How NOW Shall We … Vote?

ThouShaltVote

Pre-post assumption: Those reading my blog are gospel-centered folks, attempting to vote their consciences before God, just like I am. The majority of American citizens are NOT in this category, which would mean we come from totally different presuppositions when considering an election.

When answering my own question of what to do regarding voting this year, I desire to be biblical and prayerful. The one thing I KNOW: There is no authority except that which God has established. (Ps. 75, Prov 8, Daniel 4, Jn 19, Acts 13, Rom 13) With that as my foundational thought, I take refuge in knowing that He is firmly and gently in control of everything. If He is good, which I believe He is, then nothing can form against me that will affect my eternity. That leaves me hopeful, thankful and peaceful.

But what about the practical? Some have argued reasonably well that voting is “a privilege, and a responsibility.” I agree that it is a privilege to live in a country where I’m part of the process. But to declare that it is a responsibility (of a believer) may go beyond what is biblically justified. Some contend that voting is a way to exert one’s influence for good, and to neglect that would be morally irresponsible. So, I’m hearing that to mean it would be the equivalent of calling it sinful to abstain from voting. And that’s where I find myself … pondering, studying, praying about the possibility of committing sin against God if I don’t vote in the upcoming election.

Several opinions and options have been rolling around in this non-stop brain of mine.

What would be the case if I vote, but vote for a different candidate than your preference? Or the preference of the majority of the godly leaders? Have I then sinned? Also, must I choose your mode of operation (voting) as the only way of exerting my influence? Must I choose who you think best represents what the bible teaches or should I go with who I think does? What if neither do? Who decides which is less evil if both are?

One of the great Christian leaders of the nineteenth century wrote a book in which he took the position that Christians ought not vote. He contended that since the Bible teaches that God rules and puts into office those He chooses (referring to many of the verses I previously mentioned), Christian people ought to leave the matter to Him and stay uninvolved in the process. Many other noted historians held a similar view, with the general consensus being that “temporal affairs were insignificant compared with the spiritual and eternal interests of men.” Having voted in every election since I was able, I obviously find flaws in this position. I believe that God can providentially use citizens to set certain leaders in places of authority. But does that mean that if I abstain from voting that I’m also abstaining from practicing righteousness as a responsible citizen? Am I disobeying the unstated 11th commandment: Thou shalt not abstain from voting in the US election. Many of my friends who wholeheartedly relate to my dilemma may personally think so. Their conclusion would be that there is always a choice: Vote for the lesser evil. They would say that not voting is in reality casting a vote for the greater evil.

Ugh! The reality is that I am now left with three evils! Evil #1: Not to vote for either candidate. Evil #2: Vote for candidate One. Evil #3: Vote for candidate Two (the most evil one). Some bloggers and tweeters have even implied that evil #1, not voting, is the greatest evil. But what if the only candidates are these: one I would never ever vote for and one even worse?? In this case, I am forced to determine which sin I will actually commit.

It truly is a pickle I’m in since I’ve come to the conclusion that both front runners have (not just one major issue of concern ) many issues in their lives, beliefs, and policies which render them unworthy of my vote. Most of us have a line of morality or principle over which we will not step to vote. I realize that there are times we must strongly consider if that line must be crossed and cast a vote for the greater good. But there may also be a time when the system or candidate has become so corrupt that in good conscience my only recourse is to not vote, but to pray that God’s grace will see us through the dark time that is most likely ahead.

The freedom to vote is not one I take lightly. What a privilege to live in a nation that offers me that right. A right that men and women have died defending. Voting gives us a wonderful opportunity to participate in the promotion, protection, and preservation of the free society that we’ve always known in this country. I’m thankful that I’ve grown up in a nation in which people have lived day to day without fear of a corrupt government stripping them of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My concern is that no matter who I vote for or don’t vote for, this election may very well turn this country in a direction that will be nearly impossible to re-steer.

And yet, at the end of all of this is my one saving grace: In God I trust.    

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