MLK Jr was able to prophetically see the destiny of this country and declared it fearlessly in the face of majority opposition. Now, his vision is manifesting all around us and there is still more to come. But where are the prophets of today, the MLK’s, that can stand up in the midst of darkness and prophesy a future to broken nations? If only we understood the power of Hope filled words… Ryan M. Rhodes
People always either ask me who I voted for and why? Or does God direct us in voting? Or what do you do when the person you voted for doesn’t line up with your biblical beliefs?
Well below is my biblical ideology on these and other thoughts on my approach to voting and supporting candidates that might not measure up to my values.
The Church, Our Voice and Our Vote
This is from my book: Building Cities of Refuge. Pg 18-21
The Gates of any City are it’s Governmental Leaders.
The Church in any nation is supposed to be the gatekeepers for the nation through prayer and wise biblical counsel for the nation and to its political leaders.
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
As gatekeepers to our nation, the church should pray for our political leaders, regardless of what party they represent that they would lift up their heads in prayer to seek and invite Christ, the King of glory, to come in to the cities and nations they govern to jointly reign over their regions in partnership and unity.
Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, and That the King of glory may come in…Psa. 24:7
The Church in any region or nation are the Doors into the cities and nations and they should be looking for and seeking candidates that are willing to follow her lead or consult her in the developing of fair and godly policies that benefit the nation, regardless of which party they represent.
John 10:1 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
These policies should be policies that keep God’s favor on our nation. We should also look for and find leaders in government that are willing to follow our lead in the establishing of the correct spiritual and moral climate for their own term in office, that their term in office would be spiritually, morally and fiscally fruitful and productive for every aspect of the nation’s success, bringing to past God’s purposes for the nation.
The problem with Church leaders that vote for or endorse either party as if they have all the solutions to the issues of society is that we end up treating them like they are the Messianic leader for our nation, that’s going to lead our nation to economic, fiscal or spiritual revival with their policies alone, and consequently they can do no wrong. This is the wrong way to back or endorse a candidate being a Pastor and a spiritual leader of a nation, which the church is.
The Church is supposed to be the moral conscience of our nation, keeping our nation on track or turning our nation back to its original creeds and moral and spiritual moorings to be returned to the right position and place to receive God’s favor and blessing, if it gets off. But too often we vote for a candidate as a follower of their policies rather than as their spiritual leader and the consensus and molder of the moral conscience of the nation.
Even though our political leaders don’t lead as a spiritual leader or as a Pastor of the nation, they certainly need a spiritual leader, or a Pastor to keep them in step spiritually, to lead the nation with integrity and morality. But instead of voting for candidates that will follow our lead or consult us about how to establish godly policies that benefit the nation, while at the same time, policies that keep God’s favor on our nation, we vote for candidates and end up following their lead. They end up determining what we should think, even about biblical morality, and what’s good for the nation, even if it is against God’s word.
And because we voted for them, and/or have been seen with them, this causes us to feel like we must validate and agree with everything they do while in office, and validate detrimental behavior or detrimental policies, both to their soul and the soul of the nation. Often, we end up silent on their behavior that is outside of the ways of God for their lives and the nation, to keep our place in their inner circle or their cabinet, or to stay in favor with them, because we feel like it validates our leadership.
This is what John 12 said about the Pharisees that knew Jesus was the Messiah, but would NOT say so publicly because they feared the leaders of the synagogue and feared losing their place in the synagogue: The Scripture says they kept quiet “Because they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
We are to vote for who God directs us to vote for, but our allegiance is to remain to God and His word. And if the political leader does something that transgresses Gods word, we are not to try to validate it, explain it away or divert the focus away from what they did by pointing the focus to another leader’s greater transgressions on the other side. NO! We are to speak up as their spiritual leader, not as their political follower, and we are to show them their transgressions and encourage them to repent to be forgiven, for our land to be healed.
This is the example left us by Moses to Pharaoh in Egypt, Elijah to Ahab and Jezebel in Israel, John the Baptist to Herod In Israel. Jesus to Pilate right before His crucifixion, and lastly in Modern times by Dr. Martin Luther King to the 3 Presidents in the US during his prophetic voice to our nation in the 50’s and 60’s.
He spoke as the moral conscience of our nation and forced our nations policies to line up with its creeds. When Dr. King endorsed the democratic party under President Kennedy, he was a registered Republican at the time, and most African-Americans were also Republicans. But he did so because Kennedy promised him that Civil Rights legislation would be passed.
