Obama or Romney? Christians and Convictions at War

Christians nationwide are divided on who to vote for this election season. While they believe that their convictions should guide their voting practices, many have varying opinions on what is the right choice to make this November and what standards should be taken into consideration.

Varying Views

According to Gallup, 54% of Americans who identify as being “very religious” state that they support Mitt Romney, as opposed to 37% who support Barack Obama.

Among those backing Romney include the group Evangelicals for Mitt, which was first launched in 2006. It is comprised of a number of professing evangelical Christians who support the Mormon presidential candidate.

“I don’t know about you, but going to church has been a lot less interesting now that everyone is behind Gov. Romney. Even my friends who seemed to be the most opposed to supporting him are now actually enthusiastic about him,” writes supporter Nancy French, who often writes for the group’s website. “[A]t church on Sunday, I asked around. One woman said she’d definitely support Gov. Romney, and a man — with whom I literally had a shouting match in the halls of Wednesday night church — told me that he’d ‘walk over broken glass’ to vote for Mitt. I even talked to a woman who was 100% opposed to Mitt during the last go-around. When I asked her if she’d vote for Mitt when he’s the nominee, she sheepishly admitted that she voted for him in 2008. ‘You wore me down,’ she said.”

The group claims that it supports Romney because his beliefs are closer to theirs than Obama, and asserts that Romney’s Mormon religion does not matter.

“Political and moral values are informed by — but not the same as — one’s religion. That’s why we are not casting our lot with the person whose theology we like most,” the site states.

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Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of a 10,000-member megachurch in Dallas, Texas agrees. Jeffress originally stated in an interview last October, “Evangelical Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon, therefore not a real Christian.” He also outlined that he was going to be teaching a sermon series on how Christians should vote, noting, “John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, said, ‘It is our duty to prefer and select Christians as our leaders.'”

Additionally, in 2007, he exhorted his congregation, “It’s a little hypocritical for the last eight years to be talking about how important it is for us to elect a Christian president and then turn around and endorse a non-Christian. … Christian conservatives are going to have to decide whether having a Christian president is really important or not.”

However, Jeffress now denies that he ever discouraged anyone from voting for the Mormon candidate.

“I never said Christians shouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney,” he told the Dallas Observer in April. “I was answering a question about his theology. And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians, but we do share many of the same values, like the sanctity of life and religious freedom.”

Jeffress says that Christians should support Romney despite his Mormonism because Obama stands for many things that Christians oppose.

However, professing Christians who support Barack Obama are also excusing their differences with the president by using the same reasoning: Americans are electing a president and not a pastor, and discrepancies in theological beliefs should not matter.

“[Obama] swore to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution, not the Bible,” preached Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas in a sermon upholding homosexual unions. “He is not the pastor of the United States; he is the president of the United States.”

The Facebook page “Christians for Obama” also declares, “This is a community of people who believe that Barack Obama shares our Christian values more than most of his political adversaries.” A supporter chimed in, “President Obama and family are truly Christians. We all must pray for him and his family during this time of campaigning and for him to become our president for another four years.”

Similarly, as previously reported, Obama hired 24-year-old Michael Wear, a professing Christian from Buffalo, New York, to be his Faith Vote Director earlier this year. In between Tweets about Scripture and messages to various pastors, Wear sings Obama’s praises on his Twitter page, writing “President Obama stands with the faith leaders who wrote to Congress. On tax policies — values matter,” and retweeting comments from Michelle Obama, such as “He’s fighting for our families.” Wear served for over three years in Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

When Christian News Network called Wear’s former church, National Community Church in Washington, D.C., for comment, a representative explained that none wished to discuss the matter as the church is “apolitical,” and added, “Good luck.”

However, while many such as these were supportive of Obama during the last election, some are now strongly against him.

“If you are honest, I think you will conclude – as have I and so many others – that Obama’s agenda is both wicked from a Christian perspective and highly manipulative when it comes to black Americans,” said Pastor William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors, who has been urging black pastors to reject Obama at the ballot box this November. “I say we as a nation of free families need to carefully consider just who this person is – black or not.”

Former 1999 presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who supports Mitt Romney, declined Christian News Network’s request for comment. Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council also failed to return several phone calls requesting comment about Perkins’ support for Mitt Romney.

Voting Party Lines or Voting ‘Conservative’

Former 2004 presidential candidate Michael Peroutka, who ran under the Constitution Party, and co-founder of the Institute on the Constitution, says that the logic of the majority of professing Christians is fatally flawed. He believes that Christians should choose neither Romney or Obama because neither uphold what he calls “the American view,” and are not much different in principle since both support abortion and homosexuality — only to different degrees.

“Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are both principally the same person. … You’re not voting for anything different when you’re voting for Romney,” he told Christian News Network. “I think the only righteous thing to do is vote for neither. … I don’t think God requires you to vote for evil.”

He stated that the voting practices of Christians have contributed to the sinking of our nation into the quagmire that it is stuck in today.

“We have voted [for years] for the lesser of two evils, so we get evil,” he said. “And we deserve it because we vote for it.”

America’s Party Presidential Candidate Tom Hoefling

Current presidential third party candidate Tom Hoefling, who is running under America’s Party, agrees.

“America cannot be saved until Christians stop supporting what they say they hate. And so, if the existing parties continue to refuse to act in a moral and constitutional manner, Christians have no choice but to build new vehicles for just government,” he stated.

Peroutka outlined that he does not believe voting “conservative” or along party lines is the proper Biblical mindset.

“I would ask you, even empirically, where has that gotten us?” he declared. “When we’re voting for a conservative, we’re using the wrong standard. [You’re basically voting to] kill one less baby than a liberal.”

However, Evangelicals for Mitt asserts otherwise.

“If the debacle of 2008 taught us anything, it’s that you cannot abandon the base and win an election. We must unite fiscal and social conservatives within the same tent. We cannot argue over which of the self-described ‘wings’ of the party are most crucial,” the group states.

“I don’t think folks should base their vote on any particular denominational flavor,” Hoefling opined. “They should decide based on proven adherence to the core principles of our republic, to the stated purposes of our Constitution and to the sacred obligation to fulfill their oath to support the Constitution.”

Peroutka said that while many believe that they must vote for Romney in order to evict Obama from the White House, if Christians continue to vote in this manner, “we will continue to suffer the lawless age we live in.”

“It leads directly to the kind of thing that happened in Aurora, Colorado,” he lamented. “Lawlessness breeds lawlessness.”

How Now Shall We Vote?

2004 Presidential Candidate Michael Peroutka

Peroutka explained that Christians must vote for those who seek to uphold and implement God’s law in our nation, as that is the only righteous standard not based on the opinion of men.

“God’s law is always applicable to every person at every time in every circumstance,” he stated. “God’s law is never to be shelved for a secular purpose.”

He pointed to the fact that in early American history, the courts used the writings of Sir William Blackstone as guides, which were based on the law of God.

“They were quoting Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus,” Peroutka advised.

“Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being,” Blackstone wrote in a commentary that was printed in Philadelphia in 1771. “And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will.”

“The doctrines thus delivered we call the ‘revealed or divine law,’ and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature,” Blackstone continued. “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.”

While some may say that the standards outlined in Scripture were only for Israel, Peroutka disagrees.

“You are tethered in some way to a standard. The questions is, whose is it?” he explained. “If God and His law are not the source of rights, then you don’t have a place to stand on to say that you have any.”

He also provided the following example:

“If you have twenty-eight complaints against the king, and the king is the lawgiver, your complaints don’t mean anything,” he said. “[But], if there’s another authority above the king, then the king has [rebelled] against that authority.”

Peroutka said that without the law of God being the ultimate authority in our nation, “now you are just a subject [to the president, and] you will do as you’re told.”

Pat Necerato of VoteBiblical.com

Pat Necerato of VoteBiblical.com agrees.

“A nation’s leader is a reflection of the heart of its people. There cannot be public virtue without private virtue,” he said. “It is the every person’s duty to stand up for God in politics and never compromise the Word of God as the only standard in every area of life.”

Necerato stood up to lawmakers in his own home state of New Jersey earlier this year to outline these views as legislators were considering legalizing homosexual “marriage.”

“Our standard of morality should be based on God’s standard, not our own individual autonomy,” he declared at the state house in Trenton. “If you vote this bill in, what you’re doing is, in essence, you are voting against God.”

“Our churches don’t preach this,” Peroutka lamented. “And in many cases they are on the side of the progressive left wing.”

Still, Evangelicals for Mitt believes that Christians should vote for Romney because he is a “standout conservative governor.”

“In other words, he’s not just a man evangelicals can support — he’s the best choice for people of faith,” the group writes. “We need a president who embraces a comprehensive and positive values agenda.”

“[G]iven the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces non-Biblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who embraces Bible principles, there’s every reason to support Mitt Romney in this election,” says Robert Jeffress.

Christians for Obama, however, asserts that Obama should be re-elected because “Obama is doing his best to spread peace, help the poor [and] bring heath care to the sick.”

“It’s far past time to wake up,” concluded Peroutka. “Neither Mr. Romney or Mr. Obama care about the American view. … With respect to what they believe and what they do, they are not Americans.”

“[For Christians to reject God’s law] is a dangerous and foolish thing to do.”

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