Why I Won’t be Voting in 2020.

Peace Dove

By Jon Kauffman

A friend attended a local political convention. Strongly pro-life, my friend wanted to help elect a pro-life candidate. The “Christian” and pro-life candidates used devious and dishonest means to win the convention vote, just as did the pro-abortion candidates. My friend was quite disappointed.

“Crooked as a Politician” (Forest Gump’s Doctor describing Forest’s back.)

Governments do what governments do. Politician’s goals are to ensure their own power, money and re-election and they are filled with compromise.

A bright rainbow ending in the Clark Fork River near Saint Regis. Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman

Politician’s make great sounding promises and often break them.

Trump said he would end the war in Afghanistan. The longest war fought by the United States continues and no one knows why we are there. The number of enemy participants has increased.

Obama and Bush made promises similar to Trumps promises and they broke their promises.

Tempted by Political Power

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:8-10 NIV

Have Christians succumbed to the temptation to the political power, a temptation that Jesus conquered? Are Christians bowing down to Satan and grasping for political power? Are we worshiping government instead of the Lord our God? Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness to seize political power. I am certain that Jesus could have ruled better than the Emperor Tiberius. If Jesus rejected political power why should we grasp for it?

Coin showing the image the Emperor Tiberius.

When Roman political power put him on the cross Jesus did not resist. Jesus overcame Rome by not resisting. Jesus overcame Rome through love, non-resistance and non-violence.  Why would it be different for us? Jesus forgave and loved those who were killing him before they knew they needed to repent. Should we not show the same love?

By Jewish law, the woman caught in adultery could have received capital punishment. Jesus refused to support a law that incurred violence. He forgave the woman and said “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Many want to use government coercion to enforce morality held as right by Christians. What about the logs in our eyes?

When we vote we show our allegiance to the gods of this world: Wealth, health and personal security. Sometimes we call these gods “religious freedom” or “patriotism” or “Obamacare.”

Government, Violence and Coercion

The disciples wanted to share political power with Jesus.  

42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10: 42-45 NIV.

If we are striving for coercive political power, how can we love and serve our enemies? Jesus exercised authority but those who accepted that authority followed him voluntarily. Church leaders may exercise authority in their church but the submission of church members to that authority is voluntary.

Jesus objected to involvement in government authority because exercising that power comes through coercion and the sword to force the citizens to obey. The tax collector may be a gentle person who treats the store owner with gentleness, but if the store owner refuses to pay the sales tax the IRS may garnish the store owner’s bank account. If the store owner still refuses to pay the IRS may send the police. If the store owner refuses to go with the police the store owner will be forced to go and if he resists he may be shot. All political power is upheld by the use of a Gun and violence.

If we vote, we make laws and approve politicians who are involved in this coercion and violence.

We become part of that violence.

The Christian’s Job

The Christian’s job is to teach people to obey and follow Jesus. As lives are changed, society is affected. Government actions improve as people change. For example, women and children were little more than slaves to men in the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus. Because lives were changed by Jesus, societies now have much greater respect for women and children and even people who do not follow Jesus hold women and children in greater respect than did the early Romans. Followers of Jesus have made many other improvements to our society because they followed Jesus. 

But the changes were voluntary.

A History of Violence

Since the time of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, (339-397) the church has participated in politics and violence. Ambrose was the first to write arguing for Just War. He encouraged the government to reinstate the anti-pagan laws first started by Constantine’s son Constantius II.

Ambrose of Milan, Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, 1465-70

The anti-pagan laws allowed the killing of pagans for religious reasons. Later the Orthodox and Coptic Christians parted ways with the Catholics Christians. Orthodox killed Catholic and Catholic killed Orthodox. Orthodox and Catholics refused to love their enemies and even killed their own Christian brothers and sisters.

Europe fought the 30 year war for religion (1618 – 1648). During the 30 year war Catholics killed Lutherans and Calvinists, Catholics killed Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists killed Catholics, Lutherans killed Lutherans, all killed Anabaptists. Some Anabaptists joined in the killing, refusing to love their Christian brothers and sisters. 25-30% of Europe’s population died in the 30 year religious war.  8,000,000 people died as a result of the conflict. Prior to the war Europe’s estimated population may have been about 25,000,000 people.

In World War II, Catholics, Lutherans, and Mennonites supported Hitler in his destruction and persecution of  Jews. In World War II, Catholics, Lutherans, and Mennonites killed their Christian brothers and sisters from Germany. 75,000,000 people died in World War II

Now the US military kills innocent men, women and children and some who are Christians all over the world. US Catholics, Lutherans, and Mennonites join in the killing of our brothers and sisters in Christ from foreign lands. We refuse to love our Christian brothers and sisters. In the Middle East, the US has killed a minimum of hundreds of thousands with estimates into the millions since 9/11. The US has suffered thousands of casualties.

When we vote, we participate in this “Christian” violence. When we vote for the lesser of 2 evils, we still vote for evil.

If both major political parties are using devious means to get elected and are keeping only the convenient campaign promises, how do we know which candidate is the lesser of two evils.

When we vote we tacitly say that it is OK for others to participate in government policy that are counter to the teachings of Jesus. When we vote for Christians we are saying that it acceptable for them to represent me and disobey the teaching of Jesus.

Return to : Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

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Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

Hiroshima and Mass Murder?

Hiroshima After the Bomb, 1945

Hiroshima and Mass Murder?

 “…nothing can be more abhorrent to the Christian man than wholesale slaughter.” Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892):  A Baptist pastor and author from London.

I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.—Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (to Sec. of War before the dropping of the bomb)

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower  (1890-1969): American General and 34th President of the United States.

The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan. —  Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966) Leading US Navy authority on submarines, playing a major role in WWII.

The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all. —  Major General Curtis LeMay

Major General Curtis LeMay (1906-1990) Planned and implemented effective and controversial strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific Theater of WWII.

The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment … It was a mistake to ever drop it … [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it …—  Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr

Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr (1882-1959) An American Admiral in the Unites States Navy during WWII.

The United States killed 1.2 million innocent Japanese civilians in World War II. World War II was not the “Good War.”

What About Hitler?

Reasons why other Christians participate in violence: Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

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7 Reasons the Old Testament Cannot be used to Justify Christian Violence

It is often the bee who gets the credit for being busy; however it seems the spider could claim the title as well. Courtesy Leon Kauffman.

7 Reasons the Old Testament Cannot be used to Justify Christian Violence

By Jon Kauffman

Many Christians claim that because God commanded Joshua to use violence in the Old Testament, then violence is acceptable for Christians.

Seven reasons that Christians cannot use the Old Testament to justify violence:

  1. JESUS: Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Jesus very clearly taught and demonstrated non-violence even in the face of death. No other reason is necessary for a follower of Jesus to reject violence and war.

    Jesus, an innocent man, did not use violence to protect himself, instead Jesus said, “’Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” Luke 23:34

    The Old Testament tells the story of humanities journey to God and healing through His revelation. It takes time for mankind to draw closer to God just as it takes time each of us to draw closer to God.

    Moses says: “Show no pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” – Deuteronomy 19:21

    But Jesus contradicts this and says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” – Matthew 5:38–39

    And Jesus continues: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:43-48

    That journey of God’s revelation took a huge leap forward when Jesus came to earth as He taught us to Love our enemies. That journey will not culminate until we see Jesus face to face and we will be like him because we will see him as he is.

    We see many indications in the Old Testament of the journey to non-violence. Just as sometimes God deals with our sins one at a time, so God sometime deals with mankind’s sins one at a time.
  2. EARLY CHRISTIANS: The early Christians very clearly taught and demonstrated that they understood Jesus to be saying that Christians must not participate in violence. For example:

    Justin Martyr said, “For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of God, and we who formerly used to murder one another do not only now refrain from making war upon our enemies, but also, that we may not lie nor deceive our examiners, willingly die confessing Christ.” Justin Martyr, 100 AD to 165 AD, First Apology, Chapter 39.

    Arnobius said, “For since we, a numerous band of men as we are, have learned from His teaching and His law that evil ought not to be repaid with evil, Matthew 5:39 that it is better to suffer wrong than to inflict it, that we should rather shed our own blood than stain our hands and our conscience with that of another.” Arnobius (Died 330 AD) Book 1, Section 6.

  3. GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE: Israel was God’s chosen people. God was their King. God separated Israel from the rest of the world so that he could reveal himself to them and make a way for Jesus to be born.

    Today God’s chosen people come from every race and live in every country and speak every language. God’s Kingdom is no longer confined to one country. Jesus is our King, our President, our Prime Minister. Jesus is a higher authority than any earthly king or president. As his followers, Jesus does not ask us to crush our brothers and sisters and the poor in foreign lands to make America greater. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in foreign lands are citizens of our own country or kingdom. The kingdom of God spread throughout the world.

  4. GOD FOUGHT FOR ISRAEL: When God commanded Israel to fight wars, God fought for Israel. When Gideon was given the task of fighting Israel’s enemies, God told him to whittle down the numbers of his troops until there was no doubt but that God had won the victory. The United States wins it’s battles by brute strength.

  5. WAR AND WEALTH: God did not allow Israel to gain wealth when waging war. Often God commanded Israel to destroy everything their enemies possessed when they conquered them.

    Primarily the Crusades, European wars, and the wars of the United States have been about the gain of wealth. The United States used brutal tactics to steal land from Native Americans. For the last 40 years, the number one reason that the United States has been fighting in the Middle East is to ensure a large supply of oil for the United States. See America’s War for the Greater Middle East, by Retired Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich

  6. OLD TESTAMENT AS METAPHOR: Much of the Old Testament is foretelling the coming of Jesus and a metaphor for His coming. For example, the story of Jonah’s 3 days in the belly of the whale is a metaphor for the 3 days Jesus was dead. God had the whale spit Jonah onto dry land. God raised Jesus from the dead. The physical warfare of the Old Testament is a metaphor for the spiritual warfare Christians are involved in during the Church period. King David is like Christ. David fought the physical enemies of God. Jesus fought the spiritual enemies of God. King Solomon is like Christ ruling in peace now and in the future. We must join this Kingdom of Peace.

  7. TIME FOR WAR: Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is a time for war and a time for peace. The Old Testament period was a time for war. The Church period is a time for peace. And yet the Church is living in a time of war, an eternally important war.
    Paul said,“Some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:2-5. NIV

    For an excellent essay on the Old Testament and peace see Old Testament Peace Vision by Ted Grimsrud

    Jason Porterfield has written an excellent piece explaining why the cross requires Christians to use mercy against their enemies. “Vengeance Is Forbidden. Mercy Is Commanded.”

Return to : Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman

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