August Newsletter Article – Religious Voting?

Here is a newsletter article by Pastor Adam Moline of Immanuel and St John Lutheran Churches in Hankinson, ND. We welcome newsletter articles or other articles that may be of interest to our readers submitted to us for posting on BJS .. simply click here or click on the sidebar where it says “Have a question or an article that you want to submit for consideration here? Contact Us and we’ll consider it.”

 

Dear Friends,

Well the time is almost upon us again:  the every four year presidential debacle.  This brings up a rather “heady” topic that I would like to address in this month’s newsletter.  Please bear with me and remember, as your pastor I would like to remain outwardly neutral as far as the candidates go.  I have my own opinions, but it is not my place to tell you to vote for one person or the other.  However, there are two questions that I keep getting asked that I would like to address.  (As I do, I will do my best to remain neutral in this debate.)

The two questions are as follows:  “Pastor, are Mormons Christian?” and “I can’t vote for a non-Christian can I?”  I’ll take these questions one by one.

I would like to start with addressing the second question:  “Can a Christian vote for and elect a non-Christian into office?”  Within the Lutheran Church, we firmly hold to the scriptural idea of two kingdoms:  an earthly kingdom, and a heavenly kingdom.  God is king and ruler of both, but he operates in different ways to rule each kingdom.

Easiest to understand is the heavenly kingdom, as God rules his church by means His Holy Word.  His work in this kingdom is to create faith in Christians through the means of Grace.  (Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Word.)  Thus the church falls under this kingdom, and within the church we are to be subject to nothing else but God and His Word.  In this kingdom, people are taught the faith, and learn to be pious and faithful people.  This kingdom deals with spiritual things only.

On the other hand is the earthly kingdom.  God rules in the earthly kingdom as well by means of secular government and rulers.  God has allowed the rulers that exist today to rule by only His own will and authority.  He gives governments and rulers the power of the sword: that is to rule with force and power.  Their duty is to maintain peace and justice in our earthly world – in relation to life, liberty, and property on earth.  They are not to be involved in spiritual matters (hence our issues with the Health and Human Services Mandate).

So in the earthly kingdom, God allows earthly rulers to protect and defend their people.  In other words, the Prime Minister of England rules under God’s allowance.  In the same way, the President of Iran rules that country under God’s allowance – even as he does it without true faith.  God allows all leaders of the world to rule and protect their people – to provide for their earthly needs, not spiritual.

In terms of the earthly kingdom, what one’s faith is does not matter.  We have examples like Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar in Scripture – faithless kings that God appointed to rule for a time.  Similarly, in our own world, be the ruler a Turk or a Jew or a Hindi, they all rule only because the one true Trinitarian God has allowed them to be in that position.  Whoever rules is allowed to be in that position by God’s good and gracious will.  God then works through the things that ruler does, for good or ill, to protect and care for the people of the earth in terms of worldly goods.

So when you go to the ballot this November (or at any election for that matter), don’t base your vote on the reported “religion” of the person running for office, instead vote for the person you believe will do the better job caring for your earthly needs.  Who will give you more opportunities, who will allow you to get a better job, who will protect you militarily, etc.  In the secular earthly kingdom, faith is not the chief measure.  Luther himself famously said, “I’d rather be ruled by a smart Turk then a dumb Christian.”  In other words, keep religion out of politics, and trust that God will do His work no matter who is in charge.

As for the Mormon religion itself, no it is not Christian, no matter what Mormons might claim for themselves.  Since the founding of the Christian faith at the resurrection of Jesus (And even before that in Old Testament times) the Christian faith has been monotheistic.  Monotheistic means that we believe in only one God.  The Athanasian Creed itself says, “Whosoever desires to be saved must believe above all else the catholic faith…And the catholic faith is this:  We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity etc.”

Throughout the ages, this Trinitarian God has been the center of the Christian faith.  Even in scripture itself the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is declared to be One God.  The Mormon religion denies this simple fact.  They do not believe in a trinity, but instead have uncountable numbers of “gods.”  In addition, the god that they most often reference, “the Father,” they believe was once a human just like you and me.  This human lived a good life, and now no longer human but divine.

