Beware "Christian" voter guides and litmus tests for this--or any--election.
PRAISE GOD AND PASS THE VOTER GUIDES. I am not sure when I started seeing them, but I think it was back in the 1980s. Christian Coalition-type groups started trying to lasso the evangelical votes for their ultra-conservative power block. Pastors and church leaders either did not know what was being purveyed in the voter guides distributed to their congregations or they became complicit in this less than Kingdomly political influence peddling. To me the congregation-targeted distribution of so-called “Christian” voter guides is a breach of a sacred trust.
DISTORTIONS IN OUR WORSHIP FOLDERS. In Indianapolis and Central Indiana, some voter guides are put together by ultra-conservative attorney Eric Miller. Miller’s missives will be delivered to churches to be inserted into worship folders next Sunday. Miller’s “Indiana Family Institute” purports to know and defend what’s best for Christian families and congregations. But Miller has routinely distorted the views and positions of local candidates. Miller and the Indiana Family Institute should be duly regarded for what it actually is--a cheap partisan Republican political operation, not an even-handed nonpartisan Christian organization.
NON ISSUES? Here are ten items I have not seen on a voter guide. Nor have I heard one candidate seriously address these. Add these to the voter guides and some of the so-called “Christian agenda” candidates may well be exposed as the typical politicians that they really are:
1. A demonstrable preference for the poor (Matthew 19:21; 26:31-46)
2. Supports/defends orphans & widows (Deuteronomy 10:18; James 1:27)
3. Favors beating swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4; Joel 3:10)
4. Priority is urban renewal (Jeremiah 29:4-14; Isaiah 61:4)
5. Promotes economic renewal through Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-55; Isaiah 61:1-11; Luke 4:14-21)
6. Will do away with the yoke of oppression (Isaiah 58:6, 9)
7. Exposes idolatry and tears down false idols (see: the life of Elijah)
8. Leads community in public repentance (Jonah 3:6-10)
9. Keeps self from being polluted by the world (James 1:27)
10. Demonstrates compassion and incorporates mercy into public policy (Micah 6:8)
NO MORE LITMUS TESTS, PLEASE. Looking at this list, perhaps the biggest question is whether or not any of us would vote for a candidate – local or national – who rated high on this “litmus test.” Maybe the list best serves to expose the futility of all voter guides as a fair aid to or replacement of the hard work of democracy. Don’t take someone else’s word for it; become familiar with candidates and make responsible choices at the poll.