Wednesday, October 03, 2012

This election's choice: Romney, third-party (=Obama), or don't vote (=Obama)?

Preface: the original version of this post helped save some people from making a horrible mistake in the last Presidential election. This election is even more crucial. Barack Obama has harmed, damaged, weakened this country for four years. Four more will bring damage we can only imagine. Much is at stake. Seeing so many good folks swayed by such foolish reasoning (or non-reasoning), I wanted to help if possible. So I have re-written and adapted the original post for this election.

Every election cycle Christians declare that they are disgusted with both parties. They say they are tired of voting for "the lesser of two evils." They announce that they're writing in a name, or going for some third-party candidate. Or they're so disgusted that they won't vote at all.

This time, aware that blacks vote Democrat at a staggering rate, some black pastors are threatening not to vote at all — in other words, not supporting Obama openly, but not voting for Romney, either. Others are unhappy with Obama but non-committal, and echo the reservations of Democrats.

My voting history is varied. First Presidential vote was for a "Christian" Democrat. Since then, I've never done a protest non-vote, but I have voted third-party in the distant past. Years ago, when the contemptible and contemptuous Pete Wilson ran for re-election as governor of California, I think I voted Constitution Party (or whatever it's called in Cali). That was probably the last time I'll ever go third-party. Why?

Reasons for voting third-party
Many evangelicals feel that we are to the GOP what blacks are to the Democrats. We're the betrayed wife. The party sweet-talks us, then cheats on us. They take us for granted. We haven't lost our Christian minds and souls entirely, so we don't enable the party that has adopted Romans 1:18-32 as its official platform. Rather, we go third-party "to send a message," or "to vote our conscience."

These people see no difference between the two parties. Republicans haven't stopped abortion. They haven't revolutionized taxes. When the GOP controlled White House and Congress, the performance of Congress was pitiable, and President Bush raised and raised and raised spending. So these folks commonly say that both parties are heading for the cliff. The only difference is the Dems are doing it openly, 150 miles per hour, playing George Michael on the stereo, smoking dope and drinking hard liquor in their tie-dye T-shirts all the way. The GOP is doing the exact same, but at 140mph with a Bible (still shrink-wrapped) and a hymnal and a three-piece suit.

By contrast, the third-parties are pure. They'll eliminate federal taxes altogether, or instantly bring a flat tax. They'll outlaw abortion entirely, right away. Or they'll turn it back to the states. They'll do away with all burdensome, freedom-raping regulations. They'll outlaw homosexual marriages. They'll strap a pistol around every law-abiding citizen's waist. They'll empty the jails in favor of restitution. They'll shut down the Dept. of Education, and end government schools. No more foreign aid, period. No illegals, period. Barbwire, guns and slavering dogs at the border.

We like that straight-talk. We're tired of that incrementalism that is glacially slow to the point of invisibility. So we go for the guy who says, "I promise that I will make a touchdown in the first quarter! Then we can all go home." We despise the guy who says, "The path from here to there requires a thousand tiny turns, takes a lot of hard work and persuasion, and can't be done by simple fiat. So be patient and work with me."

So... what's wrong with going for Captain America?

