The director of the Institute For Principled Policy, Barry Sheets, was the guest host on WRFD’s Bob Burney Live radio talk show. The topic for discussion was the plans of some of the members of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, specifically the Democratic Party members, to discern if any of the 17,000 “former Republicans” who crossed over to request Democratic Party ballots did so deceptively, i.e., to strategically try and influence the Democratic Party ticket to the advantage of the Republican Party. Those Cuyahoga County elections officials want to investigate in hopes that any of the deceptive crossovers would be prosecuted. Ohio does not have an open primary; one must swear an oath that one is sincere when one changes parties to vote in a primary election here. It is a 5th degree felony carrying a possible $2500 fine and 12 month jail sentence to be deceptive in swearing this oath.
This is an interesting situation, considering that there are several complicating factors. “Conservative” radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been very vocal in encouraging fellow “conservative” Republicans to cross over and vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton. Further complicating the situation is that Limbaugh is also encouraging the same voters to vote for Clinton in the general in the fall, thus seriously damaging the claim that the Republicans crossing over were not necessarily sincere. Further muddying the waters, is the fact that Clinton’s win in the March primaries seemingly knocked the Barak Obama Democratic juggernaut off the rails. How much of the Cuyahoga County election officials outrage is due to this factor? How many were Clinton and how many Obama supporters? Another question- where did these same Cuyahoga County election officials stand while leaders in their party were encouraging Democrats to cross over and vote for John McCain in the 2000 Republican party primaries?
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, recognizing the political can of worms that the Cuyahoga County elections board is attempting to open, has said she isn’t really interested in pursuing charges in these cases. Uncharacteristically, she recognizes a political poison pill for what it is. Career suicide.
But more importantly and for the purposes of this series of articles Barry raised a number of questions during the radio show that all Christians who are called to be involved in political activity in the public square should be asking themselves. These questions are of such a basic nature that debate on the questions and the wider implications of proposed answers has resulted in a debate within the Institute For Principled Policy. The basic question is whether or not a Christian is ever justified in engaging in deception in political activity, and if so, under what circumstances and within what limits? In other words, what standard is the Christian to apply when engaging in political activity?
Those on either side of the question will be citing specific biblical passages and precedents and exegeting these biblical citations to make their respective cases.
Gentlemen, Make your cases!