Can I vote for Mitt Romney? Over the last year I have wrestled greatly with this question.
I have been mostly silent, waiting on the Lord for understanding. Prior to TheCall Detroit I've felt a strong calling to pray for President Obama, that he would be a Lincoln-type president who (through the dealings of God) would be changed into another man on the issue of life. Should he win the election, I will still hope and pray for this outcome.
However, many people have misconstrued my statements and even Twitter'd that I intend to vote for President Obama. Quite the contrary! My clear and pointed statement has been that I cannot vote for anyone who by legal decree supports the shedding of innocent blood, believing such a vote would make me an accomplice to the act.
In recent years I have further refined my position to include no exceptions for rape and incest, understanding that life begins at conception, therefore all life is sacred. My position has been to reject the compromise of simply voting for the lesser of two evils, believing that my allegiance is given to a higher King and a higher kingdom, therefore my no-vote actually becomes a prophetic act, a vote of conscience, not abdication.
I have believed that if the church would stand on principle, and also require the same of our candidates, that we could actually shift our political climate from confidence in man to confidence in God for the healing of our nation, and that God, in response, would answer with the fire of revival on a people who refused to bow (via a compromised vote) to the image of Caesar. Jesus said, Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's. How can I stoop to surrender the image of God in marriage to Caesar (Gen. 1:26 28)? How can I forfeit God's image in the unborn through abortion to Caesar, when Scripture clearly warns against the shedding of innocent blood? (Gen. 4:10, 9:6; Deut. 19:13; Psa. 72:12-14; Ezek. 35:6)
These are not small questions, driving me in great consternation to much dialogue with my Christian brothers and sisters across the nation. I found myself challenged by a simple question: Can you be sure that if you don't vote for Romney you aren't still accountable for the shedding of innocent blood, similar to a sin of omission? After all, abortion could greatly proliferate under Obamacare. Furthermore, though Romney allows for the exceptions clause—with which I disagree—he remains opposed to all other cases, and this statistically represents 98.5 percent of current abortion procedures. Successfully overturning 98.5 percent of abortions would represent a massive shift in our national blood guilt. In this view, voter accountability becomes more complex, and the answers not so clear.
Bringing further challenge, I was given a scenario, a true moral conundrum. If I had been a Christian conservative in pre-Nazi Germany, as the nation floundered in moral and economic woes, and there I heard the rousing moral clarity of a leader promising a strong economy, who was also pro-family, pro-marriage, anti-debauchery and drunkenness, etc., could I have actually made the mistake of voting as a matter of conviction for Hitler (who in fact adopted those many good positions)? Could principles in fact blind me to the moment, such that I would support the raising of a king whom Christ Himself would want torn down? Whoa! This is a deeply troubling thought. To me it seems clear that if I had made my stand on principle alone I would have missed God and joined in the destruction of 6 million Jews. This is why we must submit ourselves to the governance of the Holy Spirit, for the wrong application of right principles can cloud even the discernment of the righteous.
At about this time of crisis in my own thought processes, my closest friend (and a true prophet in my life) had a compelling dream concerning Romney's viability as a candidate. In the dream, Romney was clearly favorable from a divine perspective. After this, the substance of my friend's dream was immediately confirmed by another prophetic encounter from another well-known prophetic voice.
Now hear me, this election is not about Romney being the great answer to America's problems. Rather, these prophetic experiences seemed to indicate that Romney was a sort of window of mercy to America on several fronts, but chiefly the dividing of Jerusalem. The thought of protecting that ancient covenantal bond of God shifted my paradigm dramatically. I found myself having to peer into another biblical principle that I heretofore had not pondered with the same intensity as I had the life issue.
As I sought the Lord concerning these various biblical truths and prophetic words, it was as if a light began to shine into my heart. I sensed the Lord saying, Will you stand with Me in my covenantal faithfulness? Will you stand for my ancient covenant with My people? A deep abiding "yes" began to conquer my arguments.
Therefore I now make this statement for the sake of both my own conscience and for the clearing of any misconceptions or questions currently circulating in the body. I remain to this day a no-exceptions voter, though very challenged by lingering questions regarding the practical application of a principled vote. I am committed to the highest, best moral and faith response to the political issue of abortion. I seek its ultimate end, and its progressive end. But I refuse to castigate any well-meaning believers who come to a different conclusion than mine. It seems to me there is room for great Christian understanding and patience with one another in the journey.
With that said, I am declaring my best, personal understanding of the Lord 's heart in this hour: that in this election, America 's future is on dangerous ground, facing judgment not only over abortion and other key issues, but most definitely over the high possibility of breaking faith with God's covenant with Jerusalem, the land of Israel, and His covenant people. President Obama has publicly called for the return of the land of Jerusalem and Israel to the pre-1967 boundaries. I can't go there. I won't. My heart had been opened to another great theme: The Life of the unborn has called me and God 's covenant to the Jewish people restrains me.
I am voting for Romney.
In clean conscience,
Lou Engle is cofounder of TheCall and a leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.