With these false teachings (and more), their “church” ceases to be truly Christian, and instead joins the ranks of countless non-Trinitarian cults.  There are many other dangerous teachings and beliefs that they wrongly hold.  These short comings, however, are in the heavenly kingdom.  They have a false faith.  But in the purely secular earthly realm however, they are often very “moral” and “nice” people.

Bottom line, go and vote, but remember to vote your conscience, not religion.  If you believe current President Obama will do a better job than Candidate Romney based on secular credentials, by all means vote for him, and vice versa.  But as a good Lutheran, please do not vote for someone only based upon their religious faith.  For even if a non-Christian is the earthly ruler, remember, they are there because the one eternal heavenly king and ruler God has consented that they be there for a time.  He will work through their rule to bring about his will.

In Christ,

Pastor Adam Moline

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

August Newsletter Article – Religious Voting? — 39 Comments

  1. So far as I can see there are at least two moral issues that every Christian should consider and each make it impossible to vote for Pres. Obama (though not necessarily making Mitt Romney a good choice). 1) What is marriage? Are you loving your neighbor to go silently along with the sodomite lifestyle? 2) Will the candidate I vote for defend the defenseless and protect life? (Don’t get me started on the republican desire to go to war for Israel at every turn.)

  2. “Bottom line, go and vote, but remember to vote your conscience, not religion. If you believe current President Obama will do a better job than Candidate Romney based on secular credentials, by all means vote for him, and vice versa.”

    These statements contain the fallacy of the false dilemma (aka, the fallacy of the excluded middle). The first statement falsely assumes that one’s religion has nothing to do with one’s conscience. In fact, one’s religion (and those of the candidates), in addition to other secular views and information, most certainly goes into one’s conscience in consider the worthiness of voting for various political candidates.

    The second statement falsely assumes that one’s conscience must lead one to vote for either Barry or Mitt. In fact, there are typically other third-party candidates listed on the ballot one may vote for. In addition, as I sometimes have seen in elections over the past four decades, none of the candidates listed on the ballot deserves to be elected. In such a case, one may follow his conscience and not vote for any candidate for that office, rather than to vote the lesser of two evils.

    Any claim by an American Christian that one must vote for one or another candidate for a particular office is both unAmerican and unChristian.

  3. My third party vote does not elect that person, as I have learned by previous experience.
    What abstention would do to the balance of the “front runners” is something to pray about, I suppose.

    The choice between Ayn Rand’s “Greed is Good” and Planned Parenthood’s “It’s only a baby if you want it.” is not very appealing!

    And I’m not dumb enough to think that voting for “Greed” is going to make me any better off! 🙁

  4. One needed reform for the elective process (other than ongoing election fraud), is to allow each voter a complete vote for each elective office, rather than the effective “half-vote” one gets now. Currently a voter can only vote for one or another candidate for a elective office. This denies the voter the right to vote against one or another candidate (similar to voting against, rather than for, a proposition or bond issue).

    In a rightful and complete election process the voter should be able to cast one vote for or against one candidate of his choice. For each candidate the number of negative votes are subtracted from the number of positive votes and the candidate with the more positive net number of votes wins.

    In such a rightful and complete election, it is possible that with unpopular (or unworthy) candidates on the ballot, more negative votes would be cast against either, resulting in one candidate winning with a less negative net number of votes. For this reason, politicians will never approve an election system allowing a voter to cast a negative vote against a candidate the voter considers to be undeserving.

  5. Outstanding that this article focuses on the Trinity in identifying what doctrines are Christian and what doctrines are not.

    Because Governor Romney is an apparently devout Mormon, probably he is not a Trinitarian. With felicitous inconsistencies, he could be Trinitarian, but that is unlikely.

    But, President Obama probably is not a Trinitarian either. Although the first word in the name of his Chicago church is Trinity, on reading its website, it not possible to pick up anything Trinitarian, at least not in the sense confessed in the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

    Between their Vice Presidential running mates, Vice President Biden could be a Trinitarian, and Representative Ryan probably is a Trinitarian.

