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Image of birds flying. Image of birds flying.

#700 Is It Wrong to Vote for a Third Party Candidate?

September 20, 2020

In the political continuum of choosing the-least-evil what are Dr. Craig’s thoughts on Christians voting for 3rd party candidates, even though in the US such candidates are very, very unlikely to actually be elected? Should Christians be more pragmatic and avoid 3rd party (such as http://www.constitutionparty.com/) candidates – at least until they a decent chance of winning elections? I know from the following two pod casts https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/the-presidential-election/, https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/will-there-be-a-backlash-against-evangelicals/ that Dr. Craig sees policies (or political platforms which are policies-to-be) as one of if not the most import factor for choosing political candidates.

It seems that Dr. Craig is advocating policy over character? However, does not policy flow out of character, OR is Dr. Craig indicating that policy is a result of character?


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Photo of Dr. Craig.

Dr. craig’s response


I must confess, Ken, that I am inclined to think that anyone who votes for a third-party candidate who has no realistic chance of winning is guilty of a dereliction of duty. He in effect leaves it up to others to determine who our public officials will be. There is too much at stake in our national elections to abdicate our responsibility to help choose our leaders.

I am definitely advocating that we prioritize policy over character. American evangelicals really came of age politically, I think, during the Carter Presidency. So many of us were excited that a man who was an outspoken, born-again Christian would be at the helm, guiding our nation. We felt that we could pray confidently for him, knowing that he was tuned in with God. But for many evangelicals President Carter turned out to be a deep disappointment because of the policies he pursued. What we came to see is that character without right policy is just as empty as faith without works.

And so evangelicals, unlike certain other voting blocks, have ceased to vote for a candidate just because he is “one of us.” Rather we want to know what he stands for and whether he will carry through on the policy promises he has made.

Clearly, policy does not flow out of character. A good man who is weak, easily influenced, or distracted may not be an effective leader. A bad man may adopt the right policies for the purely pragmatic reason that they appeal to a large voting block whose support he needs. It doesn’t matter why he adopts the policies he does; what matters is that he adopts the right policies.

So in the upcoming election, I’d encourage Christians to prioritize policy over character and to vote for those candidates who have the best chance of promoting biblical values in the public square.

- William Lane Craig