CHAPLAIN’S CORNER: “You, Elections, and America’s Future” Part II

Scott McChrystal character choices discernment election God issues leader truth values vote

Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot
enter. (Isaiah 59:14 – ESV)

Photo by Michael Carruth on Unsplash

As stated in my most recent writing: On November 3rd of this year,
important national, state and local elections will likely chart the
direction of our nation for years to come. Why? Simply because the
respective platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties
display stark contrasts.

In Part I we addressed this question: As a United States citizen,
should I vote?

In Part II, let’s explore this question: Can I really find out the truth
concerning the issues that our politicians are speaking about?

We live in age when change seems to be happening at the speed of
light. Many of the advances are good. But we can’t lose sight of one
truth: human nature hasn’t changed. Take one example: the
enormous number of people living on welfare rather than working. Far
too many people feel entitled, that somehow the world owes them
living while the people around them work for a living. Of course, I’m
not referring to people who can’t work, but rather those who refuse to

At the heart of much of the present division in our nation is the lust for
money, power, and control. This is true in many segments of our
population but is especially notable among politicians. Unfortunately,
nothing new. By no means does this describe every politician, but some seem to be driven more by base human nature rather than a genuine desire to serve others.

So how do we go about discerning truth about the statement
politicians make? For the past month I’ve been doing some extensive
research as a means to separate fact from fiction, truth from lies.
Bottom line upfront: it’s difficult, but certainly possible. Let me explain.

One method I tried has involved going to organizations that claim to
be objective “fact-finders” regarding claims that politicians make. Not
much success. “Fact-finders” frequently arrive at answers that come
in direct conflict with the answers of other fact-finding organizations.
For me personally, I simply do not trust this approach as a means of
ascertaining the truth.

What I’ve found to be of far more value is the guidance provided in
holy Scripture, specifically from a verse in the book of James.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me
your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my
works. (James 2:18 - ESV).

As it applies to the veracity and genuineness of statements politicians
make, I believe it has this application: Don’t simply believe everything
they say. Check to see if their past actions match their words. In
other words, does their walk match their talk?

I wish I could tell you that there is a shortcut to this entire
process—there is not. But I do believe you can streamline your

1. Select the top five issues that you deem to be the most critical
for these upcoming elections.
2. Find out what each candidate says he/she believes. (Don’t
depend on one source, i.e., CNN, FOX, etc.)
3. Ascertain what each politician, if elected to office, claims he/she
will actually do regarding each of the issues you have selected.
Don’t settle for vague generalities. Ask how the candidate
proposes to take action.
4. If the candidate has held previous public office, find out how
he/she has performed in the past in relation to these issues.
One good approach is to check the individual’s voting records.
That will tell you a lot.
5. Another suggestion is to determine if the candidate has flip-
flopped back-and-forth on a particular issue. In other words,
has the individual simply said what he/she thought constituents
wanted to hear at the time.
6. Finally, I believe it is not only fair to evaluate each candidate’s
character, but that it is essential to do so. Our politicians sit in
positions of great power and authority. Their collective
leadership will set the direction of this country for the next few
years. Don’t we deserve, the American people, to have leaders
of character?

It is important to remember that an individual’s deeply held
values and beliefs impact both character and behavior. Each
person has the right to choose what they believe and why they
believe it. Critical to your efforts to ascertain the truth, look for
consistency. If a candidate claims to be a person of deep faith
in accordance within a particular religion, do his/her actions
seem to match? If not, why not? If a candidate doesn’t ascribe
to a religious code but rather a secular one, is he/she
consistent in following what he/she claims to believe?

In closing, I am providing a list of some of the issues that seem to be
most important to citizens across this nation. They are in no particular
order— that has to be your decision.

Defunding police
The economy
Concerns about the environment
Gun control
Selection of the next Supreme Court justice
Open Borders/ immigration
LGBTQ activism, especially regarding what children are taught
in public schools
Defense spending/building a stronger military
Energy independence

Finally, we all need to remember our humanity. There are no “perfect
candidates.” Nonetheless, on November 3 elections will take place
and candidates will be chosen to fill important leadership positions.
Doesn’t it make sense to select the very best leaders available?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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