It is hard not to notice, but election fervor has landed in Central Washington. With less than a month before the election, candidates are ramping up for the final push across the finish line in hopes that they will gain the victory. I recently had the opportunity to attend a public debate between two candidates vying for a hotly contested position. I walked away with more than just who I was voting for.
With the two candidates poised on opposite sides of the moderator, the first question was an absolute banger and, in my opinion, set the tone for the entire debate.
“What role will your faith have once you take office?”
The first candidate answered, and his answer amounted to “none.” He explained that when he is on the job, all opinions and personal beliefs are set aside, and he is there to perform the duties necessary in a fair and unbiased manner. However, he may have strong personal beliefs that should never be brought into the public sphere.
The second candidate couldn’t have disagreed more. Answering the question, he said, “My faith is everything.” He then said that his faith gives him a work ethic, provides accountability and gives a reason for his service and sacrifice for the community. Yes, he understood that not everyone would agree with his personal beliefs. Still, it is precisely his faith that gives him a reason to respect all people and treat them fairly.
Now if it wasn’t obvious to everyone, the “faith” they were talking about was Christianity. Both candidates profess faith in Christ, and to my knowledge, both attend churches. Yet only one was willing enough to publicly say that his faith in Jesus not only influences how he serves but transforms it.
As Christians, our faith cannot be divorced from our daily life. In other words, Christianity is not compartmental, where it only takes up a piece of our lives and can easily be put away in certain settings. No, to be a Christian is to have your entire life taken up by Jesus. As it points out in Colossians 3:4, “Christ is who your life….” Therefore, to set aside Christ or Christianity is to set aside who you are as a Christian, and if one can do that, it reveals that they have a shallow view of faith, if they have it all.
To the first candidate, what is the point of even believing? If your faith does not govern how you do the job and provide a transcendent reason for service, then you’re a practical atheist. It may sound very politically correct and inclusive to say that once you put on the uniform, all personal beliefs and opinions don’t matter. However, it sounds like a soul issue to the Christian pastor sitting in the audience. To the community member, it sounds like a man with no conviction.
We need people in elected positions of whom Christ governs the totality of their lives and do not separate the secular from the sacred. Individuals with a vision greater than themselves and point to a higher authority, namely God, are the only ones truly equipped to govern justly. George Washington once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God or the Bible.” So, yes, we need more unashamedly born-again Christians elected and less of the candidates whose faith never touches their public life or elected office. We have far too many of those already, and I submit that is why our nation is in the shape it is.
After the debate, it became clear who I was voting for and who and what I would be praying for.
May God be so kind as to answer my prayers.