”Unfortunately, there are many who want to tell us what they think will happens and the dozen reason why their predictions are smarter than the myriad of others. Pundits on morning shows compete with pastors in the pulpit to tell us their best guesses about the future of our country, our churches, and our families if we don’t follow their personal game plan. Fear, manipulation, and half-truths are the order of the day. But how often are they right? The anti-Christ has not yet taken over the earth. The Russians haven’t invaded. Things aren’t over no matter which way this election goes. The end of our stories has yet to be finished and the end may still yet be much, much better than the beginning.” – Three Lessons From Election Day
“To all my Reformed friends, sorry that Election Day wasn’t what you had in mind.” – Greg Locke (Twitter)
“All over my FB feed, on the radio, Twitter and elsewhere, I see people saying, “No matter whether or not you are interested in politics, no matter who you support, no matter if you care at all — just go out and VOTE! It’s the American way! etc…, etc….” Um…may I disagree? If you don’t care who wins, if you don’t know yet whom you support, if you are lethargic about politics — feel FREE to set at home and watch some more Jerry Springer. Seriously! It’s your right NOT to vote too. Don’t be bullied into going through a meaningless-to-you process because of peer pressure. If you haven’t educated yourself to the candidates or their positions — relax, stay at home! It’s not a crime to not participate. Seriously. ” – Sarcalogical Perspectives (Facebook)
”We don’t have to freak out on election day. Yes we should vote. Yes we should pray for godly leaders. Yes we should support life. Don’t misunderstand me. But we shouldn’t be overwhelmed with worry or fear. On election day, God laughs. He isn’t worried about the outcome of the election. He isn’t worried about the wrong candidate getting into office.” – God Is Laughing Especially Hard Today
“Didn’t Rock the Vote. I Southern Gospel’ed it.” – Church Curmudgeon (Twitter)
“Between the Christians on both the Right and Left who believe they are selecting a Great High Priest to secure their own view of being the new Chosen People of God, to the holier-than-thou, less-than-conscientious election objectors still serenely spinning from their latest Jesus juke against voting at all, there is only one thing to say: I believe in the Australian ballot — SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE!!!” – Kevin Hozey (Facebook)
“I have been extremely disappointed with Christian activists pastors (Democrat and Republican) who have tried to guilt Christians into voting pragmatically on the basis that a third party vote would be a vote for their opponent. It’s manipulative to say — for example — that a vote for a 3rd party is a vote for Obama (or that a non-vote is a vote for Obama). No, it quite simply is a vote for a 3rd party and a non-vote is a non-vote. Nothing more. If I vote for a 3rd party it means that neither of the major contenders won my vote. This is a free country and while it is a privilege to vote, it is also a privilege to not vote if we are so inclined. It’s also a sacred right to vote one’s conscience. If I have to choose between a Stalin and a Hitler I want the right to not vote. Or, I can choose a 3rd option even if it is obvious that only Stalin or Hitler will win. I have no moral obligation to choose between the “lesser of two evils.” Having said that, however, I voted for Romney/Ryan today. I have my reasons. But they weren’t because of the manipulative logic of activists.” – Bob Bixby (facebook)
“fyi: you just cant fake conservatism!” – Lauren Stephens (facebook)
The 2012 presidential election is now down to its final day. Listen in this evening as political-minded believers Randy Melchert and Scott Oakland join me to discuss what some have suggested to be the most important election of our lifetime (till the next one in four years…). We had an informative conversation that tackled issues such as:
- Is this election as important as everyone says it is?
- Why should we vote if God is sovereign?
- What kind of impact will early voting have on the final results?
- Should we vote for moderate, major party candidates if there are third party candidates with better views?
We also discussed these topics and then made a few predictions along with a brief discussion of a few senate races. Make sure you download this program and then go out and vote!
This was the most difficult election choice I have made since I began voting. I can honestly say I was not sure which way I was going to go until I was actually in the booth. I had narrowed it down to two candidates: Mitt Romney and Virgil Goode.
My conscience will not allow me to cast my vote for the President. His extreme stance on abortion is something I must oppose with every fiber of my being. His redistributionist economic philosophy is nothing I could ever support.
