Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Suppose your 18-year-old daughter was about to be launched into the world of courtship. You’ve raised her to be the best wife and mother she can be. She is beautiful, wise and loves God with all of her heart. For some reason, however, you are afraid that she will not be able to capture the heart of a truly noble man. Having a successful courtship that leads to an early marriage is important to you because you don’t want to see your girl’s heart broken or for her to end up an old maid. So you decide to settle for less than the best. You encourage that young man who only attends church once in a while to court her. He uses a little profanity, but he is nice enough around you, at least. He does come from an important family in the community and has money enough to take care of her. He is rough around the edges, but you figure your daughter can change him once he’s married to her. Besides, he makes all kinds of promises that he’s changed his ways, especially since last week, when he announced to the whole church he wants to court your daughter. He’s got a plan to provide for your daughter, if he can get a job.

They openly admit it.

Many conservatives are fearful of the thought Mitt Romney might win the Republican nomination. In Iowa and elsewhere they have been frantically doing their best over the last year or longer to find, recruit and groom the right anti-Mitt: Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour, John Thune, even Governor Rick Perry of Texas and Jon Huntsman. (I don’t think anybody recruited Thaddeus McCotter, but he briefly threw his hat in the ring, and had it handed back to him on a paper plate).

During this primary season, fear has become a major motivating factor.

It shows great fear when the ability to beat Romney is the first criteria for voting for an alternative Republican someone. Republicans are so divided and so many voters are undecided, there is no way to know who can win and who can’t.  It is a bit like predicting who will win the Super Bowl in 2016. A few people might guess right, but that doesn’t mean they know. Usually your own candidate is the only one who can beat the other guy. This applies to both primary (caucus) voting and the general election.

Others will say that electing Romney would be worse than re-electing Obama. I don’t think they believe that either. Romney may, in their opinion, be more liberal than other GOP candidates, but he is not more liberal than Barack Obama. How can you say that Armageddon will begin if Obama is re-elected, and then suggest Romney will only make things worse?  Fear, that’s how.

This doesn’t mean a conservative should vote for Romney, only that they should not be afraid of him. If he wins, God has placed him there.[1]

It should be noted here that fear can also drive one directly into the camp of a candidate as well. Many Romney supporters make claims that “only he can save the country[2] with his brilliant mind and his great business expertise. That is fear; it certainly isn’t a trust in God. No one can save the country, unless God wants to save the country: not Mitt Romney, not Ron Paul, not Mike Huckabee, sweeping in on a white horse at the last moment to save the day.

A word of warning here about Ron Paul: Fear is his forte. Eventually the sky may fall. God does judge nations for shedding innocent blood, for idolatry, violating his Sabbath, and even debt. But fear is Paul’s bread and butter. He is afraid of the Feds. He is afraid of the Illuminati, and bankers, and the Council on Foreign Relations and anybody who has ever supported the U.N (unless it is considering allowing the Palestinians full membership, which he thinks is a great idea(!), because he fears the Jews[3]). He makes a living trying to appease both grandpa’s Tea Party Movement and the youthful Occupy Wall street thugs, and their pot-smoking University comrades.

As we lose our fear of God, fear of man has been taking on a more prominent role in American politics. I think John McCain won the GOP nomination in 2008 partly because Republicans were afraid of Hillary Clinton, not because they thought the Arizona Senator would make the best president. (They weren’t so afraid of Barack Obama back then; few knew much about him until after the GOP race was virtually decided subsequent to Super Tuesday.)

When Pat Robertson gave a non-ringing endorsement of Mayor Giuliani four years ago, he said that the New Yorker “was an acceptable candidate.” Can you imagine a coach saying that because he wants to win the next game, he will not use his best players?  When Christians put electability high on their list of qualifications and then don’t vote for the candidate or candidates that best represent their view, they are voting out of fear. It is an admission of defeat. We should vote as if we were the ones doing the hiring, rather than trying to calculate how to vote based upon electability or how it might affect the other candidates.[4] If I could change only one thing about our system, I’d ban all pre-election polling, forcing people to vote on the merits of the candidate. Pollsters have become our false teachers and prophets. It is a form of soothsaying, which the Bible condemns. Our duty is to do what we believe is right: in this case vote for the best candidate, and leave the consequences to God.

We are not required to tell other people why we rejected other qualified candidates for only Christ goes into the voting booth with us, and to Him alone we give account. Perhaps if more Christians did this, we’d get better Godly leadership in the civil realm.

A large number of Christians have pledged to vote for Newt Gingrich, even though they do not believe he is the candidate that best represents their views and would admit he often endorses pro-abortion candidates.[5]  Even people who trade in principle, commonly abandon it in the face of fear. On December 7th, radio talker Steve Deace suggested that some Christians have been using a pagan view of voting:

“We debated who could win instead of who should win. We supported candidates with positions, and not candidates with convictions.”)

He then offered an alternative, making a great case for Michele Bachmann:

There are several good candidates running, and I’m still an undecided voter myself. There is one candidate running whose worldview lines up almost completely with my own. This is also the only candidate that doesn’t have a YouTube’s greatest hits of flip-flops, tough-to-justify endorsements of pro-infanticide RINOs, a comfy couch moment with Nancy Pelosi, nor any hint of scandal. That candidate is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Bachmann didn’t cave on the debt ceiling fiasco, she didn’t cave on the unconstitutional (illegal?) TARP, and she’s never caved on life and marriage when it came time to go on record as a lawmaker.

So did Deace endorse Bachmann? No, he violated his own articulated principles by endorsing Newt Gingrich, who had “a comfy couch moment with Nancy Pelosi”, and has endorsed many, many pro-abortion politicians and would have voted for TARP.

2012 appears to be similar to 2008. A few evangelical leaders, like the late Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of the Moral Majority, later regretted not joining the Huckabee campaign. Here is a first-hand description of a post-election meeting of evangelicals that included Weyrich and Michael Farris, a homeschooling advocate and leading Huckabee supporter:

The room–which had been taken over by argument and side-conversations–became suddenly quiet. Weyrich, a Romney supporter and one of those Farris had chastised for not supporting Huckabee, steered his wheelchair to the front of the room and slowly turned to face his compatriots. In a voice barely above a whisper, he said, “Friends, before all of you and before almighty God, I want to say I was wrong.”

In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.[6]

The same thing is happening this time around. Michele Bachmann ought to be “our guy” and the most natural fit for Christian voters, but fear of Romney (or Obama) restrains them from doing what might be pleasing to God.

[1] “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21).

[2] This is the hubristic rallying of every candidate running for president these days.  The country can’t survive without them. They are the only conservative. Blah, blah, blah.


[4] I am reminded of 2008 when we were told that a vote for Huckabee was really a vote for McCain.  I asked back then if that meant a vote for Romney was really a vote for Huckabee? Or did I have to vote for Hillary to get my Huckabee vote to register for the Huck? Maybe if I vote this time for Thaddeus McCotter it will actually be a vote for Pat Paulsen. If I vote to eat at McDonalds does that mean I really want to go Wendy’s?

[5] In recent years, Gingrich has endorsed DeDe Scozzafava and Meg Whitman over pro-life alternatives. Rick Santorum has done the same thing, endorsing Christie Todd-Whitman and Lincoln Chafee, for example. Rick Perry endorsed the most pro-abortion Republican in history last time, Rudy Giuliani. And, of course, Romney endorsed Meg Whitman and still refuses to admit he was not pro-life in the past and still believes that abortion is okay if the mother was a victim of rape.


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