    Add this state of affairs to the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms, and we have an exceptionally strong case for discounting their professed religions as a factor in voting. What is more relevant religiously is that a Romney-Ryan administration would be less likely to force violations of conscience. Romney and Ryan likely will let Lutherans be Lutherans in their hospitals, schools, etc., whereas we know already that the HHS under President Obama would not.

  6. Luther himself famously said, “I’d rather be ruled by a smart Turk then a dumb Christian.”

    Martin Luther did not famously say that, nor did he simply say that, nor did he say anything remotely like that! In fact, Luther said just the opposite!

    How many times does this urban legend need to be debunked?!?

  7. @Carl Vehse #7

    It can’t be eliminated… like the poor boiled frog …
    too many otherwise intelligent men keep repeating both of them!

    [I know one pastor who has promised never to use the “boiled frog” story.
    When he finishes this week’s sermon, I’ll ask him about the “smart Turk”.]
    8-^)

  8. @Carl Vehse #9

    Carl, I don’t think the Chaplain’s ever told the frog story, or we would have had that conversation. {The other one was in District news last month, I think.} 🙂

  9. @Carl Vehse #7

    OK but here is the truuuuuue story of the Christmas tree:

    “The Christmas tree comes to us from Martin Luther, who is credited with being inspired by the starry heavens one night and expressing his feelings to his family by bringing a fir tree into his home and attaching lighted candles to its branches. Fir meant fire—and fire is an ancient symbol for spirit. The tree also pointed toward the heavens. Eventually, decorative balls represented the planets, while the star that radiates from the top reminds us of Bethlehem. The entire tree with its decorations teaches us that the universe is witness to the Incarnation. In fact, the Christmas tree is just one more sign of Jesus’ birth. It is a means of retelling a miracle in a colourful and beautiful way, so that we can further understand and appreciate Jesus entering our world.”
    From Charlie Cleverly, St. Aldate’s, Oxford

    If you can’t trust Charlie Cleverly, who can you trust?

  10. John Rixe :
    @Carl Vehse #7
    OK but here is the truuuuuue story of the Christmas tree:
    “The Christmas tree comes to us from Martin Luther, who is credited with being inspired by the starry heavens one night and expressing his feelings to his family by bringing a fir tree into his home and attaching lighted candles to its branches. Fir meant fire—and fire is an ancient symbol for spirit. The tree also pointed toward the heavens. Eventually, decorative balls represented the planets, while the star that radiates from the top reminds us of Bethlehem. The entire tree with its decorations teaches us that the universe is witness to the Incarnation. In fact, the Christmas tree is just one more sign of Jesus’ birth. It is a means of retelling a miracle in a colourful and beautiful way, so that we can further understand and appreciate Jesus entering our world.”
    From Charlie Cleverly, St. Aldate’s, Oxford
    If you can’t trust Charlie Cleverly, who can you trust?

    I’m nearly 100% sure this is pious myth.

  11. Lutheran pastors who should know better should stop saying Luther wanted a Muslim as his ruler rather than a Christian. Dr. Gene Veith debunked this bogus statement several years ago. What’s worse is that the statement is not something Christians should embrace, since Muslim rulers continue to persecute Christians. This statement is insulting and a great offense to our persecuted brothers and sisters and doesn’t confess Scriptural truth. How sad that LCMS pastors perpetuate something that is not true.

  12. According to “O Christmas Tree: The Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree” by Dr. Richard P. Bucher:

    What was the origin of the Christmas tree? As much as I would like to embrace as fact the oft- quoted story that Martin Luther was the first to set up a Christmas tree (or at least a lighted one), I cannot — for the story is pure legend. [5] Many years of intensive Luther scholarship has turned up nothing to support it. [6] There is scholarly consensus, however, that the Christmas tree originated in Germany. Indeed, the earliest record of an evergreen tree being used and decorated (but without lights) for Christmas is 1521 in the German region of Alsace. [7] Another useful description has been found among the notes of an unknown resident of Strasbourg in 1605, who writes that “At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlors at Strasburg and hang thereon roses cut of many- coloured paper, apples, wafers, gold-foil, sweets . . .” [8] Some fifty years later (about 1650) the great Lutheran theologian Johann Dannhauer wrote in his The Milk of the Catechism that “the Christmas or fir tree, which people set up in their houses, hang with dolls and sweets, and afterwards shake and deflower. . . Whence comes this custom I know not; it is child’s play . . . Far better were it to point the children to the spiritual cedar-tree, Jesus Christ.” [9]

    The link includes the references.

