Well meaning but fuzzy-thinking Christians often express their disdain for any concept such as choosing between the lesser of two evils. Some purist and at times Pharisaical evangelicals are especially throwing this one around concerning the US election and voting for Romney.
While I have written heaps on this already, I guess I need to keep writing on this until a little common sense and biblical realism creeps into the discussion. So much confused thinking and unbiblical foolishness abounds here that it seems a steady stream of articles will be needed to knock this silliness on the head.
A related term which crops up here is ‘compromise’. So let me seek to deal with both issues here. In a fallen world there is no escaping some compromise, and sometimes we only can choose between two far from perfect choices. In fact, the simple truth is this: quite often in our life we choose between the lesser of two evils. We cannot escape it. It is part of living in the fallen world, which includes every single one of us, even the most fastidious and puritanical.
And another fact of life is that we constantly face compromising situations. This too is the inevitable result of living in a fallen and very imperfect world. There are few times when we have choices which involve something perfect on one hand and something completely evil on another.
Sure, there are many ethical issues which approach this. For example, abortion is a great evil, and seeking its removal is a great good. But so much of life involves dealing with less than ideal choices. Do I take that bout of chemo with all its nasty side effects, in order to live longer, or do I suffer the cancer?
Take another example of what should be fairly clear cut: opposing Hitler. He was evil and he had to be stopped. Were America and the Allies perfect and free from fault? Of course not. All nations are less than ideal. But when it came to stopping the Nazis, it would have been foolish in the extreme to seek to argue that we should not, because we too were evil in some ways.
And there would have been some of these misguided purists who did seek to make that argument. The same in the Cold War: they pushed the phoney moral equivalence line that said, sure, the Soviets are really bad, but America is not really much better.
But in a fallen world, in which all sorts of less than ideal situations present themselves, we are not so much interested in the lesser of two evils, but in the greater good. To try to stop Hitler was not to say the Allies were perfect, but that they were far superior morally speaking, and in a fallen world, the greater good was to stop the Nazi global conquest.
It is the same in the US elections. Obama is not the epitome of evil, but he is getting there. Almost anyone would be preferred to this man. As I keep saying, Romney is far from my main choice, but he is the only man we now have to prevent Obama getting a second term and destroying America, if not the world as well.
As Newt Gingrich said back in May: “As for the presidency, I’m asked sometimes, is Mitt Romney conservative enough? And my answer is simple: compared to Barack Obama? You know this is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history.”
So let the various purists pick whatever beef they have about Romney: he is a Mormon; he is not conservative enough; he is not pro-life enough; etc. In all these areas he is not perfect. But compared to the radical leftist secular humanist pro-death Obama, I will take Romney any day.
And those who are still thinking of third parties or independents, they will achieve nothing, but the re-election of Obama. Whether it is the Ronbots or others, if they abstain from voting, or waste their vote on anyone other than Romney, they will have no right to complain if Obama gets back in. They may pat themselves on the shoulders and think they were so pure, but they have simply become complicit in evil.
As Gary DeMar said: “There’s talk of Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate. What’s it going to prove? Let’s say he gets 10 million votes. He won’t get a single electoral vote. And even if elections were won by majority vote totals and not by electoral votes, he still wouldn’t win anything. The lesser of two evils franchise will say that they will be ‘sending a message.’ Yeah, that they’re idiots.”
Yep, idiots alright. And for all their pious talk of avoiding compromise and avoiding the lesser of two evils, they have actually done nothing but contribute greatly to evil. They are simply being hypocrites here. And they are being Pharisees as well.
What is a Pharisee? Jesus made it crystal clear what the heart of the problem was with the Pharisees. It was all about hypocrisy and self-righteousness. They saw evil as being “out there”. It was all about externals. They conveniently forgot that evil in fact resides in every single human heart. Jesus made this quite plain as he rebuked the Pharisees in Matt 23:25-28.
So today’s Pharisees see evil out there, which they must not be contaminated with, which they must remain pure from. Now of course there is some compromise which is evil, and there are of course things which we must refuse. But in an important matter like this election, we have only two options: more Obama, or no Obama. It is that simple.
I like these very wise words from John MacArthur: “So what I would say is – look, whether or not a person who runs for president or vice president or congress or senate or governor, whether or not that person is a Christian, is not the issue – that’s not the role of government. You’re not choosing a pastor. Since when all of a sudden do we think that someone’s religion is the issue in picking a president anymore than it would be an issue in picking a pilot to fly you somewhere? I don’t really care what the religion is, I just want to know he can land the plane.”
Matt Barber is no great Romney fan, but he is voting for him. He puts it this way: “It took one word to convince me: judges. The next president likely will fill at least two Supreme Court vacancies in the next four to eight years. Appointing Supreme Court justices may be the single most significant thing any president can do. For better or for worse, it profoundly steers law, public policy and culture at large in perpetuity…
“Though Mr. Romney’s judicial appointment record while governor of Massachusetts was erratic at best, he has pledged during this election cycle, ‘I will appoint conservative, strict constructionists to the judiciary.’
“Flip-flop? Perhaps. Still, Mr. Romney has proved that he cares about and understands political self-preservation. If Mr. Romney wins the White House and expects a second term, there is a strong chance, I believe, that conservatives can hold him accountable to his word. Indeed, political self-preservation will provide Mr. Romney a strong incentive to honor his pro-life, pro-family conservative rhetoric. Most important, it significantly increases the chances that he will appoint originalist judges to the Supreme Court as promised.
“With Mr. Obama, we know what we will get – we’ve already gotten it. . . . Some might say I’m putting pragmatism over principle, but I disagree. In this case, the two are not mutually exclusive. Remember Christ’s counsel: Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
“My friend and colleague Cynthia Dunbar, a law professor at Liberty University School of Law, recently wrote: ‘In this election year, we find ourselves with only three realistic courses of action: 1) Don’t vote; 2) vote for Obama; or 3) vote for Romney.’ It’s simple: A Christian nonvote is a vote for Mr. Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. Furthermore, any Christian who votes for Mr. Obama will get to take that up with God. This leaves us with our third and final choice: Christians must vote for Mitt Romney. A second Obama term is simply unacceptable. We won’t survive it.”
Or as Rebecca Hagelin wrote: “Romney, while far from perfect, has got to win this election if we are going to have any hope of preserving biblical morality or the American dream. I never look for the best Christian to be President – I look for the one who best reflects a strong moral character, and who is most likely to preserve my rights as a Christian and freedom-loving American.”
So forget all this purist and Pharisee talk about compromise and the lesser of two evils. If these purists, for whatever reason, allow Obama to get back in, they will have compromised already, and will have been directly responsible for great evil. Indeed, they will have blood on their hands.