Heaven help us!
November 4, 2012
Stephen Stone, RenewAmerica President

In a contested race for political office, it's impossible to vote against someone. The ballot doesn't allow it.

That reality has somehow gotten lost in this year's election, due to the intensity of disapproval for Barack Hussein Obama.

We all need to understand that when we enter the voting booth on Nov. 6, we'll be given ONLY the option of voting FOR a candidate. We'll be given no option of voting AGAINST anyone — including the treasonous Mr. Obama.

Much as we might wish it were otherwise, the wording and format of the ballot simply won't let us cast a vote against the president. We can only do the opposite: vote for someone else.

Let's be perfectly clear (as JFK was fond of saying): All we'll be allowed to do on election day is vote for the current occupant of the White House, or for one of his many challengers — the most prominent, of course, being Mitt Romney. There won't be any other option (other than a write-in), or any permitted way to vote against any candidate on the ballot.

That's what voting means, by definition, in a contested race. It's the way it's set up.

Rationalization

For all intents and purposes in a "contested race," therefore, our only option as voters is to express our willful support — and thus our alignment with and condoning of — whichever candidate we choose; or to leave that particular race untouched, thus expressing our displeasure with our feet, so to speak, for the lack of an acceptable candidate.

At least the latter way of voting absolves us of any culpability for willfully participating in the destruction of our country at the hands of candidates who don't deserve to be on the ballot (having shown themselves to be corrupt, incompetent, unethical, immoral, deceptive, or otherwise undeserving of our vote).

There's no way to simultaneously vote our displeasure at unacceptable choices laid before us and also pick one! To attempt that is a bit like schizophrenia.

The idea that we can vote against someone we really don't like by voting for someone else we really don't like and call it getting rid of people in office we really don't like is an illogical rationalization — conjured to make us feel good when we vote irrationally. It doesn't excuse us of willfully voting for someone we can't actually support in good conscience on their own merits.

Just because we may be well-intentioned in our desire to get rid of a bad candidate, it literally makes no sense to vote for a similarly bad candidate considered not "as bad" as the object of our scorn.

If a candidate is "bad" (as a candidate, not necessarily as a person), they're "bad" — no matter how they compare with anyone else running for the same office who might also be "bad." A bad candidate is a bad candidate is a bad candidate. Bear in mind that between two unacceptable candidates, one will always be less acceptable than the other candidate in some ways, and more acceptable in other ways.

A matter of "worthiness"

The issue here is inherent worthiness to be elected — not comparative "badness."

Can the candidate be trusted to uphold the founding principles of our country; are they principled, honest, and forthright in their positions and commitments; and are they godly in their rhetoric and record? Or have they proven themselves untrustworthy in their attitude toward our founding documents; unprincipled, dishonest, and unreliable in their positions and commitments; and less than godly in their rhetoric and record?

With such clear, simple standards of worthiness for our vote in mind, consider the standard that Mormons believe has been set by God for judging a political candidate, taken from the LDS church's scriptural canon:
    And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

    Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren..., in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

    And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil.

    I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

    Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

    Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

    And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.

    For [I] will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. (Doctrine & Covenants 98:5-12, emphasis mine)
That's the "law of God," according to Mormon scripture, and it should govern all members of the LDS church this election. Of course, its common-sense guidelines for judging can be useful for others as well.

A "good" candidate — one worthy of our vote — is one who "befriends the Constitution"; seeks to preserve the liberties it secures; and is "honest," "wise," and "good" (that is, godly). Any candidate who is less than this "cometh of evil," and is unworthy of our vote — for we are to "forsake evil and cleave unto all good."

The final verse is worth noting. It says God will judge us — "try" us — to see if we are willing to adhere to the above reasonable standard.

It's not a standard, by the way, that requires a candidate to be "ideal" before we can, in good conscience, vote for them and thus please God; it's a standard that clearly says, however, that it's "evil" to support any candidate who fails to measure up to the above minimum standard.

