Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Voter Suppression or Fraud Suppression?

The ongoing debate about voter ID laws is really beginning to stretch the limits of common sense. (I know I am already into strange territory, since common sense often seems to be totally out of place in the political arena.)
Those who favor voter ID laws say such laws are necessary to stop voter fraud. Those who oppose the laws say they are only defending voter rights and that the laws are really designed to prevent minorities from voting.
The claim is often heard that any requirement to get an ID is discriminatory and is a tremendous hardship on certain groups of people. The counter-argument to that is that an ID is required to drive a car, cash a check, rent a DVD, buy alcohol, and a multitude of other things.
A congressman recently said during a panel discussion that the arguments in favor of voter ID laws are not valid because driving a car is not a fundamental right like voting. The congressman's argument is bogus and cannot be taken seriously. Those who claim that voting is a "fundamental right" conveniently leave off a couple of words. It would be correct to say "voting is a fundamental right of citizens." If voting is a right of citizens, then it logically follows that citizenship must be proven in some way, and a picture ID is the common sense way to accomplish this. (Again, "logic" and "common sense" are not always used in political thinking.)
Generally speaking, those who favor voter ID laws do so in order to insure fair elections. Do such people want to suppress the vote? In one way, the answer is "yes," because they want to suppress the votes of dead people, fictitious people, cartoon characters, non-citizens, multiple votes by the same person, etc. Such votes absolutely should be suppressed in order to prevent election fiascos such as ending up with more votes than voters and with the last few hundred ballots conveniently discovered in the trunk of someone's car during a recount.
While there may be some who oppose voter ID laws for what they may see as noble reasons, it is hard not to believe that the general motive is to find a way to cheat in order to win elections. Someone who truly believes in fair elections will want one vote for each eligible voter. It is interesting that often those who say, "We just want everyone to vote and every vote to be counted" are those who do everything they can to suppress the votes of our military members serving in harm's way. Maybe that is just a tad hypocritical.
It is a great privilege to live in a country where we are allowed to vote. So many people in this world do not have such a privilege. We need to treat our voting rights with respect and insure that only those who are truly eligible to vote do so.
Why do we have outright lies during campaigns and voter fraud during elections? The Scriptures answer this question for us in a very pointed way. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV).

Monday, September 24, 2012

No Political Solutions for Spiritual Problems

The presidential election is coming very soon. Every election is important, but this one seems to be of much greater significance than most, because there are two very clear directions in front of us as we go to the polls. Christians must examine the issues and party platforms, and we must be very careful not to vote for those who stand on unbiblical grounds, no matter how much we may like some small portion of what a party stands for. Self-interest must be put aside for the greater good. However things turn out, it is imperative that we not be accomplices to helping unrighteousness prevail. We only answer for what we do, not for what others may do.
Even though we must meet our obligations as temporary citizens here and must stand for right, we must also remember that the major problem in our nation has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. The problem with the United States is not political; it is spiritual, and there are no political solutions for spiritual problems. As a country, we have turned our collective backs on righteousness and truth. Scripture describes us well. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!" (Isaiah 5:20-23, NKJV).
No human effort, including politics, can offer a real solution to spiritual problems. Changing laws and policies can put a temporary bandage on the problem, but these things are not long-term solutions. Laws and policies, not matter how well-intentioned and how popular, can be changed back as soon as a new group of politicians gets into power. All noble-sounding human efforts to help people are doomed to fail and result in even greater problems and corruption, because they do not attack the root of the problem but only treat the symptoms.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV).
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NKJV).
King Nebuchadnezzar saw himself as something really important, but his judgment came on him because of his arrogance, and he was told it would last "...until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." (Daniel 4:32, NKJV).
God is in control of all things, and He does what pleases Him.
"But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases" (Psalm 115:3, NKJV).
"For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places" (Psalm 135:5-6, NKJV).
Our hope is in Him, not in politicians and government. Sometimes godly leaders are in power, and a nation prospers and is blessed. Other times, ungodly leaders are used as God's judgment on a nation. Sometimes God allows people to make very poor choices and then live with the consequences. Maybe that is where the United States is headed. Obviously, we all want things to come out in a way that pleases us. That may or may not happen. However, we can rest assured that nothing happens without God's permission, and ultimately, all things do work out for the good of His people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hebrews 5:12-6:12

In a previous post, I mentioned a sermon our pastor preached on Hebrews 5:12-6:12. It is now online here and is very much worth your time.

Monday, September 10, 2012

He Died Because of Me

Why did our Savior die in our place? Why did the One who created heaven and earth stoop to become a man, live in poverty, and die the death of a criminal? He most certainly did not have to do that. No one compelled Him to make such a sacrifice. So why did He do it?
At the basic level, it is very difficult to deal with any question which has the word "why" and the name "God" in it. That is because it is impossible for us, in our limited nature, to understand the "why?" of Deity. The best possible answer to such a question is this:  "Because it pleased Him to do so."
Moving on from there, as concerning why He died for us, we must remember the great love of God. "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Ephesians 2:4-5, NKJV). God loves us, not because we are loveable, but because it is His nature to do so.
Jesus Christ did not just die for me. He died because of me. He took what I deserved. Now I get what He deserves.
He died because of me. He died because of you. I put Him on that cross, and you put Him on that cross, just as certainly as if we had physically been there and personally driven the nails. My sin crucified Him, and because of that, I have forgiveness. "...having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14, NKJV).