Should Christians Vote for Ron Paul?
Written By: Voddie Baucham | Posted: Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Since posting a passing comment on my Facebook fan page about Ron Paul, I have been inundated with questions and concerns about my support of the Texas Congressman in the current Republican Primary race. In one of my many political posts (frequently, I post videos, news articles, etc., in an effort to show the importance and influence of worldview), I simply stated that I voted for Dr. Paul in the last election, and planned to vote for him again.
The result was hundreds of comments; more than any other post I've ever submitted. Most of the comments were positive. However, several were extremely negative. Some vowed never to follow, or support my ministry any further, while others simply communicated their dismay. Still others, like today's questioner, just asked honest questions. As a result, I've decided to explain my position, and this seemed like the best place to do it.
Let me say ahead of time that I do not believe that politics will save America. Nor do I believe there are any perfect candidates. There never have been, and there never will be. Moreover, it is not my goal to answer every objection to the Paul candidacy as I know that there are those who, for various reasons, will not be persuaded, and more importantly, that's not my job. My goal here is to offer insight in to my own reasoning as I wade through another political season and make a personal choice.
I. Ron Paul is a Christian Conservative
While I am not looking for a "Pastor-in-Chief," it is important to me that the man for whom I cast my vote be a Christian, if at all possible. And though I recognize that there is not always a clear Christian choice (i.e., the 2008 election), I agree with Chief Justice John Jay who wrote, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." For indeed, "Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe." John Witherspoon concurs: "Those, therefore, who pay no regard to religion and sobriety in the persons whom they send to [public office] are guilty of the greatest absurdity and will soon pay dear for their folly." I think we are seeing this on display right now.
My desire is not to see a president who will usurp the authority, responsibilities, or privileges of the Church. However, I do not wish to see those things hindered either. I also want to know that the foundational ideology motivating a man's decisions is biblical. I know it will not always mirror my own, but I trust God's word, and appreciate those who look to it for aid in making decisions. To that end, I support Dr. Paul because he is not just a conservative, but a Christian Conservative.
Dr. Paul does not beat his Christian faith like a drum in his public/political life. Unfortunately, that is off-putting for the "Christian Right". However, in a world full of 'posturing' in an effort to win over evangelicals, I find Paul's public demeanor refreshing. And it is not as though he is a 'closet Christian,' either. "I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate," wrote Paul on his Web site. I have also had the privilege of talking with both him, and one of his five children about his faith and how it influences his policy positions.
Nevertheless, the more important aspect is the fact that this Southern Baptist (raised Lutheran) is a regular church attender. What would motivate a man to attend church, but not beat a drum about it in an effort to win over evangelicals in an age when political figures play at Christianity (while living totally contradictory lives, and holding heterodox beliefs) in order to assuage the fears of the Christian Right? Having met and talked to Dr. Paul, I would say it is authenticity, and humility more than anything else. He wants "to avoid any appearance of exploiting [his faith] for political gain."
II. Ron Paul is a Constitutional Conservative
Not only is Ron Paul a Christian Conservative; he is also a Constitutional Conservative. He holds himself accountable to the Constitution of the United States, even when it means he has to vote against legislation that may be otherwise beneficial. This has cost him on numerous occasions as people use the "Ron Paul voted against so-and-so" tactic to paint a caricature of him and play "gotcha" politics.
This is actually an important quality in a President. I don't want a man in the White House making decisions based on what "feels" right. I'm not looking for a conscientious King; I want a Chief Executive. I want a man whose decisions are predictable because of a long track record of constitutional conservatism. I may not always agree with a man like that, but I will always know why he did what he did, and I can live with that. Especially in several crucial areas facing our Republic, like money, war, States' Rights, and foreign policy, for example.
I support Ron Paul because he has a constitutional view of money. He is the only candidate consistently to confront the Federal Reserve Bank (which is not federal, has no reserves, and is not a bank), and address the issue of fiat currency (a.k.a. unjust weights and measures; Lev 19:36; Prov 16:11), which debases the dollar, manipulates business cycles, creates inflation, and always benefits the rich at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised. And he talks about the issue in just those terms.
Congressman Paul is also the only candidate who has a budget that will cut a TRILLION DOLLARS in spending in year one. He is the only candidate who has committed to defund and eliminate expensive, unconstitutional agencies. This is crucial for a country headed for an economic cliff. Our debt is larger than our GDP and we simply must address it NOW (Luke 14:28)! This is arguably the most important issue we face, and while others want to tinker with the status quo, Dr. Paul wants to do the hard thing; the right thing; the biblical thing; the constitutional thing.
I support Ron Paul because he is a military veteran (yup... he refuses to beat that drum too, which is why you may not have known that little tidbit). And though I do not believe it is necessary for a man to have served in the military for him to serve as President, the fact that Congressman Paul knows and hates war lends credibility to his desire and commitment to ending the wars and bringing our troops home. Moreover, he has a constitutional understanding of war (only Congress can send us to war), and a Christian commitment to historic Just War Theory (rooted in the Sixth Commandment... HIS WORDS). He, unlike other candidates, can be counted on not to commit to acts of war without congressional authority (i.e., unilaterally deciding to bomb a sovereign nation if they advance their weapons technology in a region several thousand miles away from the U.S., under the watchful eye of a nation with over 300 nukes who can stop them in a heartbeat... but I digress).
