By Bishop Joseph Mattera www.josephmattera.org
Many are calling the upcoming U.S. presidential election the most important since World War II! That may be true because, in addition to deciding the future of major economic and social policy initiatives like immigration reform, social security, debt reduction, same-sex marriage, and healthcare, the next president will most likely have the ability to nominate two Supreme Court justices, who have unfortunately become the bottom line for confirming or eradicating major policy initiatives. (Thus unelected justices with their own ideology, political bent and ambition have legislated immorality such as Roe v. Wade in 1973 and other vital issues that affect our culture.)
As a non-partisan Christian, I have been encouraging Christians to vote their values instead of voting based on groupthink and party affiliation. In order to do this, we have to go to the source of our ethics and values: the Bible.
God could not have made His standard for societal law any clearer than when He wrote His law in the Ten Commandments and gave it to Moses on Mount Sinai as noted in Exodus 20. He laid them out in the order of importance as His top-ten list. These moral laws, which in context were given as a corporate blueprint to build policy upon for Israel and all nations so they may experience longevity and national blessings, are also the standard in both the New and Old Testaments for personal holiness and ethics, and are repeated numerous times in the New Testament almost verbatim (e.g. Ephesians 6:1-3). Although we are not saved by obeying the works of the law (Ephesians 2:8-9), they serve as the ethical behavior the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in (Romans 8:4) when we yield to His grace (Titus 2:11-12). Although the ceremonial aspect of the law has been done away in Christ (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:1-10:14) the moral law is still the good, holy and righteous standard for us to live by (Romans 3:31; 7:12, 14, 25).
As we look at the Ten Commandments we find there are two primary components related to our obligation to obey the law: the first four commandments relate to our vertical obligation to God and the last six commandments relate to our horizontal obligations toward our neighbors.
To save space I am not going to quote all the commandments, but will focus on several that have relevance to the upcoming election.
The first commandment is to have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3).
This is the most important of all the commandments because, if we follow it, all the other commandments will naturally fall into place. Hence, I will only use this verse as related to the four stated commandments we have towards God.
Having no other gods before Him means that God has to be first and foremost in our lives, even as Matthew 6:33 instructs us to put first His kingdom and His righteousness. In Matthew 22:37-38, we are called to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Regarding the upcoming election: This means we are to put God’s standards and word above our ethnicity (e.g. it shouldn’t matter whether a candidate is black, white, yellow or brown), and we should put biblical values above our party affiliation.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said in his “I Have a Dream” speech, we should judge candidates based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
The last six commandments are about how we are to live in relation to fellow human beings. This was summarized in Matthew 22:39-40 when Jesus instructed us to love our neighbors even as we love ourselves. Thus the first four commandments connect to Matthew 22:37-38, and the last six commandments connect to Matthew 22:39-40.
In reference to the last six commandments, we need to see how they directly relate to the public policy positions of each of the political parties as well as each individual candidate.
“Honor your father and mother” (Exodus20: 12) is the most important commandment regarding human relations because it connects to the nature of marriage and procreation. Marriage (Genesis 2:23-25) is the basic human building block of society and existed before human government (which started with God delegating capital punishment to humans in Genesis 9:5-6), before Israel, the Law of Moses, and the church.
It is also important to note this commandment mentions both “father” and “mother” not “mother and mother” or “father and father.” Thus, according to God’s top-ten list, biblical marriage is the most important human institution we need to protect and honor, and is even mentioned before murder, adultery and economics!
Thus, political candidates who support same-sex marriage are in gross violation of the fifth commandment (which is also the first commandment related to human relations!)
The sixth commandment is “You shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
God so hates the shedding of innocent blood (Proverbs 6:16-17) that murder is number two on His list of the remaining six moral commandments related to human obligations.
Of course, if the platform of a political party or a candidate is pro-choice then they are in favor of a woman’s right to terminate the life of an unborn child within her womb. What’s even more troubling is that African-Americans and people of color have been targeted the most by the abortion industry as noted by planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who believed people of color were from an inferior race, and, because they were poor, she planned to use “colored” ministers to convince them from a religious perspective that the right thing to do was to terminate their pregnancies if they were too poor to afford them!
"Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
(Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.)
"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
(Margaret Sanger's December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, and Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon's Woman's Body, Woman's right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.)
"Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need ... We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock."
(Margaret Sanger, April 1933 Birth Control Review.)
Unfortunately, Sanger and Planned Parenthood have been largely successful in achieving their goals, since data shows us that for every 1,000 African-Americans born in the USA, 1,600 are aborted!
