Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. Psalm 146:3, ESV
Genesis 25 contains a few paragraphs describing how Esau, the twin of Jacob, or Israel, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham, sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup. In a cultural context, a birthright was the most important thing that a son could inherit from his father. Esau, because of his hunger, decided to sacrifice the best thing in his life for something that he wanted, and thought he needed to meet an immediate need. He never let his father know what he had done, and neither did Jacob, because later on he had to conspire to deceive his father in order to get the blessing.
What many Christians in this country are doing now is selling their birthright, so to speak, for the bowl of soup that is political influence and power. There, I said it. I studied theology at a seminary, so I know that this is not a literal interpretation of the scripture, and I’m not using it to bring across a Biblical objective. I’m using it as a comparison in order to explain what I see happening. Some Christian leaders are sacrificing their reputation and their integrity, in effect, their testimony, which is one of the most important aspects of their witness, in exchange for the remote possibility that a particular candidate for President will name the “right” people to the Supreme Court, if he gets the chance.
Now I really do want to put some accurate hermeneutical principles to work. Look at that verse I cited from Psalms. Is staking your reputation on the vague promises of a presidential candidate who is already noted as being the most notorious liar ever to run for President of the United States worth it? Do you really want to take a chance on putting that out there against the very remote, and highly unlikely possibility that he might actually nominate the kind of Supreme Court justice that you think you need?
And what is it that a Supreme Court justice will do for the cause of Christ that you don’t think God can do?
In spite of objections to the contrary, and the now popular statement among some Christians that “We’re not electing a pastor in chief, we’re electing a commander in chief,” which is nothing more than a complete and total cop-out, the fact of the matter is that the entire “Christian Right” movement within the Republican party owes its existence and influence to its emphasis on the importance of values, principles and character in the person of the candidate who is running for President. Character is not just an important element of a candidate’s campaign, it is the ONLY element of it. The politics of position and platform are secondary to the character of the candidate, and that is exactly how the leadership of the Christian right has promoted itself since 1980. We are, indeed, electing a commander in chief, and we want someone who has the moral character to make the right decisions that go along with those responsibilities.
The day after this election, the church in America will still be in desperate need of revival. That need won’t change, regardless of who is elected, and nothing will be done to meet it regardless of who is elected. The cause of Christ will not be advanced by any decision about who becomes a Supreme Court justice. And God will not be deterred or moved from his will or his plans. But you will have to live with your own conscience, and you will have to live with the consequences of determining that your politics are more important than your religion.