A Christian Voter’s Guide

VoteThere are a good number of individuals who will find great discomfort in the title of this article. If you are a non-Christian…it may elicit fears of fundamentalists trying to elect their confederates so as to…in a nefarious conspiracy…change America into a Taliban-style Christian theocracy! Even if you are a believer, the title may be unsettling because throughout the ages the gospel has suffered at the hands of unholy amalgamations of religious and secular authority. A strong argument could be made that followers of The Way should be apolitical so as to avoid the leaven that ruins the whole loaf.

What if this piece, instead, was called, "Vote Based on Your Worldview." That wouldn’t be too controversial would it? You might even propose that it’s so obvious it doesn’t require stating.

Now…if you want to go one step farther and say, "No, you should not cast your ballots based on your worldview"…well, that itself would be informed by your worldview…your take on how things do (and should) work. Ultimately, everything you believe or do is affected by your worldview, whether you realize it or not. If you act (or vote) contrary to your "particular philosophy of life or conception of the world" you have unwittingly admitted what your true worldview is.

Additionally…if you have accepted the tenet that one should not "push" one’s beliefs on others…and thus should not vote based on religious convictions (only secular ones)…aren’t you implicitly declaring that an atheist’s worldview is of greater value than a believer’s (regardless of faith)? That somehow a "faith" whose beliefs are based on mere chance (literally) is better than any that thinks there is more than just the material? Even to propose science and reason should be the only basis for law is making a subjective statement…you can’t prove it with science or reason (or anything else).

The point of my tangent is that if there is no absolute authority then no one can claim any stance is better than another…so don’t accept that somehow your religiously-based political opinion is worth less than an atheist’s (or any other worldview’s).

Going with (a) no matter what your worldview will inform your vote and (b) that no secular belief is inherently more valuable than a religious one…then, as a Christian, how should you vote? What issues should drive you toward one candidate and away from another? Is it wrong to be a single-issue voter? For instance, Christians are often treated as unintelligent because of the high priority many of us put on the evil of abortion. How could we refuse to vote for a politician who is "pro-choice" if, outside that, we agree with them almost 100%? How unenlightened!

If someone ever comes after you with that tactic ask them if they would vote for someone who says all African-Americans should be sent back to Africa. I can assure you that unless you somehow are speaking with a member of the KKK, that no matter how much they might otherwise agree with that candidate there is no way they would.

None of this should indicate that it’s easy to know who to vote for and who not to–for instance, what if both candidates are "pro-choice"? Or, both major-party candidates are "pro-choice," but an unelectable third-party candidate isn’t? (Not to mention, you could always write-in a pro-life candidate.)

Biblically, sometimes you have to go with "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23b, ESV) and "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5). Although Paul was not speaking to voting in either of these references…their principles are applicable. A Christian should never vote against their conscience or faith. As James notes:

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? (James 2:18-20)

Again, James isn’t speaking about the "work" of voting…but could you imagine sitting down at the table with him saying, "I am prepared to accept my church’s view [that life begins at conception]. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith" and then follow that up with, "My position is that I am personally opposed to abortion, but I don’t think I have a right to impose my view on the rest of society" ? I imagine James would respond with, "You show your real faith by voting to continue abortion and I’ll show my faith by voting to end it!" (The quotes are from Vice President Biden.)

Two final thoughts. First, there is a lot at stake when it comes to the direction our country takes:

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it (Jeremiah 18:7-10, emphasis mine).

Second, we’ve all had a chance to read the end of the book and we know how the story concludes–so although you should vote your conscience hoping that God "will relent of the disaster" He may intend for us, humanity is on a downward spiral and we should never put our hope in governments or the ballot box, instead…

"[Our] help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2).


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Comments

  1. Right on Alan.
    My voting decision often comes down to abortion.
    It seems to be the clearest issue.
    God hates the shedding of innocent blood.
    As Christians we are to love what God loves and hate what He hates.
    Abortion qualifies under the latter.
    Prov. 6:16-19

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