Monday, October 31, 2016

Questions to consider with regard to the election

This has been a very contentious election season. Even Christians are horribly polarized between what many see as two deeply flawed primary candidates and not sure what to think about a number of alternative candidates whose paths to the White House seem next to impossible. Some people argue that we should vote for the “lesser evil” though they don’t agree who that is. Some argue that we should vote on a single issue despite the perceived character of a candidate. Some argue that we should abandon the major parties and make a statement for the future by “wasting” our vote on a write in.

The following questions are not intended or designed to persuade anyone about whom to vote for. They are designed to help Christians to have a positive discussion about how Jesus’ followers can best represent Him and the Gospel in a very emotional and strife-filled environment. They will hopefully provide helpful insights beyond this election cycle.

The following are not in any order of priority:

1. How can Christians passionately share their beliefs about the election without turning people off who don’t agree with them so that after the election they haven’t lost the opportunity to talk to them about Jesus and the Gospel?

2. Try to totally forget about this year’s candidates and the divisive campaigns and make a list: What are the most important qualities you would like to see in the candidates for president in a future election? In what ways would you like a candidate to be like Jesus?

3. Two very common warnings in the Bible are: (1) to not be deceived, and (2) to not engage in passing on gossip and slander. This year, both candidates have made many big campaign promises and people from both sides have widely publicized a huge amount of false accusations. How can a Christian discern which promises are likely to be fulfilled and find out which accusations are true or false? If a Christian discovers an accusation is false (for example on Facebook), what should they do about it?

4. Why do you think that many Christians are boldly and passionately speaking out about the election far more than they talk about Jesus and the Gospel?

5. What are some things after the election that pro-life Christians can do in order to reduce the number of abortions (1) in our community, (2) in our nation, and (3) in the world?

6. Polls show that a majority of voters this year will vote AGAINST a candidate rather than FOR a candidate. What can we do to try to have candidates inspiring positive votes rather than negative ones for the next presidential election?

7. In a year when people are saying horrible things about the candidate they oppose how should Christians who feel passionately about the election speak in light of the Bible’s commands to “honor” and “respect” those who govern us (even scoundrels like Nero in the 1st century) and to speak with both “grace” and “truth”?

8. Most Christians agree on what they believe the Bible teaches about abortion. What are some important Biblical principles with political implications about the following issues: religious liberty, poverty, racism, immigration, refugees, wealth/greed, tax reform, attitudes toward other nations, attitudes toward non-Christian religions, unclear proliferation, climate change, response to the LGBT community, criminal justice reform, “Black lives matter,” nationalism, war/nation building, economic policy, the relative place of character in candidates, etc.

9. Some Christians supporting Trump and supporting Clinton make statements like “If you’re a Christian, you can’t vote for __________.” Why is there such strong disagreement this year? How do such statements sound to non-Christians? What might be a better way for Christians to express their strong “convictions” about the election?

10. Being pro-life obviously means to oppose abortion. List as may other issues as you can which are also important pro-life issues which Christians should care about.

11. What are some practical guidelines for Christians who want to use Facebook to engage in political debate but don’t want to harm their relationships or damage their witness to lost people? What are some practical guidelines for political posts on FB?

No comments: