I found an article that expresses my thoughts most profoundly in this election cycle. I should have known it would be similar to my evaluation process because it is written by my son. I thought I would share it here:
Should Christians Willingly Vote for a Non-Christian to be President?
"There's a question I've been asked 100 times in the past two weeks: should Christians willingly vote for a non-Christian to be President?
Let's be honest: there is nothing to indicate that Donald Trump is a Christ Follower. He seems to have "adopted our faith" only recently for the convenience of an election. That's not to disparage my Trump-supporting friends; it's just the fact to which all evidence points.
So my two cents' has to be couched in two parts, with the understanding that these are not necessarily the opinions of the great church I get to pastor:
First of all, we're not voting for someone to lead the Church. We're voting for someone to lead the country. We had the same question four years ago when a Mormon was the Republican candidate.
Mormonism clearly isn't part of orthodox, historical Christianity. But it would have hardly been the first leader who was not. And it is not without precedent in the Scripture, either.
The Bible includes multiple stories of how God uses non-believers for His good. Among them is Persian King Cyrus, who allowed the Jews to return to Israel following their captivity.
Dr. Russell Moore, whom I have spoken with at forums on a number of occasions, put it this way during the last election: "So many evangelicals want to go back and claim Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and John Adams as orthodox, evangelical Christians," Moore said. "The problem with that [is that] Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were great men who did fantastic things for our country, but once you start claiming them as orthodox evangelical Christians, you're not elevating those men, you're downgrading the Gospel into something that fits whatever they happen to hold. And you wind up with [modern-day] politicians who learn the language of evangelical faith in order to use it, in order to manipulate people into supporting them."
Note that government has never been called to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus. That’s the church’s job! So it goes back to Romans 13: in every office for which we have a vote, who are the candidates who comprehend the difference between what is clearly seen as right and wrong, the difference between being an enabler and being compassionate, the difference between freedom and protecting the rights of the innocent?
Christians are called to exercise or influence for good.
Which brings me to my second point: the Christian is called to exercise his or her influence for good. Jesus reminded us that we are "the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." (Matthew 5:13-14)
What is salt used for? In biblical times especially, and even today, salt was the best preserving agent available. Jesus is saying that even those who don’t believe who live among us should be blessed because we help preserve what is good.
So my decision should be deeper than asking, "Who is the professing Christian?" Even more, it should be more than asking, "What political party am I beholden to?" It should certainly include asking, "Who has the character to focus on the things that matter to God? Who will uphold the standards of rewarding the diligent, defending the innocents, and promoting what is good?"
So for me... I want to know who has a record of character.
- I want to know who has a record of character. He doesn't have to be perfect, but he should be regretful about the moments in his life in which he's compromised his character. If character suddenly means nothing to many conservatives, they owe Bill Clinton an apology for stating he was unfit to lead.
- I want to know who has demonstrated a record of conviction. Every politician has a right to "waffle" if waffling means a thoughtful change of mind over time related to policy and changing cultural climate - on economic issues, for example. But when a man or woman changes from one day to the next based on his or her audience, my baloney meter goes off.
- Finally, I must speak on behalf of those who have no voice; and in our culture, there is no more abused minority than the unborn. I wouldn't vote for my mother if she were against the sensitivity to and protection of these innocent lives.
In my opinion, to be an American and not to vote is a travesty. What a privilege we have been given! Don't let anyone convince you that you'd be "wasting your vote" to voice your convictions. Move past all of the goofy propaganda videos on Facebook and actually watch videos of the candidates talking for themselves. Find speeches from before they were running for president and get a sense of who they really are. Thanks to the Internet, those are not that difficult to find."