For a Mormon, to ignore the standard purportedly set by God in the Mormon canon for judging a candidate — and to vote instead for an unworthy one, no matter the rationale — is a form of apostasy from the things of God.

God votes, too

In a moment, we'll see how Mitt Romney measures up to the above standard set by his church. Before we do, however, let's look more closely at the last words of the passage: "and I will try you and prove you herewith."

These words — attributed to God — suggest He will hold us accountable if we vote irrationally or illogically for any candidate who is fundamentally unworthy, as judged on any basis that is fair and reasonable — for by so voting, we're contributing to an outcome in which "the wicked rule [and] the people mourn."

But there's a larger issue this election than God's assessment of any particular vote we may cast. There's the undeniable backdrop of His prior judgments regarding the epidemic immorality, godlessness, and narcissism that permeate American culture.

Does anyone really think the outcome of this election can negate, or neutralize, the decades of accumulating national sins that have brought us to the brink of material and moral disintegration as a country?

And if it's true, as seems obvious, that the survival of American civilization hinges on our moral renewal as a people more than upon any election, then isn't it equally obvious that God stands ready to override our own will with His and bring about our demise if we persist as a country in going the direction we've long been heading — making the outcome of this election nowhere as important as we imagine it to be?

Unfortunately, many voters ignore the reality of America's vast and deep moral corruption and blithely think their vote (one way or another) is a determining factor in our nation's future. Were it not for our offenses toward God, they might be right. But our transgressions overshadow this election like no other in our history. We've never been as immoral and decadent as a people, on such a sweeping scale before — and God certainly is not blind to our ripening iniquity.

No matter who wins the presidency, therefore, we're likely doomed — not because of the occupant of the Oval Office, important as that may be, but because of our personal and collective offenses toward God, which warrant our destruction unless we change course!

If we want to preserve our country — which requires that we merit God's merciful intervention in our lives individually and collectively — we would do well to humble ourselves before Him, seek His will, repent of our sins, and persuade all around us to do the same.

To believe otherwise — and take a wholly-shortsighted, "pragmatic" approach this election — is to ignore reality, and follow other nations in the world's history that have succumbed to normalized immorality.

It's far too late at this point in our history for naïve "political" salvation at the hands of any current candidate running for the highest office in the country. Our future is in God's hands, not our own.

This election, God will judge our vote on His terms, using at least two obvious criteria — both of which take into account the test of our integrity inherent in the unsatisfactory choices laid before us, and the overriding unworthiness of our nation for His intervening hand in sparing us from ourselves:
  1. Will we obey Him and do what we know in our hearts (not just in our "pragmatic" minds) to be right when we cast a ballot? — and

  2. Will we act in a way that demonstrates to Him that we believe unshakably in His reality, omniscience, and omnipotence, and are thus willing to entrust Him with the future of our country — not any candidate who may not measure up to His standard of worthiness for elective office?
What will you do about this predicament, we are inclined to wonder.

A look at Mitt

Now, back to Mitt.

Barack Obama we know inside and out, no matter his attempts to hide his beliefs, background, and agenda. Mitt Romney — who's spent a fortune remaking his public persona in ways no less dishonest (if less brazen, extensive, and elaborate) — we "hardly know ye" (to invoke another JFK reference).

While Barack and his handlers were engineering his meteoric rise to stardom upon a false persona, Mitt and his have been engaged for years in much the same thing — going back as far as his U.S. Senate race in 1994 (when he ran "to the left of Ted Kennedy"); his exaggerated stint as "savior" of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which he blatantly used to promote an image of himself; his 2002 race for governor of Massachusetts as a bipartisan "moderate with progressive views," including his "unequivocal" support for "a woman's right to choose"; and his fabled "flip-flops" ever since on seemingly everything during his two races for president — in an unabashed effort to "manage" his created image, arguably the most blatant such effort in modern electoral history.

Such manipulation of the public mind by either man cannot, by any decent moral standard, be considered acceptable for a candidate for the most powerful office in the world. It indicates a willingness, and determination, to seek power at any cost.

