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Vote Your Conscience

It is interesting to hear this particular phrase being reborn in this election campaign. As a boy growing up that was a phrase most often spoken when it came to election times. In fact, what it really meant was keep your opinion to yourself and vote what you think is right. It is interesting to think about it, but I cannot remember ever hearing my parents tell me for whom they voted. People just did not do it. It was a private matter. 

There was an era in this country where people quietly went to the polls and voted their conscience without fanfare, or without telling anyone for whom they voted. I never heard Dr. Jack Hyles tell who he voted for. I can remember one humorous statement that he made numerous times, “I won’t tell you who I voted for, but I’ll tell you who I didn’t vote for.” We all knew what he meant, but he did not do the popular thing today of “endorsing” a candidate.

Now that brings up an interesting point. As I look back on the elections during my lifetime there were very few of them in which a candidate was someone my parents or even myself was wildly enthusiastic about. In fact I can remember only a handful of elections when it was the candidate I wanted to win that caused me to vote my conscience. 

More often it was the candidate I knew should not win. In fact, often I voted my conscience by doing my part to prevent a particular candidate from winning. In most elections I found serious fault with the candidate for whom I voted, so my vote was cast because I was concerned about the danger of the other candidate. I voted my conscience in trying to prevent that particular person from being elected.

I was far from enthusiastic about Mitt Romney and his centrist views or his Mormon religion, but I was far more concerned about positions of Barack Obama. John McCain left much to be desired in my opinion, but once again Barack Obama was a man that I felt was dangerous for our country. I could go back further and show you election after election when our vote was cast for a man not because he was exactly who we would have chosen, but because our conscience told us that we needed to prevent someone else from being elected.

That brings me to this election. I am not wildly enthusiastic about any candidate. It’s another typical election in my lifetime. John Rice is not running, Curtis Hutson is not on the ballot and Jack Hyles is not our party’s nominee. I cannot honestly say you that I am enthusiastic about our choices. However I can tell you that I will vote my conscience. I will not tell you for whom I am voting, but I will tell you against whom I am voting. 

My conscience tells me that I should use my vote to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming our next President. My conscience tells me that we must prevent her from winning the White House. My conscience tells me that we cannot put her liberal party into power again.

In this case my conscience is speaking from a negative standpoint. Isn’t that what our consciences often do. They not only tell us what is right, but they warn us about what is wrong. They not only lead us to make the right decision, but they lead us to avoid that which is wrong. Often my conscience speaks to the negative as much as it does to the positive and sometimes even more so.

So, this November I will go to the ballot box and I will vote my conscience. It may not be a wildly enthusiastic vote of confidence, but it will be a wildly negative vote of conscience. Think about it my friend. I hear people say that they can not vote for a particular candidate in good conscience. Often what they are saying is that particular candidate had certain attitudes and beliefs that were not one hundred percent consistent with what they believe. 

The candidate for whom they were wildly enthusiastic, did not win the primary, so now they think, that in good conscience they cannot vote for the other candidate. Be careful. Don’t limit your conscience to the person who is a hundred percent right. Exercise your conscience against the person who is far more dangerous and far more anti-God.

May God help us as Christians to return to some sensibility in this matter. May God bless us and help us to understand that voting our conscience may not always be for the candidate we would have preferred but sometimes must be based upon the candidate that we must try to prevent from being elected.

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