    The introduction of Christmas trees in the American churches by a Lutheran pastor, who later became president of the Missouri Synod, has been noted here on BJS.

  13. Folks, let’s settle for Schwan’s Christmas tree story.
    That did happen.
    But we’ve strayed a bit from the stated topic!

  14. Ahhaaah. Even Pastor McCain says it might be true! Charlie Cleverly rocks.

    We need to unite and start throwing inkwells at Christmas Tree Revisionists.

  15. So when you go to the ballot this November (or at any election for that matter), don’t base your vote on the reported “religion” of the person running for office, instead vote for the person you believe will do the better job caring for your earthly needs. Who will give you more opportunities, who will allow you to get a better job, who will protect you militarily, etc.

    I would have much preferred if he had pointed to the person who “will do the better job caring for your neighbor’s earthly needs. Who will give them more opportunities, who will allow them to get a better job, who will protect them militarily, etc.”

    Enlightened self-interest is not a Christian virtue. By the power of the Holy Spirit, fully serving neighbor, even with the vote at the ballot box, is.

    Other than that, and the seeming implication that conscience and religion are distinct from one another (which I doubt the author intended to imply, but it is easy to infer), a good reminder of how the doctrine of the two kingdoms plays out in our lives.

    One other thing to note, with all of the bickering and fighting that goes on in politics these days, let’s not lose sight of and rejoice in what Eric Metaxas noted in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. He said that we should never lose the awe of the fact that we fight about HOW to help the poor, not WHETHER to help the poor. For the most part (yes, there are some exceptions, but for the most part) the choice is in the HOW and not the WHETHER. Thanks be to God for that small miracle.

  16. @soldier of christ #14
    What’s worse is that the statement is not something Christians should embrace, since Muslim rulers continue to persecute Christians. This statement is insulting and a great offense to our persecuted brothers and sisters…

    Let every one who thinks the “turk” is peaceful, remember Christians in north, and middle Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia. In all those places, churches are being destroyed, Christians beaten or killed by Islamists in this generation after longer or shorter periods of relative peace between the faiths. The Balkan War, in the past century rose again out of the same conflict that was going on in Luther’s time!

  17. I add to the pastor’s newsletter article the following. Yes, the God is the Lord of both reigns, His left and right hand and this is what they have in common. The two reigns also have this in common, that His Christians, His saints, are called to serve in both reigns. For instance: this is why Luther and the Reformers correctly pointed out, ala Romans 13, a Christian can serve honorably in the military.

    So when it comes to voting, in these days, given low voter turn-outs, Lutherans should be encouraged to vote in the first place!

    Secondly, we go into the voting booth as Lutherans. We are for the sanctity of marriage and of life. We hold to the rule of law in the Constitution. We hold to our 1st Amendment rights. We hold that the service to the poor is not the sole prerogative of the State. We hold that the State is not divine: we pray for Caesar, not to him. We go into the voting booth with our minds conformed, not to the pattern of this world, but according to the Word of Law and Promise.

    The President is right on this: it is a clear choice. I add a caveat: some political conservatives are saying this election is about “saving America”. We can not finally save America. The hubris in such a thought could result in another kind of tyranny, in the hands of sinners who think they are saviors. This is when Lutherans need to speak up: “saving America” is utter confusion of the two kingdoms and the Lord knows His left hand from His right. He alones saves.

  18. @Pr. Mark Schroeder #21: The two reigns also have this in common, that His Christians, His saints, are called to serve in both reigns…. We hold that the State is not divine: we pray for Caesar, not to him.

