Should a candidate’s faith decide your vote?

So as to save myself from a public lynching, please understand that I am not making a comment on the separation of church and state. Nor am I being so presumptuous as to suggest that our faith and our political system should be or have been disassociated. No, I am addressing the idea that one candidate is more worthy than the other due to his religious beliefs. Often, I have heard a candidate garner support from the Christian community because of his religious background. I am not discounting the value of a candidate’s faith. What I am trying to say is this: your faith should help you grow and become a better person than who you were before. It should not elevate you above others. Leadership qualities are not intrinsically linked to the Christian faith.

Some of the best leaders this world has ever seen have not been of the Christian faith. They have been examples to believers, as well as to the secular world. Would anyone suggest that Thomas Jefferson, a deist, was not more suited to the Oval Office than George W. Bush? Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest leaders this world has ever seen, held no ties to the Christian faith. In the pluralistic society we live in today, the idea that a candidate’s faith qualifies him more than the next guy is unrealistic.

Being a Christian makes you no more fit to hold public office than a non-Christian. The underlying belief behind my point is that our salvation lies in God’s grace, not our strength. Now, I understand that Christians are to serve with humility; I am not suggesting that the idea that believers are more fit to lead is erroneous due to pride. Nor am I suggesting that believers are more fit to hold public office. My point merely is this: differentiate one candidate from the other by the abilities God has blessed him or her with, not the grace one has chosen to accept.

This obviously applies to more than voting. Do we assume that a lawyer will do a better job if he or she is a believer? A store clerk? A doctor? No. So when you vote in this upcoming election, I hope you base your decision not on whom you identify the most with, but on whom you believe has the best leadership qualities, even if that person is not a believer.

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