Vote Your Conscience

08.10.10 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[0]

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Recently, I've had four candidates on my television show on the NBC affiliate in Elmira, New York. These candidates are running for Congress in the 29th congressional district in New York State to fill the seat vacated by Eric Massa (who resigned amid controversy earlier this year).

On my show "Coleman and Company,” each of the four candidates was asked a question as to whether he or she would vote the will of their constituents or their own view when it conflicted with the will their constituents. Well, each of them said that as a member of Congress they would vote the will of the people...even if it was contrary to their beliefs.

I have a problem with this viewpoint.

Yes, in most instances I think it is appropriate to vote in a way that is consistent with the views of one’s constituents. On the other hand, if I were ever to have the privilege to serve as an elected official, on matters of moral principle I would vote my conscience...even when it contradicted the will of my constituents.

Taking unpopular stands to protect important values is something that I call leadership. For example, I would always vote pro-life, even if my constituents disagreed. Likewise, I would always vote in ways consistent with the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Next, I would always vote against gay marriage no matter what my constituents thought. And finally, I would always vote against immoral scientific research and experiments.

You see, in my view, elected leaders should have the courage to make unpopular decisions when those decisions reflect God’s Law, the teachings of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or the fundamental values that made or make America great. In other words, at the end of the day, on the issues that really matter, I say conscience over constituents.

What say you?

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to


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