    These statements are correct, but incomplete. While Christians citizens are called to serve in both reigns, including the secular government, the citizens in the United States ARE the government, that is “Caesar.” Congress, the Presidency, Governors, and the other offices we typically call government are not “Caesar”, but in fact, the form of government under which we, the government, are also citizens. Certainly, in addition to praying for our government (“Caesar”) of all citizens, we should also pray for our elected and appointed officials, but not because they are “Caesar” (that false notion was officially discarded in this country in 1776).

    I add a caveat: some political conservatives are saying this election is about “saving America”. We can not finally save America.

    Just as “saving money” in a bank account has no Christological inference, the political phrase, “saving America,” should not be confused, accidentally or otherwise, with the Christian reference to the fact that Jesus alone saves. The political meaning of “saving America” is that electing the right candidate will best preserve American principles and our constitutional form of government, while electing the wrong candidate will increase the likelihood that our form of government and American freedom will be destroyed.

    The problem when neither candidate is worthy of being elected to an office under our form of government is left as an exercise for the voting reader.

  19. Has anyone else read the article in the latest Gottesdienst entitled “why I don’t vote”? (Poor title as the author generally does vote, but isn’t planning to vote this November.) It’s worth a read if you haven’t.

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms does mean we are free as Christians to vote for the power-hungry ideological Gumby-doll official of a wackadoodle flying-saucer cult if we think he’d do a good job, but it also gives us the freedom to vote “none of the above.” For my $0.02: it would give me the absolute willies to vote for a Mormon who has publically called this election “a battle for the soul of America.” (In a “battle for the soul of America” I’m not on his side.)

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  20. The situation in which all candidate are not worthy to vote for was discussed in #2.

    This year the GOP picked a Massachusetts Mormon RINO (that’s 3 strikes right there!), and hopes (this time) a male Tea Party VP will bring in the conservative vote.

    If Mittens is elected, Ryan will be sent to the hinterlands faster than Kennedy made LBJ vanish after the 1960 election (or stripped for a WH sex orgy). Ryan has already modified his previous economic plan to fit Mitt’s, and has been overridden by Mitt on his strong pro-life position (which was in line with Akin’s). That still won’t save him. Pack your pajamas, Paul.

    Claiming that not voting for Romney will cause the re-election of Traitorbama is a charge to be laid at the feet of the GOP party regulars for chosing another unworthy presidential candidate, whatever the outcome of the election. As noted previously, any claim by an American Christian that one must vote for one or another candidate for a particular office is both unAmerican and unChristian.

  21. @Carl Vehse #24
    I agree w/ you on this election. If we (once again) hold our nose and vote for the candidate the corporate GOP is pushing, it will only get worse next time. I sense you’re probably not a huge fan of Gottesdienst, but if you know any evil Romanizing sacerdotalist Loehe-men (tongue in cheek) w/ the latest copy on their desk give the “why I don’t vote” article a read.

    Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. (Psalm 146;3)

  22. Just an honest question here, how much right should someone have to criticize the outcome if they don’t participate in the process?

  23. Rev. McCall, check out the First Amendment and what it says about the right to freedom of speech, including criticizing the outcome of an election, and to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances, in the case where the person does not vote in an election.

  24. @Carl Vehse #28
    I understand the First Amendment. It just doesn’t hold as much water with me to hear someone criticize something when they refused to take part in the process. If I refuse to participate in my teams basketball game because I’m sure we’ll lose anyway, of course I can say whatever I like afterward. It doesn’t mean much to those who at least played the game and gave it their best effort. I would encourage everyone to vote, even if it means writing in a name of a candidate. Participating in the process lends much more credibility to ones complaints when the outcome doesn’t go your way.
    Also, when you find a perfect candidate worth voting for, let me know. Every candidate involves some amount of nose plugging in order to pull the lever. When dealing with sinful human beings every choice is always a choice of the lesser of two evils. 🙂

  25. Comparing participation in a basketball game with the voting participation in an election is not a valid comparison, because an election is not the total “game” a person “plays” as a citizen, nor is voting in an election a legally binding requirement as a citizen, as is obeying the law and paying taxes.

    If a person acknowledges that a good candidate is on the ballot and still refuses to vote for that candidate, such a person’s complaints about the results of the election or the subsequent actions of the winning candidate may still be credible, depending on the evidence presented. If the person complains that the good candidate lost because of a lack of support, then his own failure to vote for that candidate can be pointed out.