When Kennedy got in office and didn’t pass that legislation, King led a March on Washington with a quarter of a million people. He didn’t acquiesce to Kennedy because he voted for him. He confronted him with a large contingency of the Africa American community in our nation, along with many Caucasian’s, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and made him do right by this nation’s creed and his promise to support Civil Rights legislation.
After Kennedy was assassinated and Vice President Lyndon Johnson took office Johnson passed the most comprehensive Civil rights bill in the history of our nation to win Kings support for a possible re-election in 1964. Once President Johnson was re-elected, then Dr. King pressed for the voting rights act of 1965 and President Johnson passed that.
Then Dr. King said this nation needs a guaranteed minimum wage and President Johnson passed that. President Johnson, deliberating on running for re-election in 1968, wanted King to back him on the Vietnam war, but King was nonviolent and came out against the war, which was an extremely unpopular stance that got King vilified in the media, but he spoke out against the war anyway, as the conscience of the nation and swayed the nation against President Johnson’s Vietnam war policies.
Consequently, Johnson decided not to run for the Democratic nominee for President in 1968, as public opinion progressively turned against the Vietnam war, which Johnson backed. He decided not to run because King decided not to support him on Vietnam and spoke out publicly against the war when Johnson wouldn’t hear him and change his war policy.
Subsequently King was later assassinated as Johnson was coming to the end of his term, and many conspiracy theorists believe our government was behind his assassination, because King was so outspoken on the war, and because he was planning another march on Washington with poor people, called the Poor Peoples Campaign.
But this time they were going to camp out on the White House lawn until their demands were met. All of this against a President he formerly endorsed and voted for. My point is, as the church we are this nation’s conscience. But we can’t be the nation’s conscience voting as if our candidate is the messiah and can do no wrong. Just because we vote for someone doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out against those things that transgress Gods laws, after we’ve tried to counsel them privately and they’re unwilling to change.
When we don’t speak out, our vote has outdistanced our voice and those political leaders no longer must consider us or our biblical standards to gain our vote. Therefore, we lose our place of influence and leadership in our nation. Furthermore, when we don’t speak out against the political leaders we have voted for, considering them the chosen leader for the nation, we place that person above God in our lives and our ministries.
Black and white pastors alike, that voted for President Obama in 2008, and gained access to him when he wanted their support, when he said marriage was the union between one man and one woman, should’ve been knocking at the White House doors to confront him with the voice of God in the love of God, when he flipped on his stance on marriage in 2012. We should have pulled our support as a church, both black and white, after he flipped to cater to the gay and liberal vote.
But President Obama knew that he had received many black pastors’ and their congregation’s vote because he was black, and regardless of his stance on gay marriage, he knew many of them, if not their congregations, would still vote for him regardless of his flip and unbiblical stance on marriage. And to further assure that he would retain their vote he was counseled to lump gay marriage into civil rights and lump the race card and racial discrimination with sexual preference in sexuality.
They knew most blacks, even Black Christians would sympathize and add their allegiance and vote to his strategic agenda, thereby keeping the black vote as well as gaining the gay, liberal vote. So, he kept the black vote from the black church and we lost our voice, because not enough black pastors were willing to confront his stance on gay marriage and pull their support unless he relented. The black church either refused to confront president Obama on the gay marriage issue, or refused to publicly pull their endorsement, because we are more followers of a political party, or a race, or a gender than we are followers of God and faith, in both the black and white church in America.
America and the American church must both be Born-Again. The church must once again become followers of God exclusively and wholly, not our political parties or our racial or gender biased candidates we vote for, if we want to be faithful to the societal mandate to be salt and light and at the same time have a true voice again. The Christian leaders must be willing to sound an alarm from the church in this generation whenever the danger of straying or backsliding from our nation’s political and governmental process and rule occurs.
This holds true for both parties. Even now 12 months into President Donald Trump’s presidency, as we witnessed one of the most tumultuous12 months of any President in recent history, those that are his spiritual advisors should be advising him on godly behavior, that should be followed by the President of the United States.
Policies and behavior of the nation’s leaders should be held in check by spiritual leaders in the church as much as anyone else. The church is supposed to be the moral conscience of the nation. In the next chapter is my message and policy that I had the opportunity to give to Donald Trump during his presidential election, for the urban plight, if he was interested in earning the African-American vote…..