Prayer, the Polls, and Principle
It has been reported that John Adams, second President of the United States, once said, “No man who ever held the office of President would congratulate a friend on obtaining it!” The one who fills the highest office in the land of the free and the home of the brave is, in many ways, occupying an unenviable position. He and others who are in positions of civil authority are in need of our prayers. Paul wrote, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, FOR KINGS AND ALL WHO ARE IN AUTHORITY . . .” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, emp. added). The religion of our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man FOR THE LORD’S SAKE, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. . . . Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 17, emp. added). Of course, if obedience to an ordinance (law) of man causes one to disobey God’s ordinances (law), then "we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Furthermore, our prayers in reference to civil authorities are not only for them but for us, and on behalf of the progress of the gospel, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence . . . in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:2-4).
All of the above is not to suggest that the promotion of political views has a place in the pulpit of the church. How we go about promoting education, reducing national debt, providing health care, securing national defense, etc., are basically political issues. One may feel very strongly about a particular political view on these, or similar issues, but it is not the purpose of the church to promote such. However, other issues may arise in the life of a nation, and make their way into the arena of political debate, that are fundamentally moral and spiritual in nature. For example, abortion and homosexuality are issues that relate, not merely to a political view, but to basic, fundamental and spiritual philosophy. These issues involve basic Christian principles. When we exercise our right to select leaders in our nation we should remember that the morale and destiny of a nation, and its citizens, are affected by what that nation (i.e. its leaders and its citizens) believe and practice concerning basic moral and spiritual principles (cf. Proverbs 14:34). As Christians, our loyalty is not to politics but to prayer and principle.
Charles C. Pugh III