    As an alternative for a ballot containing candidates a voter considers to be unworthy for that office, one may enter some write-in candidate. However states may restrict or do not allow write-ins, and will not count such votes if the write-in doesn’t meet certain requirements. In such cases the voter would have to leave that selection box on the ballot blank.

    Rev. McCall, unless you, as a citizen, are actually claiming the First Amendment itself “doesn’t hold much water” with you, what you may be questioning is some kind of “moral right” to criticize results from an election only if one has voted for one of the candidates in it. The basis for such a questionable “moral right” applying to a citizen has not been demonstrated.

  26. @Rev. McCall #27
    There are a lot of other offices and proposals on the ballot up here in Anchorage than the President. I’ll participate in the process. I voted in the GOP primary as well, trying to prevent the situation I find myself in by voting for a candidate that I could support in a general election, again participating in the process. I fear that Christian social conservatives have become the welfare moms of the GOP. We’re pandered to in the platform and the rhetoric in order to get our votes, but when the Republicans win, we get very little in the way of practical advances from our candidates. Winning an election today takes a lot of money, and the spoils of any political victory go predictably to the folks that funded the win. For the GOP that means Corporate America and Wall Street, drug firms and medical insurance companies, not us.
    Putting a Republican, any Republican, in the White House isn’t the answer. We need to fix our families, our churches, our neighborhoods and our towns first. Your participation achives a lot more locally than it would nationally. If you hate big government, fix your local government.
    My $0.02 again.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  27. @Rev. McCall #29: “Also, when you find a perfect candidate worth voting for, let me know.”

    I have previously posted comments about a voter’s view on the worthiness of candidates for an elective office. I have not claimed anything about a “perfect candidate.” Those are your words, Rev. McCall; don’t try to put them in my mouth.

    “When dealing with sinful human beings every choice is always a choice of the lesser of two evils.”

    Rev. McCall, you are confounding the recognition that all people are sinners with a voter’s recognition of a specific candidate whose qualifications and political positions indicate he is worthy to vote for. Thus a voter may agree with the goals advocated by a candidate but still disagree with or have doubts about some aspects or details of the candidate’s plan to achieve a particular goal. This is different from a candidate advocating a goal the voter considers to be inherently evil or a candidate the voter considers to be inherently dishonest.

  28. @Carl Vehse #7

    Dear Carl,

    When you debunk the Luther quote about the “wise Turk,” you should also give your readers the real Luther quote on the subject:

    “God made the secular government subordinate and subject to reason . . . therefore the heathen can speak and teach about this very well, as they have done. And to tell the truth, they are far more skillful in such matters than the Christians; Christ Himself says (Luke 16:8) that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light. Saint Paul also says (I Cor 1:26f.) that not many wise, noble, or strong are called, but that God has chosen what is foolish, weak, and despised. Every day we find out how swift, tricky, clever, smart, and quick the children of the world are in contrast to us devout, stupid, good simple wethers and sheep. . . . [God] casts great intelligence, wisdom, languages, and oratorical ability among them, too, so that His dear Christians look like mere children, fools, and beggars by comparison . . . I am convinced that God gave and preserved such heathen books as those of the poets and the histories, like Homer, Vergil, Demosthenes, Cicero, Livy, and afterwards the fine old jurists . . . so that the heathen and godless might have their prophets, apostles, and theologians or preachers for the secular government.” (Luther’s Works 13:198-199; Commentary on Psalm 101).

    You can see how from this passage someone may have paraphrased Luther’s intent, which is based on the words of our Lord and Saint Paul.

    You may want to read Luther’s entire treatise on Psalm 101, to see how Luther explains these things. It is really a wonderful discussion of government.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  29. @Carl Vehse #32
    You’re getting too excited here. My point is that there is no good reason to not vote. I disagree that there is a “fourth option” to not vote at all, because you can always write in a name. Even if you think your vote may be futile, write someones name in none the less. Not voting is the kind of thinking the perpetuates bad candidates getting on the ballot and winning, because people don’t care. It will certainly never change as long as we simply throw up our hands and stay at home. You are right, you have every constitutional right in the world to voice your opinion about the candidates or President. First Amendment complaining gets taken with a grain of salt though when you couldn’t even be bothered to participate in the process and cast a vote that possibly could have changed the very outcome you now gripe about.