Why a third-party Presidential vote this year is foolish and irresponsible
  1. I start with the most popular, and yet sadly most foolish and Biblically absurd argument: "lesser of two evils." It never ceases to astonish me that any Christians say this. Don't they have Bibles? They're supposed to. Don't their Bibles have Romans 3:23 and 7:14-25 and James 3:2a in them? Do those verses mean anything anymore? Child, every vote for a mere son of Adam is a vote for the lesser of two evils. There are no exceptions! It doesn't matter who your candidate is! He is at best a redeemed and finite sinner. He is limited intellectually, spiritually, morally, and dynamically. He will not always know the right thing to do nor the right way to do it. Even when he does know, he will not always do it. Even when he tries, he will not always succeed. So if you're going to think this through like a Christian, you must make your decision on some other basis. You must never make this argument.
  2. Next, when I grew up a little, I wrapped my mind around the fact that politics is the art of the possible. It is not a decision about whether to murder someone or not. It is a question of moving the ball in the right direction. So I have three quarterbacks vying for my vote. Barry absolutely will move the ball far in the wrong direction. Mitch will move it a bit in the wrong direction, a bit in the right direction, and the net will be a small but significant move towards my goal. Or at the very least prevention of a huge net move in the wrong direction. The third, Trevor? He claims that he will instantly make a touchdown. But there is one big problem: Trevor does not actually belong to either team on the field. So Trevor must score this promised touchdown in spite of three fatal roadblocks: (A) every player on the field will be trying to take Trevor down; and (B) no player on the field will run defense for Trevor; and (C) most of the people in the stands will boo and throw things at Trevor  So in the end, he will accomplish nothing, because this is a Republic and not a dictatorship.
  3. In fact, all third-party candidates will accomplish NOTHING of what they promise. Why not? Well, for starters, there are two kinds of non-comatose people in the world: (1) those who think a third-party candidate has any realistic chance of winning the election, and (2) rational people. Look, here's your cup of coffee; now listen: You can't keep any promises if you don't win office, and they can't win! Next, even if that circle could be squared, they would have no constituency in Congress. You know American civics at all? You know what that means? That means: Nobody will present their legislation. Nobody will craft their bills. Nobody will argue for them. Nobody will in either house of Congress will vote for them. They'd have to be dictators or tyrants.
  4. All third-party candidates are immature, and/or they are fools, and/or they are liars. Isn't that a minus? Isn't that a disqualifier? These are nothing if not fatal flaws in leadership qualities. How can I support this claim? Because there are only two possibilities. First: these poseurs know they cannot win, and are misleading and misdirecting their supporters. They are deliberately wasting their supporters' money, and deliberately distracting them from supporting a serious player. These are, to speak mildly, not admirable qualities. The second (and only other) possibility is that they do not know that they cannot win. If that is the case, they are hopelessly out-of-touch fools who are unfit to lead and undeserving of support. Let's be specific. In this election, third-party fakes know that the two possible candidates differ very sharply on the issue of abortion. Barack Obama is a pro-abortion extremist who has aggressively used his office to promote the abortion culture. Given another term, he will appoint viciously pro-abortion Supreme Court Justices for lifeMitt Romney has the support of leading pro-life activists and organizations, and picked 100% pro-life Paul Ryan as his running mate. So followers who also oppose abortion would naturally vote for Mitt Romney if they had only two choices. But, recklessly and egomaniacally, third-party peacocks mislead their followers into thinking that there is a viable third choice. They take the vote that would naturally go to the one pro-life candidate (Mitt Romney), and turn it into at best an empty gesture — which benefits Barack Obama, the candidate who adores abortion and views his grandchildren as "punishments." Thus third-party candidates and their supporters further the cause of abortion — which they (supposedly) abhor. So they actually help score a touchdown for the pro-abortion side. Brilliant. Idiots.
  5. I'm a grownup. I want to make a difference, not a gesture (i.e. "sending a message"). I don't know if there has ever been a more stark nor consequential choice in my lifetime, even more so than 2008. One candidate, Mitt Romney, is a pro-life convert — which we like and want to encourage, right? — and he picked an even more ardently and winsomely pro-life running-mate. The other, Barack Obama, never met an unborn child he wouldn't just as soon see dead, and that even in the most gruesome way imaginable. Obama thinks spreading abortion is the most important thing he can do. As a Christian, I agree with the pro-life position, and I abominate Obama's position. If I do not actively help the one viable pro-life ticket, I help the other pro-abortion ticket. It is just as simple as that. I've read hundreds of words from third-partyers. While I share many of their goals, I really think it's all about them, and not the issues that they are failing to support. It's about making themselves feel better about themselves, in the name of "conscience." Me? I'll feel better if I keep that monstrous, pro-infanticide position out of the White House. That suits my conscience just fine. The "message" I want to send is that the abortion issue is critical in a Presidential election. I'll support a man who is less than my ideal, because he's basically on the right side of the life question. Otherwise, if I vote for a non-player the only "message" I send is "Don't worry about me. I'm irrelevant. I won't help the pro-lifer, and I won't hinder the pro-deather. Ignore me."
  6. As the 2008 election already did, this election will have a huge impact on the state of abortion law. As has been richly documented, Obama is the most viciously merciless and doctrinaire President candidate in history, when it comes to abortion. We've made progress in abortion over the years, and it's made a difference. Thanks to President Bush's appointments, some restrictions have squeaked by the Supreme Court. Now there are 2-3 justices who are about 900 years old who are holding on for a liberal president. You let Obama continue to load the SC and other benches, and you will set the pro-life cause back legally for years. You will hurt every aspect of its public face. And, to be blunt, if you do not vote for Mitt Romney, you are helping Barack Obama and his abortion agenda.
So what about not voting?
Of course, as always, I'll be dainty, nuanced, helpful and layered about this.

Psych! I'm still me. If you wanted "dainty," you'd be reading someone who only types with 8 fingers. So here we go:

As I've said, I have no respect for the "just don't vote" position whatever. I think it is self-indulgent, irresponsible, and contemptible. I think you're like a person who watches his wife get beaten up, making smug little jokes about how hard it is to pick sides in such conflicts.

This election provides stark choices. In the last election, Obama promised to  radicalize abortion in America. He promised to force you and me to pay for the scalpels and poison. He kept those promises. Rewarded (by you!) with a second term, he will do all the further damage he can.

If you've been awake for four years, you know how badly Barack Obama has weakened our country internally and internationally. He has literally bowed to foreign dictators and enemies, and ideologically bowed to the anti-American radicals who taught him how to think and feel.

So you make your cute, smug little "principled stand" of not-standing. You sit at the back of the class, sniggering, mocking the teacher and passing notes.

