Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

To: Kentucky Pastors
From: Richard Nelson
Re: Open Letter to the Church
March 1, 2016

Several states have weighed in on the U.S. Presidential Primaries. Now it's Kentucky's turn. The Republican Caucus is this Saturday, March 5 and the Democratic Primary is on Tuesday, May 17.   The question to Kentucky's Christians is whether the Christian faith is of any public consequence.

Do Biblical principles apply to our lives in the public arena?
Do they apply to our political choices?

In the book of Exodus we read of the sage advice Jethro gave Moses when the burden to lead became too great for him. He said to "look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens (Exodus 18:21). That was sound advice then and its just as sound today.

Four things are underscored here:

  • Leaders should have the ability to lead. 
  • Leaders should fear God. This is a healthy respect for the Lord, governing as if they will one day give an account for their actions.
  • Leaders should demonstrate trustworthiness.
  • Leaders should hate a bribe. Governing is a trust. Bribery is the easiest way to corrupt government, hence the strong words that leaders should "hate a bribe."

As a matter of practice, Christians should seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). It makes sense that we, a self-governing people with the ability to choose our leaders, should seek out leaders who are just, merciful and clothed in humility.

Here are a few other questions to ask about candidates:

  • What kind of character has the person demonstrated in their life?
  • Have they been honest in their business dealings? Were they reputable?
  • How have they treated others in the past? How are they treating others now?
  • Is this person the best representation of righteous ideals?

Fear is motivating far too many Christians. The problem with this is that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). We shouldn't be driven by fear nor captivated by it. Fear is not the defining quality of a Christian. Ultimately it undercuts faith.

“Can the candidate win?”  If we’ve heard that once we’ve heard it a dozen times during this election cycle. When it comes to political strategy that may be an important question, but what if we treasured our vote in such a way as to be more principled than pragmatic? What if a large number of voters insisted on Godly character qualities in a candidate? It could change the outcome of an election.

Voting can be considered a deeply spiritual exercise. It reveals one's most important priorities. It is also a stewardship. God has blessed us with many freedoms in this Commonwealth and across the nation. He's entrusted us with the privilege of choosing our leaders. A failure to vote is saying that we don't care enough about the blessings of liberty to preserve it. A failure to vote for the candidate that best embodies Biblical principles and the skill set to lead shows a disregard for Biblical principles. We are not voting for a Savior in this Presidential Election cycle, but how we vote reveals what we really think about the Savior.

Feel free to contact me if I can be of further help to you. May the Lord bless you as you further His Kingdom.

I am most sincerely yours,

Richard Nelson
Executive Director
Commonwealth Policy Center