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Politicians and the People Who Vote for Them

Leonid Brezhnev once said, "The trouble with free elections is, you never know who is going to win." We don't know who is going to win the upcoming presidential election. But we do know it will make history. In less than two months Americans will have elected either our first African American President or our first female vice-president. And while we don't know who will win, thanks to the media and a host of political pundits and "experts," practically all of us are absolutely certain about who ought to win! My point here is not to discuss politics per se or debate which individual would be the best President or Vice-President. No, instead of focusing on the sorry or sterling character and qualifications of politicians, let's consider for a moment the character and qualifications of those who vote for and elect them – us! Especially those of us who are Christians. What is our responsibility toward our country and toward those who run for and attain positions of public service? There is much talk about what they owe us. But what do we owe them, and especially those with whom we disagree? Sometimes I wonder why anyone would want the job of being President of the United States. You'd have to be on another planet not to hear the sad, sadistic and insulting things said about and blamed on our current President. The amount of verbal dirt heaped on George W. Bush these past few years would no doubt fill the Grand Canyon with a train load or two left over. And the dirt is not being dumped just by people who get paid to trash him. How frequently do you hear some average citizen blathering on about the President and about what he ought and ought not to do about everything from taxes to terrorists? How tragic the President is not privy to the expertise & deep insight which dwells so abundantly in millions of average American citizens!

I don't have any axes to grind here, and I don't have a political agenda. I'm certainly not trying to suggest the personal character and political policies of political leaders is not important or that their moral beliefs and behaviors should be ignored. I am simply trying to remind us God has some things to say to Christians about our role as citizens and our attitude and responsibility toward political leaders and public servants. Though written by an ancient king to people living under a king, Ecclesiastes 8:2 enunciates a vital Biblical principle about the relationship between those who govern and those governed by them —"Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God." Substitute "government" for the word "king" in that verse and in essence you have the same principle taught as in Romans 13:1-7 where the subject is the Christian's relationship to governing authorities. This passage and others teaches us to pray for and honor and obey them (1 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1). At issue here is not whether you agree with a particular political leader or not. At issue is whether or not you respect authority, especially God's. Regarding those who guide and govern our land, God's message is loud and painfully clear: show them some respect — if not for the person, at least for the position. Will you think about it?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