So imagine yourself talking to your grandchildren in 10, 20 years.
"Grandpa, tell us again about when people could offer help and literature in front of abortion clinics. Tell us again about when crisis pregancy centers weren't against the law. Tell us about when preachers could preach against abortion and homosexuality without being thrown in prison for 'hate crimes.' Tell us about when you could own our own handgun to protect your family. Tell us when some states had some laws making it harder to kill babies. Tell us when there used to be that place called the Internet, where you could network, and speak freely and internationally. Tell us about when America wasn't under international law and international courts. Tell us when marriage was just between one man and one woman, and pastors could choose who to marry and who not to marry without being destroyed by lawsuits. Tell us when Islamic law wasn't enshrined in American law. Tell us when our enemies feared us and our friends loved us and could trust us. Tell us about those times, Grandpa."
And then picture the wrenching nausea you feel when they ask, "And tell us again why you helped re-elect the man who changed all that, when you had the chance to stop him, Grandpa."

If the math of this simple truth is a challenge for you, let Frank Turk help.

"But I'm voting my conscience!"
Some naive and ill-taught Christians find themselves unable to offer one rational counter to anything we've said. So they plan the "conscience" card. Refusing to vote for Barack Obama's one viable opponent, the one man who might prevent a second term, would be against their conscience.

Is that a legitimate reason?

First, we have to define "conscience." That isn't as easy as we think. But my try would be: conscience is the intellectual faculty of judging right from wrong. It may be well-informed or misinformed, and thus strong or weak, respectively.

Second, we need to flesh that out. "Conscience" is not a Biblical code word for "reason to do something foolish with God's approval." That is, God holds us accountable for making intelligent decisions that take all the facts into consideration (Prov. 11:14; 13:10; 15:22; 16:1, 3, 9; 19:20-21; 24:6). It is foolish and wicked to refuse to do so.

If you have a conscience that is OK with being foolish and wicked, you need to educate your conscience. Not slavishly obey it instead of the word of God.

If your conscience is OK with refusing to do all you morally and legally can to prevent a second Obama term, you need to educate your conscience. Not slavishly obey it instead of wisely applying the word of God.

"Conscience" is not a divine excuse for refusing to think and act wisely. Abused this way, it's the non-Charismatic's "God-told-me" card, and it should be rejected and abandoned.

"But I'm not convinced about how pro-life Romney is!"
I'll be honest: I don't know, either. So let's deal with what we do know.
  1. We know that, of all the folks he could have chosen, Romney chose a VP with an outspoken and 100% pro-life record.
  2. We know that Planned Parenthood loves abortion, loves Obama, hates Romney.
  3. We know that he's convinced activist Gary Bauer.
  4. We know that Romney is supported by The Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee, the Susan B. Anthony list, National Right to Life, Colorado Citizens for Life, and other groups.
You don't like the exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother. I don't like two of those three, either. So supposing Romney succeeds in preventing abortions except for those cases. You do know that that means preventing more than nine out of ten abortions, don't you? Whereas your only other alternative, Barack Obama, favors preventing zero abortions?

Is nine a bigger number than zero?

Christians should at least be able to do that much math.

Look, take even the grimmest view. You say, "I don't believe he's pro-life at all." OK. All those pro-life activists who have devoted their life to this cause are wrong; only you are right. Planned Parenthood is wrong; only you are right. Okay.

So is Paul Ryan pro-life? Clearly he is.

Is it better to have a vocally pro-life vice-president than two aggressively pro-abortion leaders?

Is better, you know, better?

It isn't completely rocket science.

"But he's a Mormon!"
Yep. That stinks. I wish I could vote for a rock-ribbed CalviDispieBaptoGelical. But no, Romney's a Mormon.

But so? Has Romney proposed outlawing monotheism or the Gospel or the Solas? Not that I've heard.

In fact, let's just talk brass tacks: (1) Romney couldn't harm Christians' rights without harming Mormons' rights, and he's unlikely to do that; and (2) President Romney's Mormonism should provide golden opportunities for Christians to explain and present the true saving Gospel of Christ; and (3) the only alternative, President Obama, professes to be a Christian while embracing ideology and values directly in opposition to Christianity, and (4) Obama shows far more concern for the religion of Islam, which is implacably opposed to Christianity.

Electing Romney means, if anything, a target-rich environment for the positively evangelistically-minded Christian. Isn't that a good thing?

In closing
You want to make a statement? Buy a sign. Get a blog.

You want to make a difference? Vote for the only candidate with any possibility of making any positive difference in any of the categories I've outlined. That would be — much as I regret to have to say it — Mitt Romney.

I say this particularly to you who live in "battleground" states such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania. I'm glad that I'm no longer stuck in California. But even when I was, I took the vote and the statement it makes seriously.

But if you're in a contested state, you especially matter. Wake up. This election really matters. Don't make a fantasy-gesture that leaves us with a reality-nightmare.

Rules for the meta
I won't allow this meta to go off in a hundred different directions irrelevant to the post.

I won't even bother publishing comments that reflect failure to deal with the post's contents.


JG said...

1) I type with 8 fingers. Don't be hatin'.

2) This is probably the most intellectually-honest post I've ever read regarding the third-party problem. We've tried communicating many of the same points (not nearly as eloquently) with several of our friends who are third party hold-outs. Honestly, it feels like beating my head against a brick wall. Bottom line: if you don't vote for Romney, you're voting for Obama. No matter what, if you don't vote for Romney, you're voting for Obama.

