Pastor's Corner

November 2020

On Voting as a Christian

Many of you are likely disappointed to see the title of this month’s Pastor’s Corner. After all, it seems that wherever we turn, we hear about nothing but the election. Do we really want to hear about it from our pastor, too? And shouldn’t our church take a neutral stand on politics? Isn’t that required of us as a non-profit organization, and shouldn’t we be concerned about preaching the Word of God rather than mundane questions about who should be placed into positions of power in our republic?

I myself have decided not to preach about the election. If I attend Divine Service, I do so not to focus on worldly matters that clamor for my attention throughout much of the rest of the week, but to offer worship and praise to my God in Christ, and to receive with thanksgiving the blessings He gives through His holy Word and blessed Sacraments, all in the company and encouragement of my household of faith, my brothers and sisters in the Lord Christ Jesus. I try not to offer to my congregation in my own preaching what I would not appreciate myself if I were on the receiving end of that preaching.

I will, of course, include the election in this weekend’s prayers. St. Paul urges “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1–2). I will pray that God guide our voters to make wise choices, for the protection of life (especially that of the unborn, which continues to be under daily threat through the national scourge of legal abortion) and liberty (especially for us and our fellow Christians, whose right to worship and live our lives according to our consciences is threatened by proposed legislation that would force us to acknowledge and participate in same-sex marriage and transgenderism). That is the extent of my planned injection of “politics” into our public worship.

But I can’t shake the sense of responsibility to share with you, in this forum at least, a little bit more of my own views on our responsibility as voters whose first loyalty is to our God in Christ, a loyalty recognized and protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I have my own convictions that I can certainly regard as political rather than religious. I voted early in person myself, and as I cast my votes for all contested offices, I took into consideration such factors as economics, the promotion of peace in our foreign policy, the effects of protracted coronavirus lockdowns on the wellbeing of our citizens, border security, and other matters that, while not hermetically sealed off from my faith, are nevertheless matters of genuine political debate even among Christians. But two matters, at least, are not up for debate for us Christians: the protection of unborn human life, and the protection of the Christian conscience as the sexual revolution continues its path of devastation through our society.

The fact of the matter is that the two chief candidates for the highest office in the land have fallen on different sides of these two core issues for Christians. One supports allowing states to place extensive restrictions on abortion, even outlawing it entirely (God grant it!), while the other is committed to nationally protecting a woman’s right to secure the violent death of her child in the womb at whatever stage of pregnancy (good Lord, deliver us!). One supports the legal protection of the individual conscience when it comes to refusing participation in the celebration and promotion of same-sex marriage and transgenderism, while the other supports legislation called the “Equality Act,” which would further erode our ability as Christians to follow our conscience, not only in the way we worship, but also in the way we live our lives and conduct ourselves in society. Most of you already know which major candidate falls on which side of these issues. If you are unsure about this, please get in touch with me.

There is much, much more that could be said about both major candidates. There is much to be said about the personal character of each. There is much to be said about the impact of each candidate’s policies on the general wellbeing of our citizens and those around the world. But their positions on these two core issues for us Christians leaves no room for debate. Please, if you have not already cast your vote, as you prepare to do so on Election Day, vote not only according to your political inclinations, your relationships and affiliations, and your personality preferences, but according to your conscience, knowing that we are answerable to God for how our decisions at the ballot box impact His people, together with the littlest, most vulnerable among us. God grant us wisdom and courage as we participate in the governance of the republic that He has entrusted to our care.

God's Blessings,

Pastor Neuendorf

 
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