Gary Johnsonof the Libertarian Party is a candidate who intrigues me. I had the privilege of chatting with him in person once and I used
to be a regularly invited guest on his blogger conference calls. By far, Governor Johnson has the best resume of all the other third party candidates. He is bright, bold and charismatic. He is a great communicator well capable of explaining a message of fiscal sanity. However, I was greatly disappointed when he switched his position on gay marriage. When I asked him about it (while he was still the GOP) he assured me that while he supported marriage equality personally, he believed this was best handled on the state level. Once he began his bid for the Libertarian Party nomination he suddenly thought this was a national issue. I also cannot agree with his pro-choice views either.
As for the rest of the third party candidates, only Tom Hoefling of America’s Party stands out as someone I could vote for. However, I can’t take Tom as too serious of a candidate as he has little chance to even make a decent third party showing.
So that leaves two campaigns – Romney/Ryan and Goode/Clymer. This was tough. As I already stated, I didn’t make up my mind till I actually made into the booth. I decided to go with Romney/Ryan. Let me explain…
I like Virgil Goode. I had the honor of meeting him last week when he took time out his busy schedule (the day of the Free and Equal debate) to speak to my students. He was engaging and stuck around to answer every question the students had, even when short on time. He was a gentleman and made his case very well. I love his consistent 100% pro-life record. He has been a champion of conservatism. However, I do not share his views on immigration. The idea of a moratorium on green cards goes way too far in my opinion. I also had to take into consideration the fact that ultimately Congressman Goode will be unlikely to even capture 1% of the vote. He wasn’t even on the ballot in my state (Illinois).
As for Governor Romney, I don’t like the man. In fact, I don’t even trust the man. I lived in Massachusetts while he served as Governor. I was not impressed then. I remember his repeated assertions that he was indeed pro-choice. I remember his statement about being more pro-homosexual than Ted Kennedy. I remember his failure to stand against an activist court as he ordered those under him to begin implementing gay marriage. Flip flop after flip flop enshrines him in my mind as a political opportunist. So, why in the world would I cast my vote for this man? I didn’t. I voted for Paul Ryan.
I’m going to admit it, I love Paul Ryan. I’ve had the privilege of meeting him many times. I’ve had the chance to speak with him and
question him on several different occasions. I am highly impressed with this young man. First of all, he is 100% pro-life – no exceptions. My liberal, feminist friends exploded on Facebook once his selection was announced. That alone might have won my vote! Fiscally, Congressman Ryan is the best qualified to bring us back from jumping into economic abyss and destruction. No, his budget does not balance for several years in the future – but it is a start. His roadmap has been called draconian and heartless even by moderates. I believe it’s the best option we have at the moment that has even a chance of getting passed.
I would love to correct everything wrong with Washington all at once. I love Governor Johnson’s plan to balance to budget tomorrow, but it’s not going to happen. What took years to get off track will not be completely fixed in one election. I no longer buy into the idea that it’s all or nothing. This approach has not brought the all it has promised and has only left with a bunch of nothing.
Am I voting for the lesser of two evils? No. I am voting for the lesser of five evils. There is no perfect candidate. Each candidate is a sinner before God and imperfect before men. I understand the argument that the GOP is not Constitutional enough and is at best leading us to the same fate/destination as the Democrats are trying to lead us, but just a bit slower. I voted for Mitt Romney in order to at very least give our country a little more time before get there. Maybe in that time we will come to our senses as a nation and begin to seriously consider returning back to a purely Constitutional platform. We’re not there yet, we need more time. As for the life issue, I voted for the candidate who can do more for the unborn than the others can. Voting for the candidate who has at least a shot of saving some babies is better than voting for the candidate who has no chance of saving all babies. I would hate to think there will be some children murdered in the womb because I voted for the guy who couldn’t get anything done.
I voted my conscience. I voted for Romney/Ryan. I urge you to vote for which ever candidate your conscience allows you to vote for, even if that differs from my candidate.
