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Lesser evil or lesser good?

Posted By Joseph Farah On 10/12/2007 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

In my book “Taking America Back,” in 2003, I challenged Americans to consider whether our national habit of voting for the lesser of two evils was always the best thing to do.

I’m glad the rest of the nation is finally starting the much-needed debate on this issue in time for the 2008 presidential election.

Here’s my thesis in a nutshell: Never vote for any candidate who doesn’t respect and revere and genuinely submit himself or herself to the authority of the U.S. Constitution and its strict limits on federal government power.

I admit I have yielded to the temptation to deviate from my own policy on one occasion – the 2004 presidential election. By then we knew George W. Bush had little understanding and respect for the Constitution, but, in a defensive strategy, to avoid the election of an outright traitor to his country in John Kerry, I wisely or unwisely decided to vote for Bush’s re-election.

I’m still happy Kerry didn’t win. But I take no little solace in whatever small part I played in Bush’s undeserved re-election.

What can I say? I’m human. I’m a sinner. I live in a fallen world. I’m still not sure I would have acted any differently in 2004, knowing the imminent threat we faced from a Kerry presidency.

But, I digress – back to the debate.


Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has joined the fray, sounding off in a Baptist Press column about why we, as Christians, need to be willing to overlook the evil within candidates and actually have a moral obligation to make utilitarian compromises and vote only for those who are electable.

Obviously, Land is weighing in on an issue that arose recently when James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and representatives of other Christian groups got together in Salt Lake City, pledging not to support a Republican nominee who was not “pro-life” (another huge national story broken first, by the way, right here in WND.)

Now first you must understand who Richard Land is and why he is writing what he is writing. Land is playing John the Baptist for presidential candidate Fred Thompson, who has demonstrated little interest in vigorously pursuing evangelical votes. He was a no-show at the Values Voter Debate in Fort Lauderdale, the first one held after he announced his candidacy. He seems determined to play the lone wolf role without any accountability for his record or the worldview that shapes his vision of the future.

Land doesn’t mention Thompson by name in his piece – but that is who it is about.

Now here’s the trap laid by Land: “Determining candidates’ stances on moral issues should be a primary consideration; determining how the candidates’ policy positions will benefit an individual personally (e.g., tax policies) should always be a secondary consideration.”

Notice what’s missing? Any mention of the Constitution and the candidate’s submission to it.

Also, Land makes a distinction between “moral issues” and tax policies. Let me explain that tax policy is a moral issue. It is immoral to steal. And when government uses force to take money from one person and give it to another, that’s the moral equivalent of theft.

In fact, I would make the claim that every single thing the government does, everything in which it involves itself, every law and regulation and edict is an imposition of morality or immorality.

Moral issues are not just matters of life and death and sexuality. When Hillary Clinton, for example, makes plans to socialize health care in America, that is not only a bad idea, it is both immoral and unconstitutional.

Land says we should consult the Bible for the answers to questions we have about tough political choices. I agree. But I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says we should embrace a little bit of evil to avoid a greater evil. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where we are to embrace a little bit of leaven. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it suggests we should compromise with sin.

I’ll tell you where this kind of thinking leads.

It leads to gutless choices. It leads to a slow death. It leads inexorably to loss of freedom. It leads down a slippery slope of defeat and tyranny. It’s a kind of moral relativism – something Christians should avoid.

Our Founding Fathers recognized this. They had choices to make. Life under the crown of England wasn’t intolerable. In fact, it was better than under most other tyrants in the world at the time. But they stood up for a better way. They risked everything for a chance to expand freedom. They were hardly the pragmatists Richard Land believes we need to be.

This type of compromise, this type of accommodation to the political zeitgeist, this type of moderation has led Richard Land astray in the past.

When Judge Roy Moore was taking a principled stand for the Constitution, God, country, faith and family by defending the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama, where was Richard Land?

He was publicly challenging Moore, explaining that he disagreed with his tactics and strategy and equating the good judge’s contest of a clearly unconstitutional federal order as “civil disobedience.”

It sounds to me like Richard Land is more comfortable with the political status quo than standing up for truth, justice and morality.

One time in my lifetime have we had the kind of clear political choice for president that I would like to see. It was when Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination.

There are only two ways we will see that kind of candidacy, again.

One, if bad political leaders like Jimmy Carter lead us so far into the wilderness that Americans will clamor for the right answers as they did in 1979 and 1980.

Two, if we simply refuse to accept less.

No, I don’t want to see Hillary Clinton lead this country. I know, better than most, the political reign of terror of which she is capable. I was a major target of it in the 1990s. However, I will not be motivated by fear of Hillary into voting for a Republican politician who will lead us down the same primrose path.

This time, I need some reasons to vote Republican, not just reasons to vote against the Democrat.



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