Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, is an unabashed supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but in a recent op-ed written for the FOX News website, he wrote not about voting for a particular candidate, but rather to urge Christians to vote.
"I hear the lament often from conservative Christians as I travel the country: 'How can I vote for either of these candidates with a clear conscience?'" he wrote. "Increasingly, many Christians are choosing the stay-at-home option (or throw away their vote with a write-in candidate option) as a way to maintain their integrity.
"Frankly, I understand the appeal of such a choice. Not voting allows Christians to avoid both having to make a difficult choice or defending an unpopular choice to disapproving friends or family members. And let's face it, playing the 'conscience card' allows someone to feel holier than other Christians who sully themselves by getting involved in the political process."
But there are three primary reasons why he believes Christians are not only compelled to vote, but are obligated to do so, regardless of who the candidates are:
- Voting is a God-given privilege and responsibility.
- Voting is a primary way for Christians to stop evil.
- Voting is about endorsing policies, not personalities.
Jeffress said he was "amazed" by the number of conservative Christians who have developed a case of "selective amnesia" when it comes to their past support of previous "candidates with imperfect pasts," including Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, John McCain, Newt Gingrich. There are no perfect politicians—just as there are no perfect pastors or voters—he reminded the reader.
"We are all sinners in need of a Savior," he said. "But the fallibility of both candidates in this election—as in every election—is no excuse for not voting.
"I will be the first to admit that the sanctity of life and the preservation of religious freedom are not even among the top 10 concerns of most voters. But those issues should be of primary importance to those who call themselves Christians.
"That is why I'm voting on Nov. 8. My conscience won't allow me to do otherwise."
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