Tonight four of the top third party candidates debated in Chicago, hosted by the folks over at Free and Equal Elections. It was refreshing to see new faces debating the issues. It was also nice to see candidates who actually disagreed with each other but also were respectful toward each other.
However, let’s face it – there’s a reason why some of they guys have not found in a place in the two major parties and why they have received so little public support. It seemed as though much of this debate was spent on the issue of drug legalization. While they site polls showing a majority of Americans are for it, there just simply is not a majority of Americans who care enough about it to make a viable issue that will change minds. For the record, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode was the only one on the stage not for legalization.
Larry King may like moderating discussions, but its time for him to say goodbye. He actually forgot to give the candidates time for an opening statement (then giving it to them later, after the questing had begun) and clearly had not done his homework as he kept asking candidate for some basic information about themselves.
Ok, so which candidate won? It’s hard to say because none of the candidates actually attacked each other. Imagine that. The candidates simply stuck to
their own messages instead of trying to come up with the best one-liner… But, I think there was a clear ranking of the candidates based on their performances. I will list there below:
First Place – Gary Johnson. Though I disagree with him on social issues, Governor Johnson was clearly the stand-out candidate of the evening. He was clear, professional, in command of the facts and sounded just like a pro. He received the largest applause lines of the evening. His answers on education were excellent.
Second Place – Jill Stein. I probably disagreed with maybe 90% of what she said, but she came off looking professional. She represented her party very well and gave a clear and reasoned argument.
Third Place – Virgil Goode. This was disappointing to me. I love the Constitution Party. I was once a member and even ran for Congress under their banner. I even had the chance to meet Congressman Goode this morning as I welcomed him to speak to my students. However, Congressman Goode was just not on his game. Though I agreed with 90% of what believes, he was not convincing. He didn’t change anyone’s mind and I think he knew. He kept repeating the fact that no one likes what he is saying. This is not good. This is nothing to be proud of. I love his commitment to the life issue, but needs to bring people on his side, not to be just combative.
Fourth Place – Rocky Anderson. Ok, this guy just sounded nuts to me. He came off as a radical left-wing radical.
Well, as I wrap this up, here are my live tweets through the night.
“A wasted vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in.” – @GovGaryJohnson #debates
@VirgilGoode wants a Constitution amendment implementing term limits. I understand his concerns, but I want freedom in my voting! #debates
“Shamelessly pitching myself here.” – @GovGaryJohnson @debates
I think half the people on this stage have no idea that we are 16 trillion in debt. #debates
@GovGaryJohnson – “Free comes with a price.” He is killing on this question. #debates
I think @VirgilGoode likes saying how much he thinks people don’t like what he has to say. That’s not a winning campaign strategy. #debates
At least the candidates in this debate are respectful towards each other while offering very real differences on policy. #debates
Jill Stein wants the government to pay for all students to go to college. Sure, we have tons of money. Really? Really? #debates
@GovGaryJohnson was exactly correct when it comes to why college is expensive! Government loans bring prices up not down. #debates
I’m thankful at least on guy on this stage is focused one something other than marijuana – @VirgilGoode #debates
Wondering why some of these 3rd party folks are not mainstream – they focus on issues like drug legalization. Every1 else is focused on jobs
If you listen to @GovGaryJohnson, it seems like he’s most passionate about weed. It’s just not a winning issue despite the polls you quote.
Lots of boos in the audience when @VirgilGoode declared he would not fund planned parenthood. #debates
@VirgilGoode is not for drug legalization. #debates
I think @GovGaryJohnson is getting the loudest applause of all the candidates. #debates
@GovGaryJohnson used to believe homosexual marriage was a state issue but when he switched parties he switched views. #debates
@RockyAnderson is coming off as a little off kilter… #debates
Jill Stein of the Green Party is representing her party very well tonight. Professional yet passionate. #debates
So we do opening statements AFTER the first question? Larry King is losing it… #debates
In my twitter feed, its just @stufflebeamrc and I talking about the debate. Where are the @GovGaryJohnson fans?
