voting-machinesRev. Kim Riddlebarger posted a Personal “Voting Guide” on July 18, 2007, a year before the 2008 presidential elections in which the major party candidates were then senators John McCain and Barack Obama. Note that he says that in most presidential elections thus far, he has voted for the “lesser of evils.” Also notice that all of the issues back in 2008 are in even more focus this year.

I agree with all of his criteria, especially as a Christian voter. And as a pastor, my duty is not to make political recommendations from the pulpit, but to encourage the congregation to vote wisely, knowing what the Bible says about many of today’s issues.

To summarize, some of the major issues in this “Voting Guide” that are even more important issues this year are: (1) abortion; (2) tax policy; (3) Supreme Court appointments; (4) same-sex marriage; (5) federal spending on welfare; (6) big government; (7) Second Amendment rights; (8) First Amendment rights, especially freedoms of religion and speech; (9) national security and terrorism; (10) racial issues; (11) experience in governing; and (12) personal integrity.

So here’s his “Voting Guide”:

Many people (in our congregation and readers of this blog) have asked me about my thoughts on particular candidates in the upcoming presidential elections. To put it bluntly, I’m not thrilled with any of them (at least not yet).

Rather than speak of individual presidential candidates, I thought I would post some of the criteria I will be using when I make my final choice. Perhaps, you will find this helpful. These apply to other state and national elections as well.

Like every other presidential election I can remember, my vote next time will probably be some form of a “lesser of evils” choice. It has been a long time since I voted for someone with great enthusiasm. But as Christian citizens, we must do our due diligence and weigh our vote carefully.

Since the focus of this blog is primary theological, I am reluctant to discuss presidential politics. But this might be of help to some of you. Again, the following list is largely descriptive, not prescriptive (i.e., this is how I will choose my candidate, not how you should choose yours).

Here, then, are a few of my personal criteria:

I. Moral issues:

1. Is the candidate “pro-abortion” (i.e., supports partial birth abortion and federal funding for all abortions)? I will not vote for such a candidate.

2. Is the candidate “pro-choice” (i.e., personally opposed to abortion, but defends a woman’s privacy over against state intrusion)? Under very limited circumstances I would vote for such a person (that is, if the person is an otherwise sound candidate, does not advocate federal funding and if they are running against a pro-abortion candidate).

3. Is the candidate politically pro-life (i.e., a generic conservative)? Perhaps.

4. Is the candidate consistently pro-life (i.e, in tax policy, supreme court appointments, etc). Likely.

5. Does the candidate favor homosexual marriage? I will not vote for such a candidate.

6. Does the candidate favor civil unions? Under very limited circumstances I would vote for such a person (i.e, only if they were an otherwise sound candidate, and only if they are running against a gay-marriage advocacy candidate).

7. Does the candidate support the traditional definition of marriage? Likely.

8. Does the candidate express their concern about the poor and suffering through the advocacy of increased federal spending and centralized government programs? Unlikely.

9. Does the candidate express their concerns about the poor and suffering through the advocacy of federal/state/community programs involving job training, welfare reform, etc. Perhaps.

II. Constitutional Issues

1. Does the candidate favor limited representative government? Likely. This is my primary voting criterion.

2. Does the candidate defend second amendment rights? Likely.

3. Does the candidate understand that the establishment clause of the first amendment does not trump the free exercise clause? Likely.

4. Does the candidate defend the principle of avoiding all foreign entanglements (i.e., nation building), but nevertheless is willing to defend America’s citizens and vital interests when necessary? Likely.

5. Does the candidate defend private property rights? Likely.

III. Disqualifications–Personal Reasons Why I Will Not Vote for a Particular Candidate:

1. Does the candidate engage in rhetorical class warfare–“two Americas,” “tax the wealthiest Americans” etc?

2. Does the candidate play the race card? (This is different than addressing racial issues–something which is vital)

3. Does the candidate have a thin resume for office? Executive office holders (i.e. governors) are generally better suited for high office than is a legislator (i.e. senators).

4. Does the candidate make unsubstantiated concerns (i.e. global warming) important themes of their campaign?

5. Does the candidate invoke “Christian America” themes?

6. Does the candidate see the judiciary as a means of enacting public policy?

IV. Qualifications–Personal Reasons Why I Will Vote for a Candidate

1. Is the candidate well-qualified for the position?

2. Does the candidate understand the vocation of “public service”?

3. Does the candidate possess strong leadership skills?

4. Does the candidate possess good communication skills?

5. Does the candidate manifest personal integrity?

6. Does the candidate understand the great threat posed by militant Islam?

A Christian’s Personal “Voting Guide”