There is a reason Dr. Paul has received more support from members of the military than all other candidates (Republican and Democrat) COMBINED! The top three employers of Ron Paul's donors are the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, respectively. Dr. Paul will not use our military to hunt down and overthrow heads of state without Congressional authority (i.e., Libya), kill American citizens without warrant, detain citizens indefinitely without benefit of a trial, or chase warlords in central Africa. When it comes to war, Dr. Paul understands that, "Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears." (Proverbs 26:17)
Constitutional States' Rights
I support Ron Paul because he not only understands, but believes in the Tenth Amendment. I know many Christians have been scared off by the "Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs, gay marriage, and abortion" rhetoric. However, looking beyond the rhetoric reveals Paul's true constitutional conservatism (and biblical understanding of jurisdiction). He has personal convictions, but those will not be allowed to steer him away from his constitutional oath. The presidency, and the Federal Government have limits.
The President is not "Pastor in Chief." It is not the President's job (or the job of the Federal Government) to set such policies. The "War on Drugs," for example, has been a monumental, unconstitutional, fiscal failure (to the tune of more than $3 BILLION)! The Federal Government must be held within the confines of its enumerated powers. This is important for Christians because we will not always have people in the White House with whom we agree (in fact, politicians will always let us down). What happens when we send a man to the White House with the express purpose of "changing the moral standards" of America in our favor, then, down the line we have a president who uses the same un-cheked powers to promote moral standards with which we disagree? How's that workin' for ya'?
But what about the moral issues to which we, as Christians, must speak? First, we must speak to them at the local level. I have no right to look to Washington, D.C. for remedies when I am not preaching on Mars Hill at every opportunity. The Roe v. Wade, for example, started in Texas; not D.C.. Furthermore, there is not a single institution more prolific in the spread of moral decay than the government education system, and Ron Paul is the only man who plans to get the federal government out of that business by ending the (unconstitutional) Department of Education IMMEDIATELY (Luke 6:40).
Beyond that, if there are issues we wish to address on a federal level, we have a federal remedy, and it is not the election of a President; it is the amendment process. This is less favorable to those who do not wish to do the hard work of changing hearts and minds in the marketplace of ideas. However, the alternative is a quasi-monarchy (or oligarchy) that changes with the wind, and a view of the presidency that is both unbiblical and unconstitutional.
Constitutional Foreign Policy
I support Ron Paul because he has a constitutional view of foreign policy. Ironically, our foreign policy has been so unconstitutional for so long that many people recoil at the idea of getting it back in line. Moreover, the semantic game Paul's opponents play (using "isolationism" as opposed to "non-intervention" to define his position) doesn't help. For most Christians, this is where they believe I've left the reservation. They may not say, "We have to be the world's police force," but I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Do you know his position on Israel?" "Surely you can't support a man who doesn't support Israel!"
Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Ron Paul does support Israel. It is our current foreign policy that does not support Israel! However, there is a deeper issue here. There is a sort of misplaced Dispensationalism that governs people's sentimental attitude toward Israel. Let me state clearly that I do not believe the Bible demands that the U.S. support Israel. I do, however, believe that it is wise to do so for geopolitical reasons. To do so for theological reasons, I believe, is actually misguided, and quite dangerous. Nevertheless, Israel is our only true ally in the Middle East, and that is important.
But there's a more important question: "What does it mean to "support" Israel?" Does it mean that Israel remains God's "Chosen People," and we must stand with them in anticipation of the coming Armageddon? Is the President to act as "Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces" and "Supreme Defender of Israel"? Or are we simply to make sure the foreign aid dollars don't stop flowing? Here are a few things I took into to consideration in evaluating Congressman Paul's foreign policy.
- Israel is the most powerful nation in the Middle East... BY A LONG SHOT! In fact, Israel could potentially defeat all the other military powers in the Middle East simultaneously if they had to.
- We not only give money to Israel; we give money to their enemies as well. That is not supporting Israel! That is using money to buy influence in a region thousands of miles away from us in the name of oil, when we happen to have the largest repository of oil on planet earth right here in the US, but refuse to go and get it (in the name of Earth-worshipping environmentalism)!
- Israel is a sovereign nation, and we have no right to treat her like a child. Our foreign aid has been a tool used to influence Israel's domestic policy for far too long. If we are their friends, we should allow them to exercise their sovereignty without our interference, and certainly without our condemnation. Who do we think we are? No, I disagree with my Christian brothers and sisters who think a country who supports Israel's enemies, interferes with Israel's domestic policy, condemn's Israel in efforts to keep ties with oil-rich countries in the region, and helps to destabilize and radicalize one of Israel's historic foes lurking on her southern boarder is engaging in a foreign policy that supports Israel.
III. Ron Paul is a Consistent Conservative
Finally, I support Dr. Paul because he has been a consistent conservative. He has been married to the same woman for more than fifty years; delivered over 4,000 babies as an OB; never performed a single abortion; has never voted for an unbalanced budget, a tax increase, or a bailout; forecasted the economic debacle long before it happened; and gave back $140,000 last year through his office to pay down the national debt (100,000 in 2010). This man is so principled that he refuses to claim his congressional pension!
Ron Paul is the real deal. He is not perfect. He needs a savior just like you and I do (as noted by his trust in Christ as his redeemer). But when it's all said and done, he is a man with whom I agree in principle. I know where he's coming from, and it's not based on his "personal story," or his sense of what's going to get him elected. It's the same thing he's been running on (and governing from) for over three decades; the Constitution of the United States (viewed through the lens of a basic biblical world and life view). And I'm glad to support a man like that.
Dr. Voddie T. Baucham, Jr. is an author and a pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church in Springs TX. His new book is Family Shephards.