Consider President Obama's beliefs. I recently read an interview of Barack Obama when he was an Illinois state senator and was running to be the U.S. Senator. Cathleen Falsani interviewed him on March 27, 2004, but she recently published the whole interview in its entirety, because she felt people were misusing it. Here are two excerpts:
FALSANI: What do you believe?
OBAMA: I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.
So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived. (then farther down in the interview)
FALSANI: Who's Jesus to you? (He laughs nervously)
OBAMA: Right. Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
FALSANI: Is Jesus someone who you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection with in your life?
OBAMA: Yeah. Yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier are addressed through, are channeled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is a fascinating interview. (http://cathleenfalsani.com/obama-on-faith-the-exclusive-interview/) It is obvious that even though he defines himself as a Christian, some of his responses are not based on the Scriptures. (By the way, this is nothing new. Many people who attend church do not have a biblical world view. They pick and choose what they want to believe.) Thus, several of President Obama's viewpoints are unorthodox and unScriptural, yet he wants to define himself as a Christian.
On the other hand, it seems likely the Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. Mitt Romney belief's are based on Mormonism. Intriguingly, Mr. Romney was not just a nominal Mormon; he was a Mormon bishop. (A Mormon bishop serves over one congregation like a pastor.) At another time, he also served over several congregations. You can find many resources about the beliefs of the Mormon. I am not going to refer to them all. But let me say this, even though Mormons try to portray themselves as Christians, their beliefs counter the Scriptures. Their key writings include "The Book of Mormon," "Doctrine and Covenants," and "Pearl of Great Price." These writings may include parts of Scripture, like the Book of Mormon, but they go way beyond Scripture and counter Scripture in many ways.
So, who do you vote for if you are a follower of Jesus and have the Bible as your guide to life? This is not a new question, for many of our presidents, much less our other government officials, did not follow Jesus or seek to know and obey the Word of God. (The 1800 election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was especially divisive over religion. Thomas Jefferson was considered an infidel because of his belief in rationalism and his cutting of the miracles of Jesus out of the Bible.) So, should we vote for someone who does not have a biblical worldview?
If we do, what is our basis for voting for them? Or, what makes a good leader? Aren't we often selfish when we select our candidates? We want someone who will build the economy, so that we will have more money. We want someone who will ensure that the government "gives" to us: Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, welfare, special projects for one's town or state, and so forth. We want a sense of security, so the leader needs to have the strongest army and largest stockpile. On the other hand, some want the government to stop interfering in the lives of other nations hoping they will leave us alone. The list is probably endless. But aren't we often being selfish in these issues? Do we really care what is best for the nation or for the world?
But let me ask, isn't a candidate's understanding of who God is important? Doesn't that understanding of God shape a person's values? Doesn't that shape a person's character and morals? Obviously, just because a person has a different understanding of God and Jesus means that you will differ on all moral issues, or any issue for that matter. For example, there are non-Christians who are against gay marriage. On the other hand, Pres. Clinton had a Southern Baptist background, but he did not abide by the beliefs. But, that still leaves you with the issue of who to vote for and on what basis, especially when both candidates have unorthodox viewpoints of God and Jesus and the Bible? (By the way, many don't think Pres. Obama or Mr. Romney will discuss such issues, knowing that this is a controversial issue for both of them.)
I vote for Jesus. My president, my king, my governor is Jesus. My citizenship is in the kingdom of God. Yes, I honor the earthly leaders and the earthly nation, as long as they don't contradict the one who rules the eternal kingdom of God. My hope is in God's government and not our government. (Of course, how people now treat our government as a god, and how our government is to be the answer for all our problems, that is a subject of whole other blog.)
I do not know what I will do yet about the election. I will keep my ears and my heart open to God. And, in the words that I have often challenged others with, I'll say to myself, "Wrestle with it."
Peace be with you!