I could type a 2-page long comment, but I won't. I'll just say, right on.

I'm sharing this far and wide.

DJP said...

Well Jaci, you're a girl, so that's totally different. No hate.

Kerry James Allen said...

Nice job, Dan.

"Can ye not agree," said a warrior of old, "when your enemy is in sight!" CHS

Terry Rayburn said...

Dan, great points, irrefutable logic, entertaining albeit tough tone, and I still say you're the best writer of phrases on the Christian net.

Steven A Mitchell said...

Dan ignores here an entire reason for voting for a third-party candidate. The reason has nothing to do with 'sending a message', and it has nothing to do with wanting a 'quick fix'. In fact, it is precisely the opposite of these.

The reason many vote for a third-party candidate is because of its long-term consequences. That is, while voting for Romney might avoid 4 more years of Obama (or voting for Kerry might avoid 4 more years of Bush), it all but guarantees the perpetuation of the current party system. To put their view in sports terms, voting for Obama or Romney mortgages the political future of the country in the interest of short-term pragmatism.

Such a position is all about avoiding the 'quick fix' of a 'Anyone But Obama' Presidency and doing exactly what needs to be done to make a difference in the Fifth Party System: gaining ground support, achieving certain percentages in elections, raising monies, garnering media attention, &c. These are all hurdles which must be overcome in the Fifth Party System, and are things which will not be accomplished overnight.

Because of the current state of how most states choose electors, voting for a third party is an especially viable option in states which are strongly Republican or Democrat. For example, voting for a third-party candidate in Texas or New York will not significantly affect Romney's or Obama's chances of winning those states, respectively, but it could very well help the cause of third parties.

In sum, there are many people who vote for third-party candidates for precisely the same reasons Dan gives for not voting for third-party candidates: voting honestly, while keeping in mind the art of the possible, by doing what must be done to make a difference, while avoiding the temptation of short-term 'victories'.

zamar said...

Thank you for updating. Hoping this goes viral.

JG said...

Hmm. I'm not sure how to take that comment so I'll ignore it for now.

I do appreciate you pointing out that having a Mormon on a major party ticket is an *opportunity* for Christians. Seems like a lot have missed that boat.

I hope people really do read your post rather than just respond to the title. One of the hazards of the internet.

DJP said...

DJP: typing w/8 fingers (i.e. raised pinkies)

JG: I type with 8 fingers

DJP: That's okay, you're a girl.

Clear? Or do I need to apologize?

DJP said...

Steven, how is every bit of that not answered in the post?

You're looking like a non-reading commenter.

Kerry James Allen said...

"It all but guarantees the perpetuation of the current party system." I think Steven is missing something, i.e. in four more years of the Obamanation the party is over and bedlam ensues. This is no time to be thinking of long term consequences. We are in deep trouble today and problems need solved now. Go do some reading on Arthur Neville Chamberlain.

I think people forget we had four years of Clinton because of that windbag Ross Perot.

And the Corvair wasn't a bad car in spite of that other third party yo-yo Ralph Nader.

I repeat the earlier quote by Spurgeon: "Can ye not agree," said a warrior of old, "when your enemy is in sight!"

DannyPB said...

Excellent post Dan.
The link to the article about the difference Obama has made regarding abortion isn't working (the article doesn't seem to exist). Could you provide a better link or a different source for that? I would love to show it to people who say that the election will make no difference regarding abortion.

jmb said...

I was considering using the "He's a Mormon" excuse to not vote; also, I'm in a state that always goes Democrat. Things that you and others have written helped me to change my mind.

Another thing: If Obama won because Christians used that excuse, I wouldn't even be in a position to legitimately make fun of them. This would be intolerable.

Tim Brown said...

Great post! Sharing!

@Kerry... Ditto on the Corvair!

DJP said...

DannyPB, updated.

Lynda O said...

Excellently reasoned, Dan. Sharing this one... great explanation especially of the "conscience" excuse, which is a common line I've heard from the non-voting Christians.

JG said...

Now it all makes sense. :)

Mike Westfall said...

A vote for a third party is not a vote to help defeat the greater of two evils.

DJP said...

I really am serious about not publishing comments that just throw out arguments answered in the post. And I know it feels unfair, I really do, but I'm the judge of that.

It's a long post. I understand that. But you please understand that, having written that long post, I simply do not have time to re-write it for each person who thinks he has really-really special reasons for voting third-party or abstaining... reasons which, so far in every case, have already been anticipated and answered in the post.

Sonja said...

Dan, just excellent. I've been unfriended on FB trying to make the same points yet not as eloquently. My vote makes no difference living in the bluest of states, but I will take a stand against what I truly do see as evil.

The Democrats adopted as their platform Rom. 1. As John MacArthur (and no political animal he) stated "...I was essentially amazed that one of the historic parties here in the United States adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform. This is a new day in our country. ...And by the way, I didn't like it any better when they put God back in because that's blasphemy. To connect God with that agenda is a horror, it's a horror. It's taking His name in vain..."

