Should Christians Vote?

If you are an American citizen, you should vote. 

washington monument

Washington Monument

I don’t care who you vote for. Well, I do care, but it’s more important that you vote, no matter what your convictions may be. That’s the way the republic works. Use it or lose it.

This post, however, is specifically for my Christian brothers and sisters in America. Not only do we have the responsibility as citizens of the United States to vote; if we follow Christ, we have the responsibility as Christians to vote.

The Bible directs us to be good stewards of all God has given us.

If you live in America, you have been given a representative form of government and a Constitution that protects your freedom to worship as you choose. This is a gift many Christians in the world do not enjoy. You demonstrate good stewardship of this gift when you fulfill your responsibility to vote.

Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina recently wrote a post, The Church & Politics = A MESS!. Noble correctly ascertains Christians are to be about pointing people to Jesus. Our political leaders cannot save us and will ultimately disappoint us. Politics are not the answer; Jesus is.

When Christians receive statements like this from Christian leaders, I wonder if some get the idea they should shun politics all together. It doesn’t matter how they vote or even if they vote. They now have an official excuse from the pulpit not to participate in an imperfect democratic process, not to engage the carnal culture, and instead to isolate themselves in the name of Christ.

But our faith does not operate in isolation from the rest of our lives. What good is it if it did?

Our convictions as Christians will influence and inform the decisions we make, including political choices. Dr. Erwin Lutzer of the Dwight L. Moody Memorial Church in Chicago writes of the same calling to the Gospel as Noble does:

“We are to be agents of grace, mercy and forgiveness in a harsh and cruel world. We cannot let our cultural revolution obscure our primary calling. We must exercise that calling within the context of our cultural debate.” (from The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage, p. 98, 2004)

Our current presidential election raises new challenges for Christians, especially conservative evangelicals. One candidate says he follows Christ while at the same moves to restrict the religious liberty of Christians. The other candidate says he’s a Mormon, which is doctrinally quite different from an evangelical Christian. There are independent and third-party choices. But when it comes down to who will most likely be elected, what are we to do?

Are evangelical Christians to choose the lesser of two evils? 

A wise friend reminded me only God knows the hearts  of the candidates. We do not know what they believe only what they say and do. Still we have to choose.

While neither candidate is ideal (will any ever be ideal?), they do have some philosophical and policy differences. I Side With offers a comparison of their views. Think through what you value most as a Christian and choose the candidate who lines up better with that. Not perfectly, but better. And I’m not telling you who that is; it’s your decision.

American Christians are a diverse lot. We have different opinions about what the most important issues are and how best to address them. Some of us will prioritize the social welfare of the poor. Others the protection of the unborn. Others the preservation of Constitutional rights. There is Biblical evidence that all of these issues and more matter to God. Prayerfully consider the choices and vote your convictions.

One more thing.

flag Christmas ornament

flag Christmas ornament, as seen at Walmart

If we are displeased with the candidates this round, there’s nothing stopping us from raising up better candidates for the future. That’s another gift of a representative government. Involvement in politics at a local, state, or national level is an honorable service. We need Christian people to take active roles of leadership in government, same as we need them to lead in education, medicine, law, social services, the arts, business, media, and commerce.

The notion that Christians should not express political viewpoints or participate in politics is destructive. Please don’t sit out the election.

Pray. Get to the polls on November 6th. Vote your conscience fearlessly and with thanksgiving as directed by Christ. Then trust Him with the care of our country.

Therefore, let all the godly pray to You while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For You are my hiding place;
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:6-7 NLT

Woke Up in America by Matt Maher.

How will you exercise your calling within the context of our cultural debate?

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12 Comments

Filed under America, faith

12 Responses to Should Christians Vote?

  1. Great post Aimee!! My husband and I received our absentee ballots yesterday. (In our rural area, it’s a LONG way to drive to vote.)

    • Aimee

      So glad you took the initiative to do that, Annie! I talked to my dad this morning in NC. He said the polls are open early there, so he’s voting today!

  2. roy

    Wonderful people comment here, and I do too.

    Great post. For me, the choice for president between the top two evils, is clear. One clearly follows the Father of Lies, the prince of this world. There is distinction between one who’s comments can be occasionally misconstrued, and the other who cannot seem to get the truth to come from between his lips.

    But I would take it further than the election. “Bring every thought captive.”

    It is a continuous life we are given. We vote by ballot like this once every 4 years, Takes me about thirty minutes. But every dollar you spend is voting, you are showing your preferences through your choice. Every word out of your mouth……

    And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

    Pray. Spend time with God. And vote your conscience.
    But do the same all those other days as well. Trying to get to that place where the words that come from my heart and pass my lips are the Word, who lives in my heart.

    And if you don’t come to the same conclusions as I do on election day, I may not know where you live, but I can find out.

    Just kidding about that last part.

  3. THIS is an AMAZING POST!!! I need to share it and hope that it would go viral on the internet for all Christians to see. BEAUTIFULLY done!

    • Aimee

      Chris, thank you. Please feel free to share as you see fit. I just hope everyone gets out and votes on November 6th!

  4. Jon Bullok

    You and I think alike sister. I get upset (i.e. my spirit rises up within me in angered revolt) when I read or hear of evangelical readers (like Greg Boyd) urging restraint from political involvement instead of engagement. I think of Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer (whom I am currently reading) and MLK Jr., let alone the scores of Christians throughout our history, who came to the conclusion that responsible engagement was the avenue for their earthly sanctification and for a pouring out of Christ’s love (whether ending slavery, overthrowing a tyrant, or bringing rights to the oppressed or unborn) which is only engaged and never isolated (and if it is a messy, hurtful engagement so be it – that is the cost of love and discipleship that we must pay). We have to be agents of godly change in our culture, not bystanders – it is integral to our very sacred calling. And we live in a democracy where our involvement is crucial to that end. The opposite position is in my view not only erroneous but can be destructive, delusional and even satanic.

    • Aimee

      Preach, Jon. I’ll go with “responsible engagement” that is “integral to our very sacred calling.” And I’m glad you brought up Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, MLK, Jr. and the others who have gone before in this path. Thanks so much for this comment!

  5. Pingback: VOTE! | oregongreen

  6. Great post.

    As an evangelical Christian who REALLY struggles with our divisive, two-party system, I’ve really enjoyed “God’s Politics” by Jim Wallis and his site, http://sojo.net/. I don’t agree with it all, but it’s good reading.

    I take great offense to the idea that a good Christian = Republican. Or anything else. Party politics are a fallible, human creation and democracy and our role is bigger than the two-party system. We must seek to glorify God in all that we do, and not be unkind. In my humble opinion anyway. After all, they’ll know we are Christians by our love, yes?

    • Aimee

      I agree; no one party has a corner on the Christian market. We vote on issues, and even then Christians often diverge in how they think we should handle things. I do think Christians have a responsibility to participate in elections. Each one of us answers to God for how we vote, so it’s important we carefully consider our choices. There is no perfect candidate or perfect answer; we do our best and trust God’s sovereignty to care for His people. Thanks for your comment and for the book recommendation. I like Erwin Lutzer’s “Why the Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t” http://books.google.com/books/about/Why_the_Cross_Can_Do_What_Politics_Can_t.html?id=jB4ZPQAACAAJ