I am not voting for a Pastor-in-Chief
The majority of Christians I know are not voting for a candidate they like. But they will vote. Voting is an American sacrament, and not taking the sacrament is an American blasphemy. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a bad thing that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not vote. I have argued that giving third-parties a fair voice, or even letting the public know they exist, is a good start. I would love to see most Americans vote ( I am sure some contributors of Kuyperian Commentary are not on the same page); I would like a well informed populace, because I do think politics matter. I do care about who are our local officials will be, and I do care about who will represent us nationally (the order listed is the order of importance in my estimation). At the same time, I am deeply concerned about the nature of this year’s political season. Christians who once roared the horrors of their own party after George Bush’s disastrous presidency are now behind the man who I believe will make Bush look like a Libertarian.
When we, Moral Libertarians, Small Government Conservatives, offer a differing opinion on the matter, when we suggest that this election cycle may be a time to re-consider our strategy, turn the tide, and so on, then we are viewed as heretics and unpatriotic. Justin Donathan has argued the nature of true patriotism, so I do not feel the need to opine.
But are we blind here? Have we succumbed to some form of perfectionism, as many argue? Are we expecting too much from our candidates? Or more to point, do we think we are voting for a Pastor-in-Chief instead of a Commander-in Chief? Let me say from the outset that I have no such expectation. Huckabee, our resident Republican pastor, was a candidate in 2007. His policies were to compassionately save the world. His economics were absurdly Keynesian, and he lacked the ability to convey consistent policies. I would even assert that most pastor-types involved in politics have not thought beyond the important social and moral issues of the day. Even as a godly Southern Baptist, I would not have voted for Huckabee, though he is a lot more tolerable than Romney. So a pastor is not the answer.
In fact, I do not want a pastor. A pastor’s role is an ecclesiastical one. I prefer to keep the pastor serving and shepherding his people, granting them absolution from sin, and administering the Word and Sacrament. Then I want that pastor to thunder the authority of Jesus over every earthly rulers as often as it is possible. The pastor’s job is inherently political. Finally, I want that pastor denying any access to the Table of our Lord to any parishioner or politician who lives in sin or who condones the murder of the unborn (yes, that’s you, John Kerry and Joe Biden!).
So what am I expecting? I am expecting a man who loves his God, his country, and his family. A man who though not theologically versed in all the ins and outs of systematic theology is still faithful enough to know that righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people. I am expecting to vote for a humble man who does not seek power unto himself, but who wants to give power to the people; a man who does not want to see government grow, but rather see it diminished to its proper Biblical and Constitutional size.
I do not want to vote for a pastor in chief. In fact, I do not want the president opining over theological disputes in any tradition. I simply want him to desire what God desires.