In fact, if there's anything both major candidates have in common, it's their incredibly-insulting, unjustifiably-controlling deceptive public relations approach centered in exploiting, as never before, the weaknesses of the electorate for personal advantage.

Karl Rove, are you listening?

Is that the way of God? Of course not. Arguably, the most universally repugnant characteristic of Mr. Romney has been his shockingly negative, substance-lacking campaign.

Again, Mitt, "we hardly know ye."

Both Mitt and Barack clearly have something profoundly unflattering to hide from the voting public: themselves.

On Mitt's own scale of political merit (that set by his Mormon religion), Mitt thus earns a "D" for honesty (see D&C 98:10) — arguably the prime requisite for elective office.

Of course, we could argue that Barack earns an "F." So we can safely choose the candidate behind the Rove-controlled curtain..... Not!

More...

On Mormonism's scale of worthiness regarding the wisdom exemplified by those seeking elective office, Mitt earns another "D" for his record as a candidate and public official — beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to this day.

Throughout his public life, Mitt has shown himself to lack the kind of principled, God-respecting integrity we sorely need in our elected leaders. Instead, he's repeatedly shown poor judgment, even assenting to unmistakable evil.

Here's a partial list of Mitt's unwise actions —
  • Gaining permission from the governing elders of the LDS church to run against Ted Kennedy in 1994 as a pro-choice candidate — despite the church's prohibition against such a publicly-staked position — since Mitt argued this was the only way he could win in liberal Massachusetts.

  • Promising the gay lobby when he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 that he would advance their agenda in exchange for their support.

  • Following through with the above promise and instituting same-sex marriage in his state by executive order — with no authority or mandate to do so — claiming he "had no choice" since the state's Supreme Judicial Court had directed the legislature to change the law to allow gay couples to marry. After the legislature balked, Mitt took it upon himself to order his subordinates to grant licenses to same-sex couples, violating state law, which even today does not allow same-sex marriage.

  • Mitt's longstanding support for gay scoutmasters and gay participants in the Boy Scouts, despite the predictable, corrupting outcome such a policy would encourage.

  • Exploiting bipartisan support for government-mandated healthcare in Massachusetts and pushing through the nation's most controlling socialized medicine scheme — which became the impetus and inspiration for Obamacare a few years later, complete with Mitt's "individual mandate."

  • Signing "Romneycare" into law, knowing it would result in taxpayer-funded abortions.

  • Condoning the dropping of our military's "don't ask/don't tell" policy, despite the open solicitation by homosexuals it invites, and its muzzling of military chaplains; and despite the obvious weakening of our armed forces such changes will inevitably promote.

  • Pushing through new rules for future Republican National Conventions that will strip state GOPs of much of their prior authority to select delegates, giving him (and other establishment insiders) more control over the party nationwide — a blow to representative democracy and grassroots influence.

  • Fill in the blank. There's lots more evidence of Mitt's unwise actions that could be cited in the public record.
Arguably, we could say Barack Obama himself earns an "F" for his lack of wisdom, and — given the undeniable threat he poses to our nation's existence — we could argue he's much worse than Mitt on this count. But that's not the point in a moral assessment of this election. As some emphasize, Mitt has actually accomplished more than Barack Obama on the gay front, which is one of the most critical moral tests of this election, in addition to opening the floodgate to certain pro-abortion measures, another clear moral test.

In either case, we're splitting hairs here from a moral standpoint. A D-class president is no more worthy of our vote than an F-class one, if we believe a candidate must first possess demonstrable "wisdom" to merit our vote at all.

And regarding "goodness"...

Thanks to Mitt's strict Mormon lifestyle — a lifestyle that reflects more the requirements of Mormonism's controlling institutional and cultural demands than the independent moral character of the faith's adherents, some would argue — Mitt has an enviable close family and outwardly upright image, things that would suggest he earns an A or a B for "goodness."