@VirgilGoode wants to limit campaign financing to only individual contributions. Interesting. @debates
“I’ve always been pro-choice regarding everything.” – @GovGaryJohnson @debates
@VirgilGoode refuses to use federal legislation to overturn a state issue concerning top two ballots though he opposes it. #debates
“Independent, Democrat, Republican – Always conservative.” – @VirgilGoode #debates
The so-called “top two” ballot system is not even close to American, but its not a surprise none of these guys are for it.
I’m rooting for @VirgilGoode tonight! #debates
Third Party Debate ready to go!!! #debates
Let’s face it, we didn’t learn a ton of new information in this debate. Let’s also admit that neither candidate changed anyone’s minds. Let’s just be honest. These debates are merely about style, performance and one-liners. Even when it comes to declaring a winner based on those categories, its hard to say. I am obviously biased toward Romney over Obama, so its hard to look at this objectively. It didn’t help that the topic of foreign policy is not the most exciting topic.
Its time we started asking for real debates. If you want a great example of what a real debate could look like, check out the Newt Gingrich/Herman Cain Lincoln-Douglas style debate held during the primaries. (Side note, I still would love to see Newt debate Obama one-on-one – that would be incredible ) Questions were not merely answered, but explained and examined. The candidates got to question each other. There was no great one-liner because the emphasis was on the conversation, not merely performance.
So, why don’t we have this type of debate? Everyone admits the debates we have been suffering through have been light on substance. The problem is good, deep and probing debates don’t get ratings. People like to see a fight, despite what they actually say.
I say four years from now we make a bold statement and demand something better and accept nothing less. If you are really unsatisfied with the quality of televised debates, turn them off. People take notice of ratings, not complaints.
Maybe tomorrow night’s Third Party debate will be better.
I realize this was not much of post-debate analysis, but it was on my mind at the close of this event. But, hopefully my live-tweeting will make up for it… Here they starting at the bottom and ending at the top.
“I think we all love teachers.” – @bobschieffer – I hope so! #debates
Wisconsin Shout out! Romney wants to win Badgerland! #debates
Ok, let’s be reasonable, folks. Of course Obama keeps mentioning himself – its not childish. The man is defending his record. #debates
Please notice, Obama also completely ducked the question as well. Where is @bobschieffer when you need him? #debates
Obama calling Mitt on his many flip-flops. Obama also playing the OBL card – an effective card only he can play. #debates
Romney completely ducked that question about Israel attacking. Wonder what the President will say. #debates
Obama hits back hard about visiting Israel as a candidate. Powerful, in my opinion. #debates
“You skipped Israel.. and they noticed that you skipped Israel.” – Romney to Obama #debates
I’m standing behind my Romney/Frankenstein comparison earlier. #debates
Romney hitting hard, reminding the President of some inconvenient campaign promises… #debates
“Some times during this campaign it sounded like you would do the same things we would do, but just say it louder.” – President Obama
For a guy who is not thought of in the media and the DNC as a details-guy, Romney seems to be pretty specific and detailed tonight. #debates
Good round for the President. #debates
Does anyone remember when this debate was supposed to be on foreign policy? #debates
Mitt hits the teachers unions, but not teachers. CNN undecided voter ticker didn’t like that comment. #debates
“Nowhere in the world is the influence of America greater than it was four years ago.” – Romney #debates
Mr. President, you’re no Jack Kennedy! #debates
The most shocking thing either candidate could say tonight is, “Hey, maybe we don’t differ all that much on this.” #debates
@pastorbmac the long face, facial expressions while listening Obama – Looks a little Frankensteinish looking. Not a comment on content
The best network to watch for debate coverage – @CNN – I love the undecided voter live ratings and speaking time counts. #debates
Is it just me, or is Romney looking a lot like Frankenstein tonight? #debates
Romney just hit Obama with the Putin comment about more flexibility after re-election. This is a fight. #debates
“Attacking me is not an agenda.” – Mitt Romney #debates
“I know you haven’t been in a position to execute foriegn policy…” – Another great line from President Obama #debates
“The 1980’s are calling and they want their foreign policy back.” – Great line from President Obama #debates
OK, Mitt just mentioned gender equality. Once again, over-compensating for “binders full of women.” #debates
“We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” – Romney #debates
Trying to get past binders full of women, Romney just mentioned women’s rights in the Middle East. #debates
It’s the second-to-last debate this election year… Here we go…
I’ve got to say that I’m going with Paul Ryan as the winner of this debate. But, that being said, I was a little disappointed with his overall performance. When it came to policy, Vice President Biden was in the driver’s seat. Ryan came off sounding ok, maybe even competent, but not as confident or as knowledgeable as the Vice President. His answer concerning troop withdrawal was confusing. But, mainly I think I was expecting much more from the Congressman. However, when it came to economic issues, Ryan was right on track. His two best lines of the night were commenting that the Vice President of all people should know that words sometimes don’t come out right and that there are not enough rich people to tax in order to fund Democratic spending.