If only every Christian living in a battleground state would read this post. The Lord gave us this Republic and the right to vote for our leaders. All of them are imperfect, yet some are truly wicked. I believe we are commanded to stand up against wickedness in whatever way we can, which in this case is casting a vote to remove the wicked.

Jim Peet said...

Trying to help this "go viral" by posting on Sharper Iron.


Eddie Eddings said...

Thank you for the solid logic. When it comes to politics, my brain shuts down. This is a shot of adrenaline. Posting on Facebook as soon as I'm through typing.

Bryce said...

I want to sit down with you and Thabiti and drink coffee, talk politics and hug (I had a bad dad!lol) . Good stuff, man. Here's what I do know: regardless of who we elect come November, I'm still gonna do my job: gonna make disciples, gonna honor the Lord until He comes. But, I certainly appreciate this post. Thanks for the clear thinking.

Anonymous said...

As an admittedly disenchanted voter who throws up in my mouth a little every time I think about pushing the little red button next to "Mitt Romney" in a month, let me first say that this is the strongest and most persuasive argument in Romney's favor I've read yet (and I've read a LOT of them lately). I appreciate the way you've made me think.

So rather than try to come up with another reason to vote for a 3rd party candidate (none of whom are at all appealing either, really), let me instead ask you what you would propose as a long-term strategy for those who DO think both parties are "heading for the cliff". What are some practical steps that can incrementally help right the ship? Have you any words of comfort for those potential 3rd Party voters converted to Romney supporters by this post?

I'm not a frequent reader of your blog, and don't want to assume you haven't already addressed this elsewhere. If so, a link will more than suffice as a reply to this comment. Thanks again.

J. Roberts said...

While I agree with many of the points in your post, I think it rather ridiculous that your vote for President rests completely on one issue. Have you considered the great myriad of other topics that burden this country?

Have you considered at all the great financial crisis where, at the hands of those who are wealthiest amongst us, America eventual decline was nearly written in stone? Have you considered the years that we've been at war and the costs that those wars have born out on our nation? The lasting effects of injured troops coming back injured with little to no skills to make it in this extemely competitive workforce?

You speak as if there is one question on the ballot. There's not! There a great myriad of questions that Christians ( who love peace, not war) have to be willing to answer.

Now to address your post: I agree. Choosing not to vote, is in some ways cowardice. Your first numbered point is the best thing in your post. When have we ever had to choose anything other than the lesser of two evils? Great point.

The rest of the post though... I was a bit disappointed.

DJP said...

H&L — yay, a good question.

I assume that political parties are a bit like denominations in a big way, and churches in a smaller way: change is like steering a train. It may be small and gradual, and you've got to be patient and persistent.

Work from within. Field candidates, take positions. The Tea Party movement is a terrific example. They have no home in the Dem party, but they do in the GOP. The fools who keep plummeting down Third Party rabbit trails are simply ignoring the fact that the Tea Party has in fact shaken out entrenched party moderates, and replaced them with fire-in-the-belly conservatives.

That's the path forward for wise, rational, responsible adult Christians. (Shouldn't that be five ways of saying the same thing?)

Robert said...


Do you also think that the evangelical churches in America need to take care of business at home and live under Jesus' lordship if we have any hope of turning the tide? Morality only holds to the morals of the society and those change all the time. I think that this is one of the most effective ways that change will occur here.

Of course, when you look at how the DNC has adopted the sinful desires from Romans 1 into their platform, as Sonja notes (and you posted on twitter/FB - thanks for that as I enjoyed reading listening to his thoughts) MacArthur speaking about, one wonders how long it might be before this country follows that path and reaps the consequences. God turning people over to their sinful desires is definitely not a bright and cheery future, but I think we can see that some of that has actually happened in our present day and age.

Either way, that doesn't excuse us for abdicating our responsibility to make a wise decision with our votes. We shouldn't pout and say we're taking our ball and going home. And if we want better candidates, then we should do something about to equip Christians and evangelize the lost. There isn't that great of a field to choose from and part of the blame has to be cast upon the church for that. In fact, many churches need to repent and return to sound biblical teaching and doctrine. I'm not holding my breath that this will happen, but I think the decay of the evangelical church in America spells doom more than any other phenomenon I can think of.

RubeRad said...

RE 8-fingers -- isn't that all of us? I mean, who types with their thumbs? (except for the right thumb for the spacebar, but still, that's only 9 fingers...)

To the point of the post: I believe everything you say here is factually accurate. But for this information to be enough to make voting for Romney an imperative, you need the premise that abortion is the only issue on the table.

Is there room within christian liberty to find other issues important enough to balance against abortion?

(Note: I'm not saying here that I have found a specific set of issues that would warrant an Obama vote, I'm just asking whether in principle other sincere Christians might)

Lynda O said...

As I see it, neither Obama nor Romney as president would reverse the trend of great decline in the country, especially in the economic sphere -- what with the staggering U.S. debt, a global economy with literally millions of available cheap workers in Asia, and that too many of the younger generation of Americans are lacking basic work skills and motivation to work, preferring the soft college majors and living with their parents, such that American businesses must continue to hire foreigners (legal or illegal) to do the work that the American workforce cannot supply.