But we've already defined being "good" as being godly — not just appearing to be exemplary. In the context of the strict regimen of the law of Moses, Jesus decried those who were moral imposters, who mimicked ethical behavior so as "to be seen of men" (Matt. 23:5), not to please God.

I know from my own sixty-plus years inside Mormon culture that the culture tends to place inordinate emphasis on measurable displays of obedience to church authorities as a condition of salvation. The result, at least in many cases, is faithfulness that is feigned. Is Mitt guilty of such "preposterism"? I believe so, personally, having watched him for years.

But back to our standard of godliness as a common-sense (and ostensibly divine) qualification for elective office. How truly "good" has Mitt been, according to his public record — the only reliable record any of us has to go on?

Mitt's moral record is in fact stunningly dismal, so dismal in reality that Mitt has long earned the widespread label among informed observers of "lacking a moral core."

His chameleon-like ability to take whatever position suits the occasion is hardly a godly, moral tendency. His unwavering pragmatism is hardly a godly, moral tendency. Likewise, his willingness to condone misleading, ruthless ads that served unfairly to destroy his competitors during the primaries was hardly godly, moral behavior (ads that won him the nomination, but contributed to the "D" he earned above for honesty).

But the most telling measure of Mitt's moral commitment has been his refusal all election to side with moral (or "social") conservatism — opting instead to frame his whole campaign in materialistic, even vain terms that appeal solely to the importance of the almighty dollar.

Dollars are important, and we're in a terrible economy, but anyone with half a brain knows that our economic malaise is a direct consequence of our immorality as a nation. The one follows the other as predictably as night follows day. You can't have a strong economy without truly moral people across the length and breadth of the land.

Thus, Mitt's repeated refusal to address our nation's moral crisis is telling. It tells us he really is not fundamentally moral in any but a calculated, pretended sense. If he were truly moral and godly, he'd trumpet the need for our nation to return to God's good graces, by doing all in his power to bring about an end to the evil of abortion; call for reinstatement of "don't ask/don't tell"; confess his error in initiating same-sex marriage in the U.S.; disavow any notion of requiring the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual leaders and youths; condemn the "individual mandate" he persuaded Obama to adopt for what it is: unprecedented theft of individual right and property by over-reaching, socialistic government, and arguably the worst economic policy ever to be adopted anywhere in our country; and call for the election of moral conservatives in every political race this year, instead of favoring "establishment" (typically unprincipled) Republicans — for starters.

Mitt's grade for "goodness"? How about a nice, mediocre "C." He doesn't deserve a high mark, given his record of supporting and initiating immoral policies, but he isn't as outrageously immoral as the man sitting in the White House (who, like Mitt, also has an outwardly enviable family).

Of course, recall what Jesus said about those who are "lukewarm," and who thus vacillate in their commitment to godliness: He would "spew [them] out of [his] mouth" (Rev. 3:16).

Something missing in the "lesser of evils" analogy

Much has been said that characterizes this election as a "choice between two evils," of which diligent voters are encouraged to select the "lesser" in the interest of sparing our nation imminent destruction.

Part of the rationale is sound: we're definitely poised to self-destruct in all sorts of ways. But as we've already shown, the rest of the rationale is illogical: in a contest between two evils, no matter who you pick, you lose, if the goal is to "save our nation."

Of course, if the goal is just to make sure all Americans go to bed Nov. 6th secure in the knowledge they've elected someone who looks presidential, has an enviable family, and is accompanied by countless lobbyists, powerful special interests, and professional "experts" who stand ready to guide them (like the entourage that followed Henry VIII around in A Man for All Seasons), then a vote for the lesser of two evils makes perfect sense.

If the goal, however, is actually to save our country from the very real peril we face, beginning with God's judgments, the "lesser of two evils" rationale is absurd.

Nothing short of a national moral renewal will save us — it bears repeating — yet neither major candidate appears inclined to sign on to that unassailable fact.

