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November 2022 Elections: Vote, and Vote Smart
By Col. Scott McChrystal, Battle Ready Ministries Board Advisor
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On November 8, national, state, and local elections will chart the direction of our nation for years to come, and the Democratic and Republican parties’ platforms point to very different directions.
Our forefathers established a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” As such, every citizen has the right to vote. Even with the division prevalent in America today, we are still living in the greatest country on earth. Your vote is essential toward maintaining our liberty and strength as a nation. Three questions should frame your approach to this election season.
ARE THERE REASONS YOU SHOULDN’T VOTE?
Unfortunately, many Americans cite reasons not to vote. Consider these two:
I don’t like either of the candidates.
Please don’t fall for this excuse. If you don’t like either candidate, vote for the candidate you believe will be even marginally better for America—at the local, state, and national level. Failure to vote means that you forfeit your voice in determining America’s future.
I am a Christian—or a person of some other faith—and I’ve been told that politics and religion don’t mix. I’ll leave the voting to others.
We are blessed to live in a free nation where our political system is founded on the belief that every citizen can have a voice through casting a vote at the ballot box. Thousands of Americans throughout our history have fought and died or been wounded to protect our freedoms. That includes the right to vote. Don’t devalue their sacrifice. Don’t remain silent. Your vote is your voice, and your voice has been protected at great cost.
WHAT PRINCIPLES SHOULD GUIDE YOUR VOTE?
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
(James 2:18, ESV)\
When evaluating political party platforms, as well as individual candidates running for political office, don’t blindly accept everything a candidate or party says. Confirm that their past actions have fulfilled their campaign promises. In other words, do their works match the principles they claim to hold?
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There are no shortcuts to this process. But you can streamline your efforts.
Select the top five to seven issues that you deem to be the most critical for these upcoming elections.
Identify the position each party platform takes on an issue, and what individual candidates say that they believe. (Don’t depend on one source, i.e., CNN, FOX, NBC, etc.)
Ascertain what each politician claims he/she will do if elected regarding each of the issues you have selected. Don’t settle for generalities. Research specific actionseach candidate proposes to take.
If the candidate has held previous public office, find out how he/she has performed in the past in relation to these issues. Checking the individual’s voting record will tell you a lot.
Determine if the candidate has flip-flopped on a particular issue. In other words, has the individual simply said what he/she thought constituents wanted to hear at the time?
It is not only fair to evaluate each candidate’s character, it is essential to do so. Our politicians’ collective leadership will set the direction of this country for years to come. It is vitally important that we have leaders of upstanding character.
ARE YOU CONNECTING YOUR VOTE AND YOUR CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW?
God’s guidance in Scripture is clear and direct on many topics but may not specifically touch on others. When discussing the economy, national defense, gun control, illegal immigration, and other headline issues, good people who are equally committed to a biblical standard choose different views.
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I recommend the following link hosted by the Family Research Council which provides a comparison of political party platforms:
This election is casting light on the deep contrasts between America’s two political parties. The battle lines are drawn, and the people will decide. Determine that you will become as informed as possible about the issues and will pray for God’s guidance as you exercise your right and privilege to vote. Evil triumphs when good people remain silent. Let your voice be heard. Vote!
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Chaplain (Col.) Scott McChrystal, Ret.
Chaplain (Col.) Scott McChrystal was commissioned in 1970 and served 31 years on active duty, 10 as an infantry officer and the remainder as a United States Army chaplain. His line officer experience included a tour in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Leader and three assignments with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His final assignment was as the senior chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He retired from active duty in 2005 and served as the Military/VA Representative and Endorser within the Chaplaincy Department for the General Council of the Assemblies of God from 2005-2019. His decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Award, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, and the Army Ranger Tab. His education includes a Master of Business Administration Degree, a Master of Divinity Degree, a Doctor of Ministry Degree, and graduation from The United States Army War College. In recent years, he and his wife have written several Christian devotionals. In addition, Scott co-authored a Christian action-novel and served as the managing editor for the The Warrior’s Bible, an application Bible for the military community. He presently serves as the Executive Liaison for The Warrior’s Journey, a non-profit organization that supports the military community. He’s also a member of the Distinguished Advisory Board for Battle Ready Ministries. He and his wife, Judy, live in Springfield, Missouri, and have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.
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A Prayer for our Nation's Election
Dear Heavenly Father, Today we acknowledge You as our Lord. We thank You for the privilege of being able to organize ourselves politically and of knowing that political loyalty does not have to mean disloyalty to You. We thank You for Your law, which our Founding Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law. We thank You for the opportunity that this election year puts before us, to exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote, and to vote correctly. Dear ABBA, we pray that You will awaken your people. Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation, their response to You requires that they be politically active. Please awaken Your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith renewing the world. Please awaken them that the same hands lifted up to You in prayer sre the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth; that the same eyes that read Your Word are the eyes that read the names on the ballot, and that they do not cease to be Christians when they enter the voting booth. Awaken Your people to a commitment to justice, to the sanctity of marriage and the family, to the dignity of each individual human life, and to the truth that human rights begin when Human Lives Begin, and not one moment later. Dear ABBA, we rejoice today that we are citizens of Your kingdom. May that make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord God. In the mighty name of Jesus, we pray together, Amen