Prof. Bob Mathisen
Should Christians be single-issue voters?
Should a Christian (or, for that matter, any voter) vote for a candidate exclusively on one issue, to the voter’s wholesale neglect of or disregard for the candidate’s position on a wide range of issues? I do not believe it is wise to do so. Consider the following.
Too many voters (Christians included) are “label voters.” The label may be liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Christian or secular/humanist, or incumbent or challenger. In American politics these and other labels lack the precision necessary to be clear guidelines for wise voting. This can argued on both historical and philosophical grounds.
But, we may ask, was Grandpa lacking wisdom in the 1930s when he voted a straight party ticket? After all, everyone knew FDR was the Anti-Christ (or not). So, what is in a label?
Is it not wise to vote for the fish-symboled candidate? (Upon whom would you call to repair the plumbing in your home an incompetent, Christian plumber or a competent secular/humanist plumber? Can you continue to live with leaky pipes?)
If it is not wise to cast a ballot according to labels, what about voting based exclusively, or nearly so, on one issue the issue which easily trumps all others? A single-issue voter is guilty of political reductionism to the neglect of the ever-present, complex web of issues. Before any of us vote, we should prioritize the array of issues most important to us.
This hierarchy of issues may include immigration, energy policy, sanctity of life concerns (euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, capital punishment, and others), foreign policy, environment, potential Supreme Court nominations, taxes, Social Security, health care, and numerous others.
Once we have established our hierarchy of issues, we need to conduct our individual, internal dialogues about which candidate matches up most effectively with those issues that matter the most to us. Not to do so is to vote while wearing blinders, failing to make the effort necessary to see the crosscurrent of vital issues that affect all of us. Read carefully; discuss the issues with family and friends. Let none of us be lazy, single-issue voters.