But there's something missing in the "lesser of evils" argument that would put everything in more stark relief. It's this demonstrable reality:

In Mr. Obama, we have a diehard communist, whereas in Mr. Romney, we have someone much less fearsome: a pragmatic socialist. (If the latter label offends anyone, what else are we to make of Mitt's creation, as governor, of socialized healthcare, which served as the model for the Democrats' unconstitutional Obamacare; his support for the Bush bailout, which Bush said required abandonment of "free-market principles"; and his acquisition of enormous millions in federal tax dollars to stage — and take credit for saving — the Salt Lake Olympics?)

Make no mistake, Mitt's a "progressive," another word for a socialist. The fact he's a wealthy investor makes him no less a big-government, egalitarian socialist. No matter what he says to appear "conservative," his "bipartisan" approach to compromise means he will further the progressive agenda, as he did as governor of the most liberal state in the nation.

He'll just do it more slowly and deliberately than Mr. Obama, the ideological Marxist, has done as president. That's what supporters of Mitt are hoping — and rightly so. Mitt's no crazy Obama clone, particularly in temperament and vision. He's less threatening. Yet he's still attuned to the president's most basic policies and initiatives — as was evident in the final debate, when the conciliatory "real" Mitt took center stage.

All well and good, I suppose, if we believe that elective, gradual socialism is preferable to disruptive, violent communism — as most people do, viewing elective socialism as essentially harmless "communism lite."

Bear in mind, however, that Karl Marx defined the goal of revolutionary communism to be willful socialism. I'm aware that most people think the opposite is true — that the ultimate goal of incremental socialism is totalitarian communism. Not so.

Communism is merely a violent means to the supposedly desirable end of world socialism. Communism itself is not the end. Collectivist socialism — in which everyone shares everything — is.

Note that the full name of the Soviet Union was the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." Violent communism was merely the means of enforcing that country's experiment in socialism.

What this means is that willful socialism — as, let's say, voting for the kinds of things G.W. Bush initiated that opened the door to the election of Obama, who ushered in his own destructive legacy — is plain wrongheaded and inherently evil. Such elective ransacking of the public purse simply averts the communistic, more catastrophic, pattern for attaining it.

When you consider that such a goal is all the communists want in the first place, how then is opting for a pragmatic "progressive socialist" intrinsically preferable to allowing a cunning communist to do us in more forcibly? Either way, we lose our liberties, our constitutional republic, and any hope of a just and desirable future for our children. The end is slavery, no matter the means.

Worse, it makes us complicit in our own demise — having voted for it — and thus less worthy of God's intervention as things deteriorate.

Now, to wrap up...

A final thought about "means" and "ends"

With that, we're done with this earnest appeal to vote (and act) morally in these troubling times. I do want in closing, however, to suggest something I feel strongly about this election — something few point out.

All professing Christians, conservatives, and ethical citizens should ban from their minds any thought that voting in favor of the "lesser or two evils" is somehow right or defensible, for this simple reason: By voting for the lesser of two evils, they're using the self-same rationalization that underlies and enables communism and most other evils in the first place — the belief that the "end justifies the means."

Such thinking justifies doing something wrong if it promises to achieve something "right" — a logical fallacy that's sinful in the sight of God and allows unimaginable mischief and mayhem.

It ultimately doesn't work, nor can it be defended by God-fearing people.

Now...if we truly believe Mitt is a worthy candidate, of his own merits, for whom we could vote in good conscience no matter the need to rid ourselves of Obama, we should go ahead and do it. But if our basis is solely the need to retire Obama through endorsing the person and agenda of someone we DON'T really support, how can we justify voting for Mitt?

We can't.

As for any notion that moral conservatives can justify electing Mitt and then naively "hold his feet to the fire" —

Remember how well such strategy worked with G.W. Bush in office. It failed so badly, it gave the Democrats the House and Senate in 2006, and led to the election of the most corrupt communist in our nation's history for president as a backlash.

Better to stick with principle and avoid any myopic, "feel-good" rationalization that would serve to give G.W. Bush a third term in the person of Rove-led Mitt Romney.

© Stephen Stone

 


They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31