Bob Cornwall: Vote Your Conscience

A review of Brian Kaylor’s book, Vote Your Conscience: Party Must Not Trump Principles

by Dr. Bob Cornwall, pastor and author of Faith in the Public Square, Ultimate Allegiance: The Subversive Nature of the Lord’s Prayer, Unfettered Spirit: Spiritual Gifts for the New Great Awakening, and more!

As I write this review it is just a few days after the first 2016 Presidential debate, and less than six weeks until the 2016 elections. Those who choose to vote, and I will be voting, will elect leaders and representatives from local to national. Most prominent, of course, is the Presidential election. This is a most unusual year. Both major candidates carry tremendous baggage, though I would argue that one carries much more than the other. There are minor party candidates but our system isn’t designed for truly multi-party elections. The electoral college requires that the winner garner a majority of electoral votes. It’s been a while since a third party candidate won even one state. It won’t happen this time either.

For people of faith elections pose interesting challenges. The government is not a religious entity (though sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between state and church due to a strong tradition of civil religion). There are no officially religious parties, though people tend to line up with a particular party that seems to best align with their perceived moral visions. I am a registered Democrat and have been since seminary. I am a Democrat because overall it better aligns with my moral principles, which are fueled by my faith tradition. Others will choose a different party because they have chosen to emphasize a different set of principles. This year the candidacy of Donald Trump, a man who seems to have little serious religious sensibilities (beyond the Power of Positive Thinking), is receiving overwhelming support from White Evangelicals, despite what many consider unchristian statements and positions. Their decision is largely due to Trumps promise to nominate so-called “pro-life” judges and support “religious liberty,” including removing the restrictions on political endorsements. (Read more …)