However, the great difference is: in four years from now, under Obama we would have far more governmental intrusion and restrictions placed on Christians, in our ability to freely proclaim the gospel. Under Obama we the taxpayers would also be spending a lot more money for abortions as well as other general redistribution of wealth.

DJP said...

Yes Robert, discipleship is the church's primary defined mission.

Voting wisely (see above) and not irresponsibly (see every don't-vote/go-third-party argument) is the way for us to seek the goal we pray for, "in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity" (1 Tim. 2:2). The more Constitution-friendly of the two = greater freedom and resources for the work of the Gospel.

Lynda O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

Rube, I mostly allowed your comment because you've messed me up. I think, to be literal, I type with nine fingers (right thumb, space-bar). I may not do it right; I'm partly self-taught. Now I'm self-taught AND self-conscious, so thanks for that.

Abortion is a good central issue in this case, and it's sort of a gateway issue as well. Just don't say "abortion"; say "murdering inconvenient or imperfect babies." Then re-ask your question: "you need the premise that the state-sanction, taxpayer subsidized murder of well over a thousand babies every day is the only issue on the table."

Not the only. But in this case more than sufficient.

DJP said...

I continue to reject comments from folks who have not read the post, or have not read it well. The commonest complaint is that I haven't sufficiently addressed those noble souls whose way of helping Obama promote the taxpayer subsidized murder of the unborn and increase the State's increasing stranglehold on our freedoms is to vote third-party.

Of course, I did answer that in the post. They just didn't like the answer.

The conflict is now. The mugger is in your bedroom and is assaulting your wife. And your response is to say that you have your doubts about the gun sitting on the desk in front of you. It might jam. It might misfire. You could miss.

So you purpose that you will send $5 to Hieronymous Varfmann, who promises that, given enough funding, he will one day invent the unjammable, never-miss fire-arm.

You congratulate yourself on your caution and sagacity.

As your wife is slowly raped and murdered before your eyes.

Yes, of course you find that offensive.

Because it strips the nobility off of failing to do what lies within our power.

(I made a similar response to a similar challenge 4 years ago here.)

Anonymous said...

"I assume that political parties are a bit like denominations in a big way, and churches in a smaller way: change is like steering a train. It may be small and gradual, and you've got to be patient and persistent."

Thanks for the reply, and I think you're exactly right on this. I, for one, have optimism for the future of American conservatism, precisely because I see the type of activism you're describing. I don't look forward to the next 4-8 years no matter who wins this November, but the liberty movement is laying down great roots in the next generation of political leaders and voters. Paired with a resurgence of sound biblical teaching and the willingness of conservative Christian thinkers and teachers to engage with tough intellectual questions (like you're doing here), I think this bodes well for the future... though I should perhaps curb the enthusiasm lest I begin to sound postmillennial!

Robert said...


I'd add that the only motive for killing these babies is that people want sex with no strings attached. I heard a sermon over the weekend describing this and talking about how the sexual revolution has unleashed an attack on the family.

Also, I wasn't implying that you should be "doing ministry" in my previous comment. I'd actually say your writing here and all of the writing at Pyros has been a good means to call many who claim to be part of the evangelical church to repentance. If only more pastors and elders had taken this type of stand over the years, we might not be where we are.

Robert said...

Maybe Planned Parenthood was the type of business that he was talking about doing well. And then there are all the alternative energy companies that he brokered deals with and funneled our money to...I'm sure some of those guys are doing well.

Terry Rayburn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry Rayburn said...

honeyandlocusts wrote:

"...what you would propose as a long-term strategy for those who DO think both parties are 'heading for the cliff'."

Always vote for the one [who can win] heading for the cliff the slowest :)

"Have you any words of comfort for those potential 3rd Party voters converted to Romney supporters by this post?"

...God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

Bridget4Jesus said...

You are spot on when it comes to the abortion issue. I couldn't agree more! But I REALLY don't want a mormon in the White House because that would give credibility to that cult in the minds of the general public. Then when the missionaries go door to door, more people will be likely to join them. In the long run, more people will be deceived and be led to an eternity in hell.

So which result is better...babies who die and go to Heaven...or deceived people believing in another Jesus and another gospel, headed for hell???

DJP said...

And how did I anticipate and answer that objection in the post, Bridget?

Doug Hibbard said...

I type with the left thumb for the spacebar, but moving on---

In answer to the "What do we about long-term?" I would suggest this addition: many of us on the quite-right side of politics have feared the impact of liberal policies on the 2nd Amendment and bought like crazy. Keep that up, no matter who is in office, and fear of an armed populace will keep them willing to talk.

Closer on-track: one of the things that happened here in Arkansas after the last Presidential election was a bill floated into our state legislature to award the state's electoral votes to whomever won the nation-wide popular vote. That would have meant, for example, that in 2008 Arkansas would have awarded the 6 votes to Obama even though we voted McCain. That died in committee, revealing our strong Baptist heritage around here. (We Baptists can kill anything with a committee.)

But that idea is out there. Which makes your vote matter even if you are part of the few conservative votes in a liberal state--even if defeated, the smaller the gap in national popular vote, the greater the defense against that kind of foolishness.