The main reason why I chose Ryan as the winner was because of the smugness of Joe Biden. The man simply showed no self-control. The split screen did him in. He couldn’t help but smirk the entire time. On one side of the screen Paul Ryan is talking about terrorist attacks and on the other side Joe Biden had a huge grin plastered on his face. When he wasn’t smirking, he was interrupting. When he wasn’t interrupting he had the audacity to keep begging for a “equal time.” By the way, according to CNN, Biden had more over all speaking time. It just didn’t look good at all. Paul Ryan looked good by simply weathering hurricane Joe. If Biden had been under control, he could have won this debate. He’s a smart guy who knows what he is talking about. He didn’t come off sounding like the elder statesman he is.
Of course, the other factor in all this is my incredible bias toward Paul Ryan to begin with. So I’m not exactly impartial in all this.
The good news for both sides is that this debate will be forgotten by this time next week on the heels of the second Presidential debate.
Well, as is our tradition here at the Thompsonian Times, here are my live tweets during the debate. Remember, the earlier tweets are found at the bottom.
I’m glad Biden had time to squeeze in one last blame Bush moment… #vpdebate
Seriously, Biden is now all of a sudden concerned about equal time? #vpdebate
Biden is quiet all of a sudden. #vpdebate
How does your religion effect your view on abortion – awesome question. #vpdebate
“The last thing we need is another ground war in the Middle East.” – Finally Mr. Biden and I agree on something.
Maybe he should have said “Afgans to do the job” one more time. #vpdebate
So clearly foreign policy is not Paul Ryan’s field of expertise. #vpdebate
Mr. Vice President, with all do respect, close your mouth for a minute… #vpdebate
Ok, this is the Paul Ryan I know – spouting out the numbers and facts like good wonk – this guy knows what he’s talking about. #vpdebate
“There aren’t enough rich people to tax to fund all the spending they want.” – Ryan #vpdebate
Ryan was right, Biden is trying to overcompensate for Obama’s lackluster performance. #vpdebate
Ryan might win this debate just on sympathy and pity alone if Biden keeps going on like this. #vpdebate
Wow, Biden just can’t shut up! Interupting doesn’t help. #vpdebate
You should be watching this debate on CNN. The dial lines are really interesting. #vpdebate
Ok, that round belongs to Biden. #vpdebate
Paul Ryan asks for stimulus money – bad move. Biden has him on the ropes with that one. #vpdebate
“I think the Vice President knows that sometimes words don’t come out right.” – Ryan #vpdebate
That was a hard hit – Ryan asked Biden what the unemployment rate is in Scranton, PA 10%. It was 8% when Obama took office. Ouch! #vpdebate
Janesville shout out! #vpdebate
Biden says we can and we will get unemployment below 6%. What have you done that would give such a statement any credibility? #vpdebate
Biden’s condescension is making up for Ryan’s lack of foreign policy experience. #vpdebate
“This is a bunch of stuff.” – Biden waxing elloquent. #vpdebate
Does Biden know this is a split screen? #vpdebate
Why is Joe Biden smiling while Ryan is describing terrorist attacks? #vpdebate
Ok, so I gotta admit, Paul Ryan looks like a young kid wearing his father’s suit. #vpdebate
Here we go! #vpdebate
2 Catholics squaring off 2night. Many say Biden is more true 2 his faith concerning the poor, but why isn’t any1 talking about the unborn?