We are now witnessing something many believe is worse than slavery! We are witnessing legal genocide! Thus, when people of color vote for a pro-choice candidate or platform they are (unconsciously) voting for their own systemic extermination!
Regarding “after birth” issues like racism: Many point to the fact that Mormons forbade people of color from their priesthood until the early 1970’s and hold it against any candidate connected to the Mormon Church. However, there has to be evidence that a candidate is personally a racist and proof they were part of the leadership in the Mormon Church when racism was systemic in their doctrine. If we are going to hold it against a candidate for being part of a religion that 40 years ago was racist then we have to be fair and cite the terrible racist history of the Democratic Party that was part of Jim Crow, the KKK, slavery, and was far behind the Republican Party (the party of Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King) regarding civil rights until the past three decades.
(See the following link by African-American Frantz Kebreau regarding the civil rights history of both major political parties: http://www.stolenhistory.org/revealing-the-truth-about-the-democratic-party/)
The seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) basically teaches that all sexual acts outside of the marriage of one man and one woman are considered adultery. The marriage bed, as defined by God’s word, is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). Leviticus 18 gets into more detail regarding how the seventh commandment is unpacked and illustrates how heterosexual sex with someone that is not one’s spouse, with another person’s spouse, with in-laws, same-sex relations, as well as sex with animals, are forbidden by God. Paul the Apostle restates some of these sexual acts as sin in Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
Hence, same-sex marriage clearly violates two of the first three commandments related to human relations!
The eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) is related to economics.
This is where it gets sticky. Liberals claim that one of the major political parties favors the rich because, they say, they pay less of a percentage of taxes than the middle class. (The income tax percentage for the rich is higher than the middle class, but most rich people earn much of their income through capital gains, which are taxed at a much lower rate than salary income. However, all people have a right to buy and sell property and trade on the stock market. Thus, it is not a right reserved only for the rich. However, most poor people are not financially knowledgeable enough or have enough money to make a living through capital gains categories like real estate and trading stocks.)
On the other hand, I have heard some conservative people of color say that the Democrats are still attempting to keep their people on the plantation through entitlements and welfare programs that merely help in the short term but don’t do enough to break the generational cycles of poverty. Other black leaders have noted how people of color have more poverty today as related to marriage, intact families, and finances than before the Great Society programs of Lyndon Johnson started in the mid 1960’s. This proves handouts and welfare have hurt more than helped people of color!
Personally, I believe a halfway approach is best: that government economic aid to the poor should continue but that it should be redefined and restructured so there are far less blind handouts. I believe monies should be funneled through partnerships with churches, non-profits and charities that have boots on the ground and know how to do micro-financing, job training, entrepreneurial endeavors, educate at-risk children, and would more likely do a better job than government bureaucrats! With the current level of family fragmentation, non-profits and church-based programs need to step up to the plate now more than ever because big government entitlement programs with no practical accountability have proven they cannot “parachute in” and rescue our communities! For books on this subject read Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) by Robert Lupton, and When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett.
Furthermore, by forbidding stealing in the eighth commandment God is espousing the right of individuals to own private property. Thus, this commandment is against any ideology (whether liberation theology or communism) that espouses egalitarianism, which is when an overreaching central government tries to force equality and the redistribution of wealth by progressive tax structures or, in communism, by the abolition of private property altogether!
On the other hand, conservatives in this nation are against redistribution and believe in empowering individual rights and the free market. In my opinion, this is more in line with scripture than those espousing communism and egalitarianism.
(I espouse a kingdom economic approach that not only includes a free market view of capitalism but which obligates Christian business owners to disciple, finance and reproduce other business owners from among their employees. This would do more than merely create jobs in poor urban areas; it would create entrepreneurs who can break their generational cycles of poverty!)
Furthermore, the tenth commandment, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” (Exodus 20:17) seems to also advance the theory of private property and is against the motive of egalitarianism, which many believe is driven by the politics of class warfare and envy.
A debate about economic theory and what really works would take another position paper. However, even if (hypothetically) liberals are correct in their position, the commandment dealing with economics is number eight on God’s top-ten list, thus not as important as commandments 1-7. Furthermore, God tells believers that if they put first His kingdom and His righteousness, He will provide all things we need anyway (Matthew 6:33)!
This November’s election is a test for all believers: Are we going to vote our biblical values as stated in God’s top-ten list or are we going to vote our race, ethnicity and party affiliation? I hope and pray that all believers will vote for the candidate that most closely reflects the ethics and values God gave in the form of His Ten Commandments!