Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beware of Vows in Election Campaigns

Photo: Associated Press
The 2012 Republican Primary campaigns have been as ruthless as ever in their negative attacks against each other and as wreckless as ever in the promises made by candidates.

 Just this morning I saw two headlines that read "Romney Vows to be Pro-life President if Elected," and "Rick Santorum Assures Conservatives He Won't Move to The Center." We know the definition of insanity, yet every four years we listen and respond to the promises made and then suffer through four years of disappointment from promises broken. We fall for the same old lies expecting a different result.

We Christians, I think, are especially easy prey for political wolves in sheep's clothing because we really want to believe that things will get better. After all, doesn't love hope all things? As Christians, and as the Church, we have a responsibility, though, to cast our vote in a way that honors God and His Kingdom. We cannot base our decision to support any candidate on what that candidate tells us about himself or about his opponent. We can base our decision on the "fruit" of their lives and careers.

To the Christian, a vow is a solemn oath that must be honored at all cost. But to a politician, it is simply the means to an and -- a way to get your vote. We don't take the vows we make lightly. After all, as Bronislaw Malinowski said, "You utter a vow or forge a signature and you may find yourself bound for life to a monastery, a woman or a prison." But a politician has no such conviction and can see no further than the election. He only sees the end and will use any means to get there. Heed the words of Richard Brinsley Sheridan: "He who vows the most are the least sincere," and you will be less likely to find yourself repeating the words of Thomas Otway: "let us embrace, and from this moment vow an eternal misery together."

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