Today, pastors from across the country are participating in a direct protest against the IRS. They feel as though their First Amendment rights are being limited, and even their pastoral obligations limited, by a requirement in the federal tax code that prohibits non-profit organizations from endorsing political candidates.
If you have followed this blog for any amount of time you will understand that I am a political nut. I love politics. I can’t get enough. However, this more than just a weird fascination, I believe that we ought to take a keen interest in our government so as to preserve liberty, especially the freedom of religion. However, I do not support this particular protest.
First, churches who are under this status in the tax code – 501(c)3 – had to apply for this status. If they applied for this status any time after 1960, if my memory serves me correctly, then they would have known about this particular limitation. In other words, this is nothing new. They made an agreement. To now all of a sudden decide to go against their part of the agreement does not seem like the right thing to do.
However, let’s look at the other facts. Pastors in these churches are still allowed to endorse any candidate they chose as a private citizen. They still can work on campaigns and actively support the person of their choice – just not officially on behalf of the church. However, they can preach on any topic they wish in their pulpits – be it abortion, homosexual marriage or even us tax code. The only thing they cannot do is endorse a candidate. This does not seem like persecution. In my opinion, the First Amendment is still intact.
Besides, do I really want this in my pulpit on Sunday? I want my pastor deep in the Word unfettered to preach the glories of Christ. Too many pastors are hungry for power and prominence. Unfortunately, the political world offers both. As an Assistant Pastor I once ran for Congress. While I learned a lot in the course of that campaign, I also learned the expectations that come along with preachers who enter into the political fray. At least in the political circles I traveled, I was expected to be a one-trick pony. Every message has to be about abortion, or the horrors of the welfare system, or traditional marriage or the lost Christian heritage America once had. In 2008 that list was amended to include sermons against black liberation theology. People start losing interest outside of those topics. After my campaign I had one person visit my church only to leave disappointed because my message had nothing to do with anything on that list.
Since then I cannot tell you how many TEA party gatherings I have attended. Once people find out I am a Christian School teacher, I get the same questions. They assume I want the poor to get a job, liberals to get saved, and for God to take over America again. Oh, and stand up against President Obama’s Black Liberation Church (even though he is secretly a Muslim).
Basically you are called upon for backup and affirmation for the conservative assault on the liberal agenda. People want to feel better about their political convictions and look for a man of God to give them their reassurance. This is why I don’t want my pastor dipping his toe into political waters too much. Instead, I want him doing the work of ministry, studying the Word, and truly preaching with freedom each week. My fear is pastors invested too much in the political world feel an obligation outside of the Word to touch on topics just to make certain segments happy or to sound conservative enough.
That doesn’t mean the preacher should feel timid to approach political topics, however. Sound the alarm loudly against abortion! It’s in the Word, Preach it! Stand firm on a Biblical definition of marriage even though our society is coming to terms with it. But, you also need to preach the Word about compassion for the poor. Social justice shouldn’t be an evil concept just because some on the liberal side emphasize it.
I greatly appreciate the ministry of my pastor. Even this morning he warned us about getting distracted, alarmed and being led astray by those proclaiming the end is near and by those indulging in every conspiracy theory they hear. God has used him as a constant reminder to me to place my confidence in the Cross of Christ alone. As best he can he shackles me to the Word, not wanting me to float away from Christ on the wings of a political candidate or movement. I thank him for that.
But as I close, I am not suggesting Christians need to abandon their civic duty. Vote! And cast an informed vote! Know what is happening in your country, state and local governments. Speak up on issues that you feel strongly about. Support candidates and attend rallies. I will. I will continue to post my political thoughts on this blog (looking forward to Thursday’s VP debate!) This is important stuff. We need good candidates who will help create economic growth. We need people in office to fulfill their Romans 13 obligation to protect what is right and punish what is wrong. Government is a creation of God and God’s people should not in any way neglect it or render it irrelevant. However, we must not allow that commitment to overshadow everything else.
Our confidence is in Christ. Christ is our life. Let your pastor preach that message today.