By Rev. Kevin Roop
“Pastor, who are you voting for?”
One of my junior catechumens asked that last week. Politics, and political advertising, are wall-to-wall and around-the-clock here in Iowa these days. By “these days,” I mean most of the 10 years since I was called to Iowa.
Summer 2006 found several hotly contested state offices up for grabs. But we new residents hadn’t seen anything yet. The day after the November general election, before one sigh of relief, the ads began for the 2008 Iowa presidential caucuses, still more than a year away. 2010 and 2014 weren’t any different. Now, it’s once again time for the caucuses.
The answer to that question is never short. Instead, I point our members to two basic Scriptures about the relationship of the Christian to government and politics.
First, Romans 13: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Next, to Acts 4 and 5, where Peter and the other apostles say: “We must obey God rather than men.”
Right now, I can’t give the direct desired answer. I just don’t know. Sorting out parties and candidates is terribly frustrating. There is no “perfect” answer. Too many promises have been broken. And the truth is, electing even the “right” candidate will not fix a broken, sin-filled world.
None of this means I won’t vote. We Christians should responsibly exercise the freedom to elect our officials. But there is more to this than just voting.
We also have great liberty to speak to elected officials and to hold them accountable for what is allowed on their watch. Those who bear the name of Christ must pray for these officials, encourage them in their vocation, and lovingly communicate the beautiful worldview the Lord holds out in Scripture (and not necessarily with a direct reference to the Bible).
With the murder of the unborn and the perversion of marriage heralded as normal and preferable, now is no time for the church in America to be silent. We dare not sit this one out.
Though we despair of the available candidates, grieve decisions of the courts and mourn the fruits of elections, we still act, remembering that God says: “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Daniel 4:17).
The Rev. Kevin Roop is Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, Marcus, Iowa.