Regular readers of this newsletter are aware of our
pledge to stay out of poll-reading speculation about
the 2008 presidential election which has occupied
so many people’s time for the past year. We agreed
to wait until we were actually in the election year
before we made any comments about that election.

OK – now we are actually in the year 2008, and are
free to comment from an Evangelical viewpoint on
the race which has attracted so many entrants from
both major parties, plus the usual assortment of a
few ideologues representing fringe political parties.

We are actually on the eve of the first official action
by any of the nation’s voters – the Iowa Caucuses on
January 3. The number of announced and qualified
candidates is 16, divided equally between both major
parties, 8 Republicans and 8 Democrats.

On the Democrat side, the race has already come
to the point where there are three viable candidates,
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
The remaining candidates have ranked in the 1% to
5% range of support, and cannot be considered as
part of the current race. It is reasonable to expect
some drop-outs following the early primary votes.

On the Republican side, the list of the viable
candidates is a bit longer, where apparently five have
double digit support: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee,
John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson,
with the remaining 3 as potential early drop-outs.

The privilege of voting for our national and local
leaders is one of the most important and valuable
rights of our form of government. And at the same
time it is the right that we so much take for granted
that too often we do not take the time to choose wisely
for whom we should vote, and do not even take
advantage of this important aspect of American life.

One of our nation’s Founding Fathers, Samuel Adams,
known as the "Father of the American Revolution,"
wrote, "Let each citizen remember at the moment he
is offering his vote that he is not making a present or
a compliment to please an individual – or at least
that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing
one of the most solemn trusts in human society for
which he is accountable to God and to his country."

"Accountable to God and to his country." There
can be no more solemn assessment of our responsibility
at the time of each election. As Christians we cannot
find a verse of Scripture which specifically states that
we should vote in each election. Paul, however, in
Romans 13: 1-7 makes our civic responsibility very
clear as he states, "Let every soul be subject unto the
higher powers ... rulers are not a terror unto good
works ... he is the minister of God to thee for good
... for this cause pay ye tribute (taxes) also, for they
are God’s ministers ..."

Thus there is a moral imperative for us as Evangelical
Christians, American citizens, to exercise our right to
participate in government by voting. It is for us not
only a civic responsibility but also a spiritual obligation.

So much for generalities. What about the specifics
with respect to this year’s election? Here is what we
promise our readers: (1) No relying on polls to make
decisions on whom to support. We will rely on facts.
(2) No speculation; no guessing. (3) A "straight from
the shoulder" approach, speaking directly, honestly,
candidly and forthrightly. (4) An interpretation of the
facts from an Evangelical perspective.

Using those standards as the rule, we will address the
question: "For whom should I vote?" and will make
this our basic response: "Vote for the candidate who
holds firmly to the moral values of the Christian faith."

Here are two basic truths which must be grasped:
(1) George W. Bush is not running for president. His
administration is almost finished. Bashing him is not
going to accomplish anything except provide some
perverted satisfaction for embittered, petulant political
partisans. (2) For the first time in American history the
potential candidates for election to the nation’s highest
office include a Mormon, a Black and a Female. If you
do not support them you may be accused of bigotry,
racism and chauvinism. But that does not mean that
you actually are a bigot, a racist or a chauvinist – it
means that those are the charges those candidates
may use in support of their cause.

So now we wait for the Iowa caucuses and the first
facts to utilize in our consideration of this election.

Afterthoughts . . .

And speaking of Iowa, a state with a population of
about 3 million: right now the presidential campaign
advertising expenditures are running at $1 million
per day, and up to this past weekend, a total of $83
million had been spent for presidential advertising.

A word of advice for presidential candidates who
are being criticized by their opponents, from the late
American philosopher Elbert Hubbard: "Never explain
– your friends do not need it, and your enemies will
not believe you anyway."

Last week we mentioned year end lists; here
are two more which have just come along. One is the
Gallup poll listing the most admired men and women
in 2007. In order, the top 5 men were: George W.
Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama and Billy
Graham. Among the women, Hillary Clinton was No. 1,
followed in order by Oprah Winfrey, Condoleeza Rice,
Angelina Jolie and Laura Bush. The other list is the
Judicial Watch’s "Most wanted Corrupt Washington
Politicians." The list included Nancy Pelosi and Harry
Reid, and among the 10 were four of the candidates
for president: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mike
Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. There is probably a
note of warning in there somewhere.

More about those big spenders in Washington.
It seems like every day we read about the millions or
even billions of dollars in "earmarks" that Senators
and House members tack on bills they send to the
President. And apparently we as American citizens
cannot do anything about it. Except, of course, elect
a new Congress and get rid of the corrupt politicians
referred to above. But now there has come to our
attention another wasteful spending practice by US
House members – not billions, but $20.3 million of
our tax dollars that they spent in postage free
communications to their constituents last year –
mailings that are often the government equivalent of
"junk mail," often just plain bragging. 116 million
pieces of mail in all, and according to an Associated
Press review, many contained photos and lists of the
roads and bridges their Representative had brought
home to their district. Small wonder that this present
Congress has the lowest approval rating in the history
of this nation. Something to think about when voting.

A long established principle, in a quote attributed
to French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville in the early
years of the 19th century: "America is great because she
is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America
will cease to be great."

The advice offered early in this issue will probably be
repeated in each of the 43 issues prior to the November
election: "Vote for the candidate who holds firmly to
the moral values of the Christian faith."

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