By Mark A. Taylor
In the face of nonstop media coverage leading up to Election Day, many in the United States are tired, cynical, or bored by it all. But that’s not me.
On Election Day, I will not give in to the naysayers.
Yes, I’m appalled by the millions and millions of dollars spent, often with little effect, to woo voters toward one candidate or position.
Yes, I’m weary of the half-truths and media spin. I’m suspicious that what we see in political ads, Internet posts, and major interviews is a thin façade hiding unsavory truths and off-the-record deal making that politicians don’t want us to see.
Imperfect though it be, our system of government is better than any other the world has created. And most of the rest of the world knows this. Ask the protestors on the streets of Burkina Faso. Talk to refugees hiding from Islamic militants in Middle East makeshift camps. Speak with Eastern Europeans fearing an end to their newfound independence.
But neither will I place heartfelt hope in government or political leaders. The fact is that every system created by man is infected by man’s sinful impulses. Pride, power, and personal gain motivate too many who have them to keep seeking more—even though they never satisfy.
Every president or senator or governor eventually disappoints. Every one. Failing to realize this, we place too much hope in elected officials, and may, as Timothy Keller observes in Counterfeit Gods, actually feel agitated or afraid if our candidate loses. Keller calls this idolatry. “It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods,” he wrote. (If you haven’t read this gem of a book, get it before the next election and especially consider Chapter 5, “The Power and the Glory.”)
I refuse to invest ultimate hope in an elected official. I will study the issues, and I will support candidates whose positions seem not to undermine biblical righteousness.
But I realize we’ll never elect someone to create Heaven on earth. And I acknowledge that other Christians, with similar motives to please God with their vote, may choose my candidate’s opponent or argue against a cause I support.
That’s OK. It’s just politics. It’s just human government in a system tainted by sin.
My wife and I will vote today. I’ll stay up tonight to see if the Republicans take the Senate and whether this election will do anything to break gridlock in Washington.
It’s all fascinating to me. It’s all important. But it’s not ultimate. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”