In the circles in which I move, I sometimes hear remarks like “Well, the outcome of the election is in God’s hands.” I sometimes hear prayers like “O God, stretch forth thy mighty hand and put your candidate in office!”, or “Dear Jesus, please don’t let that awful heathen creep-dog win!”
I sometimes wonder what I would see if I could be present when God intervenes in American politics and rigs the outcome of an election. How do you suppose he would go about it? Being omnipresent, do you suppose he is eligible to vote in every precinct nationwide? What sort of ID would he be required to present?
I am not convinced God is interested in participating in American politics. While there are scriptures that suggest God possesses authority over earthly kingdoms and their leaders, the precise mechanism of exercise of this authority is somewhat obscure to me. When the subject of Religion and Politics was put to Jesus directly, he seems to have responded with impatience. All three accounts (Matthew 22:16-21, Mark 12:14-17, Luke 20:21-25) record that Jesus discerned his questioners were not interested in knowing what was the right thing to do so they could do it; they were interested in tricking him into a bone-headed argument (my interpretation). His answer is famous: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is God’s.” Well, what Caesar required of his subjects was obedience to the law, and taxes. What God requires of all of us in all generations is all our heart, mind, soul and strength. I can see how trivial the issue of mere law and taxes must have seemed to Jesus, of duty to mere earthly authorities.
From this, I derive this principle for living: The encompassing passion, pursuit and purpose of my life is to give to God all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Oh yes, and I have a duty to respect the government that happens to be over me, which in my case means obeying the law, paying taxes and participating in the electoral process.
Sometimes I say to my friends, “The outcome of the election is in our hands; let’s go vote.” And in my prayers I say “God grant me the wisdom to cast my vote wisely. I pray I may have a clear conscience regardless of the outcome. May the principles and values that inform my decision-making be pleasing to you.”
I do not believe God is interested in participating in American politics. I do believe he is interested in participating in the heart, mind, soul and strength of each person.
That’s what I think. How do you see it? If you are a person of faith, do you think your responsibility to represent God at the polls is more imperative or nuanced than I have presented it?