    @Matthew Mills #31
    I agree with you 100%. I just don’t think “not voting” is a good option, whether locally or nationally.

  30. @Martin R. Noland #33: “You can see how from this passage someone may have paraphrased Luther’s intent, which is based on the words of our Lord and Saint Paul.”

    No, I can’t. And before anyone attempts to squeeze a paraphrased “I would rather be rule by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian” out of such a passage from Luther and finds himself, as Luther described, in the predicament of trying to imitate a farmer splitting a large log (LW 13:162), they should recall from the archived Cranach article, “The Wise Turk quote”:

    “The key points, as they should be for all phrases bandied about as being uttered by (or paraphrased from) Luther, are context, context, context.”

    Such context, context, context, is contained within Luther’s commentary on Psalm 101:5, which was left out of the excerpt from LW 13:198-9 and replaced with ellipses:

    “For this reason nothing is taught in the Gospel about how it [secular government] is to be maintained and regulated, except the Gospel bids people honor it and not oppose it.”

    Thus the preference for a “wise Turk” ruler in the nonquote is not required by Scripture, and specifically Psalm 101.

    “If God were not on our side to change their exalted wisdom into folly, they [heathens] would long since have brought things to an entirely different pass before we even discovered what was going on.”

    So even though the worldly wisdom of the heathen is recognized, God prevents the heathens using their worldly wisdom against God’s will and the children of God, before we are even aware of it.

    “Yet I dare say that if all the jurists were baked into one cake and all the wise men were brewed into one drink, they would not only leave all the cases and disputes unresolved but would even be unable to speak or think this well about them. Those who set down the law had to be experienced in big deals and to be familiar with the thinking of many people; for this they had been endowed with a high degree of intelligence and brains. In other words, those heathens who had such wisdom in secular government lived once and will never live again.”

    According to Luther’s opinion, the wisdom and skill of the heathens on secular government is something that has been developed in the past. Those wise heathens (by definition including any “wise Turks”), according to Luther that is, no longer exist.

    “Therefore whoever wants to learn and become wise in secular government, let him read the heathen books and writings.”

    Luther, in his view, here opens the wisdom to those Christians (or heathens) who read and study such historical heathen books about secular government.

    “How could a prince or king on earth be portrayed any better that the heathen have portrayed their Hercules?”

    Hmmmm… there’s not much of any Turkish ruler (wise or other) portrayed by a Greek demigod.

    There are a few other references to Turks in Luther’s Commentary on Psalms 101, but they also do not indicate the preference of a “wise Turk” over a “foolish Christian.” These contextual excerpts, missing in the original excerpt, along with the many excerpts from other writings of Luther included in the archived Cranach thread, should be sufficient to convince reasonable readers that Luther would never have uttered the falsely attributed quote, or anything like it, and would never regard as a preferable desire or choice to be ruled by a Turk. The false quote, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian,” is diametrically opposed to the position on which we know from his writings Luther firmly stood.

  31. @Carl Vehse #30
    However states may restrict or do not allow write-ins, and will not count such votes if the write-in doesn’t meet certain requirements.

    Carl, there was space for a write-in on our ballot, and I used it. I hope there is no regulation that I am unaware of about it. I confess that I did not put down Dwight David Eisenhower, as I said somewhere I would; the line behind me was pretty long and you have to enter one letter at a time. I felt the rest of the voters had seen me indulged enough already. 😉

  32. Helen #38,

    Hey, tell me about! And Ike’s name wasn’t the one I wrote in either. 😉

    I also looked around our polling place for any UN invaders that are in the Austin area, but didn’t see any in uniform with identification, not that the People’s Socialist Republic of Austin would actually have arrested them.

    Also didn’t see multiple ballot tags handed out, or other signs of Demonicrat treason.

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