This year – like every year – we are faced with imperfect candidates between whom we must choose.
As I write this, the context is Donald Trump, whom many conservatives find appalling, and against whom I fought in the primary. But I stress the words “every year.” I have been politically active since I was a teenager, and yet I’ve only rarely had the chance to vote for my preferred candidate post-primary, at least at the Presidential level.
Some suggest withdrawing from the process as a viable option. Others join third parties (and it’s important to note: in all of American history, no third party has ever elected, or come close to electing, a President, although several have caused the other side to win).
I contend, and have always contended, that these are almost never good options. The advocates of these “options” say they are “voting their principles” in the seeming assumption that no one else has any. I have written, spoken and lived my principles on this for decades.
It is finally time I write them down in a comprehensive form.
Principle 1: It is almost never “the lesser of two evils,” only “the better of two choices.” We hear this argument ceaselessly. But it’s less Christian than humanistic. It suggests there’s an option to have candidates who aren’t fallen. That isn’t going to happen.
Some say we should apply the Bible’s standards for elders to our candidates. Generally speaking, I agree. But we have to remember that they are not actually candidates for elder, and that unlike in a church setting, someonewill be elected regardless of whether they meet our preferred standards.
— A slightly shorter version of this essay first appeared in the Florida Baptist Witness.