So there's another long-term issue: if you're in a small state that does not frequently buy into West/East Coast values and you want to keep your vote for President in a way that it matters, don't give the "let the popular vote overall decide" crowd any additional ammunition. Because the system as it sits helps keep the votes of all Americans mattering.


beachbirdie said...

Linked on my facebook. Excellent article.

Waiting to see how many of my "friends" un-friend me.

So far, DD#4 has decided to participate in election. Was leaning towards "don't vote (=Obama)".

DJP said...

Well praise the Lord. Not the most significant difference I can make in life, but it's something: two that I know of (so far) have changed their minds. Yay.

Josh Dermer said...

So Dan, when are you going to post this on the Pyro blog?

Josh Dermer said...

I wanted to ask you this question...

In a congressional race between a moderate Republican and a conservative candidate from the Constitution Party as the only two candidates on the ballot, for whom would you vote? This actually happened in the district where I used to live a number of years ago.

Tim Buttram said...

Great post, and I agree with it entirely. Just wish you could expand it in some way to include Libertarian reasons for a third party candidate.

For example, you talk about Christians voting for candidates because of moral issues. What about the Libertarians who want third party candidates to leave the federal government out of the abortion, homosexuality, trade, the economy, and foreign affairs?

Robert said...


Obama actually speaks out all kinds of things that don't agree with the Bible or what Jesus said and claims to be a Christian. While most people can easily go through the fundamental beliefs of the Mormon church and show it is not in line with Christianity, it is harder to do so with somebody actually claiming to be a mainstream Christian.

Colloquist said...

"But I REALLY don't want a mormon in the White House because that would give credibility to that cult in the minds of the general public. Then when the missionaries go door to door, more people will be likely to join them. In the long run, more people will be deceived and be led to an eternity in hell.
So which result is better...babies who die and go to Heaven...or deceived people believing in another Jesus and another gospel, headed for hell???"

You are suggesting it is better to continue a policy of unabated, unthwarted abortion- and infanticide-on-demand than to "risk" a Mormon in the WH?

You are insinuating by your logic that the religious affiliation of the man in the WH determines whether God is successful at saving His elect. That "legitimizing" some errant faith makes people less likely to be saved. What kind of weak, fragile god are you talking about, who depends on us to elect the guy who will help him save more sinners? What kind of standardless god are you talking about, who would rather see more babies murdered?

Blasphemy makes me *mad.*

JG said...

Bridget et al, I'd just like to reiterate Dan's original point: a Mormon candidate on a major party ticket can be a great opportunity for evangelism, or at the very least education of the saints. Because Mitt Romney is now more a household name than ever, I've been able to start conversations with friends, both Christian and Mormon, regarding the differences between what Mormonism teaches and what the Bible teaches.

If a Mormon in the White House would be a hindrance to evangelism, who exactly would be hindered? The listeners or the speakers? My experience is that people are MORE curious about Mormonism and what the Bible teaches, as long as we are willing to engage them.

kateg said...

I don't get the whole "I won't vote for a mormon" thing. Just who is it they voted for in the past? Bill Clinton? John McCain? Barack Obama? John Kerry? George Bush(es)? Al Gore? Hilary? Reagan? Nixon? Huh? I know of no one in politics today (or ever) whose religious views are always in line with the biblical view, never mind my little circle's views. Might as well stop voting altogether right now, or should have stopped probably 100 years ago, or probably never could have voted in "good conscience."

Unknown said...

Ok, I'm a pro-life Buddahist-conservative who is fed up with choosing the lesser of two evils and I must thank you for pointing out certain realities. My indignation at the lack of representation I experience each and avery election is NOTHING compared to the loss of an innocent human life. I pledge to become a proud, SINGLE ISSUE voter
(liberals HATE us)and forever stand with those who oppose abortion of convenience. I can admit when I'm wrong and I was on the verge of writing in Herman Cain as a "signal" to the country-club republicans running the party today. My differences with them are meaningless when we're allowing people to butcher our unborn! Thanks again.

Sarah D said...

This might be one of the most inflammatory, insulting, and hurtful articles I've seen yet in this election, and all because of a difference in opinion. I'd expect this from a secular publication, but I am surprised and disappointed to see that a "Christian" blog would show so little grace to people who disagree with the author. It's one thing to express an opinion, and I love that in a free country we have the ability to do so. It's another thing to insult those who disagree. As Christians, aren't we called to grace? Rather than calling third party candidates and those who vote for them ignorant, foolish, and immature, I'd like to see Christians love each other because Christ first loved us. Making the assumption that a well-thought-out, researched, and prayed-over opinion/decision is wrong, I would challenge this "Christian" blogger to assume a position of humility, rather than of self-righteousness. I'm willing to be "wrong" (as though an opinion could ever be wrong) in my choices, but isn't that between me and my Savior? What right does this blogger have to judge those who vote third party? It really bugs me that Mr. Phillips makes the insinuation that good Christians vote for Romney. There's no such thing as a "good" Christian. We are all saved by grace, and I can't fathom that my informed decision in this election would be considered "sinful" and "immature". And the last time I checked, Jesus was not a Republican.

DJP said...

I know I shouldn't have published that last comment, the one by Sarah, but sometimes I just can't resist. It is so classic, and so representative of the ones I reject, or the sputtering and crying I've seen elsewhere.

Apparently I have written a post that I can't find anywhere. In that post, I have provided no argumentation whatever. No Scripture, no logic, no progression of thought. No substance.

In that post, I have simply insulted people who don't agree with me. I have used the phrase "good Christian," and said — without substantiation! — that all good Christians agree with me.

I wish I could find that post so that I could disown it. All I'm left with is the one up over this meta, with its good-faith attempt at forceful, passionate argumentation.

Joshua Spell said...

Mr. Philips,

I'm a second year college student and one of those people who doesn't like Romney—only dislike him less than the incumbent—so this post made me mad... but you're absolutely right. Completely and totally changed my mind. I've been irrational, and you and Mr. Turk have taken away every excuse I have to vote third party in the general election. In this instance, to follow my "conscience" would be unconscionable.

And to the middle-aged commenters who still want to vote third party... it's a shame I'm more rational than you. I'm nineteen. You're forty. Grow up! ;)

DJP said...

Joshua, my hat's off to you for thinking through your emotional reaction. Sincerely. I wish there were more who would do the same, but unfortunately many stop right there.

Regular readers know I'm right there with you. Mitt Romney was just about my last choice among the GOP candidates, or a tie for it.

Even now, he's my next-to-last choice.

Right behind Barack Obama.

But to be fair, his selection of Paul Ryan, and what that says for the future, and what that suggests about the sorts of people I can hope he'd appoint to positions of responsibility, my estimation of him has risen.

Unknown said...

Great post! I use to be the confused third party person that loathed the thought of voting and didn't understand why my reasons for not voting were so moronic and complacent. Praise the Lord that He has shown me the error of my ways!

Kevin James Bywater said...

Thank you for your helpful thoughts. I too have discussed these subjects. In one post I discuss the abortion issue (I elect to be truly pro-life: and in another I discuss Mormonism (Can Christians vote for Mormons?: Again, thanks for your good thoughts.

Sarah D said...

Mr Philips,
I'd like to address some of your comments:

"I know I shouldn't have published that last comment, the one by Sarah, but sometimes I just can't resist. It is so classic, and so representative of the ones I reject, or the sputtering and crying I've seen elsewhere."
You seem to be unhappy that I disagree with you. I attempted extremely carefully to be tasteful, not insulting. I apologize that you feel insulted. My intent was only to call out pride and poor logic, not to spam your blog. It sounds like you reject comments that disagree with you. Is this so that when you look superior when everyone agrees?

"Apparently I have written a post that I can't find anywhere. In that post, I have provided no argumentation whatever. No Scripture, no logic, no progression of thought. No substance."
Your logic is inherently flawed. Don't vote for the third party because they can't win? You're right... if I don't vote for them, they can't win. Circular reasoning, anyone? Secondly, your use of Scripture sounds a lot like Satan's quotation of God's word to tempt both Eve and Jesus. The devil knows Scripture and uses it for his own purposes. You said, "That is, God holds us accountable for making intelligent decisions that take all the facts into consideration (Prov. 11:14; 13:10; 15:22; 16:1, 3, 9; 19:20-21; 24:6)." But you make a faulty assumption that voting for anyone other than Romney is an excuse to ignore conscience. I agree 100% with scripture on wisdom. I don't agree that voting for Romney is the only "wise" choice. Even today he is waffling on the issue of abortion, and yet you claim it's the primary reason for voting for him.

"In that post, I have simply insulted people who don't agree with me. I have used the phrase "good Christian," and said — without substantiation! — that all good Christians agree with me."
You may not have used the words "good Christian", but your insinuations were strong that according to Scripture only fools vote third party, and in the Bible fools are generally not associated with a relationship with God.

"I wish I could find that post so that I could disown it. All I'm left with is the one up over this meta, with its good-faith attempt at forceful, passionate argumentation."
It seems that you don't support the idea that we should be able to have a discussion and disagree. It seems you must be right, and because I disagree, I must be wrong. It's no wonder the world looks at Christians like they are crazy. This article is like catnip for a cat.

DJP said...

I fear I'm not being kind to you that I publish your comment, Sarah, because you don't come off well in it. You underscore what I said, admit to none of the glaring errors I pointed out, double down, and heighten the strong impression that you simply didn't read the article (e.g. compare your last paragraph to my article's last sentence).

Apart from the doubling-down on the things you simply made up, your most nearly substantial paragraph (the second) was anticipated and conclusively answered in the post.

So: I'll go back to holding the rules I enunciated in the post. If you comment again to worsen or re-repeat the what you've already done, don't expect to see it published.

Kat R. said...

This is astoundingly written. Amazing job. Sharing with everyone I know and quoting/linking it! I just had a woman comment to me.. that, "I have some nerve posting this!" If that's the only reply I could get out of people, the point has been made. Others are refusing to comment. Ha!

This really makes you think. Thanks for writing it in Laymans terms.