I recently read an article that asked the question: “Is not voting an option for Christians?” This is a great question considering the fact that the idea of not voting at all is becoming a more and more attractive option.
As much as I want to avoid politics, I felt compelled to write something on the no voting option. There are some who will be glad this article exists and others who will be angry with me for writing it. I want you to know that this is written by someone wanting to examine all the angles, and by someone who wants to make a good choice this election cycle.
My intention with this article is not to state whether I’m voting or not, or to encourage you not to. I simply want to look at the idea of voting from a biblical viewpoint (as much as I can anyway. Jesus didn’t really cover voting), and remind fellow Christians of the God we serve.
Patriotism Isn’t a Requirement for Christianity
Webster tells us that a patriot is “a person who loves and strongly supports or fights for his or her country”. Patriotism (though it often borders on nationalism) is something we see throughout Scripture, specifically within the nation of Israel.
This should not alarm or surprise us. The Israelites were God’s chosen people, and Israel was His chosen nation. Out of all the peoples in the world, God chose the physical nation of Israel to be His nation. This is not true, however, for Christians today.
God’s chosen nation today is not a physical one. America is not God’s chosen nation, Christians are. The nation may consist of physical people, but they do not exist in one physical nation, but rather as a collective, spiritual nation (1 Pet. 2:9). Christians in America are part of God’s chosen nation, as are Christians in Germany, Ghana, and Japan.
Patriotism isn’t wrong. What’s often wrong is where we place our patriotic fervor. I mean no disrespect to those who have fought and died for this country. Whenever I meet someone who has served I thank them for that service. I greatly appreciate the tremendous sacrifice those in the military have given so that I can enjoy the earthly freedoms I have. That being said, this world isn’t my home. America isn’t my home. As Christians our country is heaven (Phil. 3:20), and we need to make sure that heaven is where we direct our greatest love and support.
So much of the political talk I’ve seen revolves around who will do the least amount of bad to the nation of America and our physical freedoms here. I understand wanting to continue to live comfortable lives here on earth, but we mustn’t forget why we’re here. Christians aren’t on earth to live comfortable lives; we’re here to spread the message and love of Christ. It’s understandable then that many Christians don’t want to vote for either candidate, as neither candidate will help us accomplish that goal (one will simply just be “not as bad” as the other).
Nations rise and fall, but the kingdom of God lasts forever. That kingdom is the Christians true home, and that kingdom is the only country we should vehemently defend, love, and support. If someone chooses not to vote because they don’t believe either candidate helps advance the kingdom here, as citizens of a greater place that seems like a fine reason.
God Will Still Accomplish His Will
Many of my friends don’t like either candidate, but are still choosing to vote for one because the next president is responsible for selecting several judges to the Supreme Court. Depending on who wins the presidency the balance of power in the Supreme Court will tilt either towards or away from religious freedoms, among other things. At least, that’s what my friends are saying.
The problem I have with this is two-fold. First, followers of God throughout history are told not to react out of fear (Joshua 1:9; Mt. 10:26-33; 1 Pet. 3:14). We don’t fear persecution, government, those who do wrong, or death. In fact, all we’re told to fear is God Himself, and we fear Him because He has the power over all life, all kingdoms, all nations, and all people. The God we serve doesn’t want us to live in fear, but to live in faith and trust that He will take care of us, regardless of who is in office.
The second problem I have fits cleanly with the first. Don’t forget who God is! No one, not the president or Congress or the Supreme Court, can stop God from carrying out His will upon the earth. I understand that certain government officials could strip away various religious freedoms, but you know what they can’t take away? They can’t take our salvation, and they can’t take away our ability to speak about Christ. They can’t take away our joy, our love, our charity, or our hope. The most that could ever be done by any person on earth is to take away our lives, but even then the gospel message would ring out (Acts 7:54-8:4).
We serve a God who brings hope from the hopeless and good from the bad. We serve a God grander than the Supreme Court, and yes even the president.
I’m not trying to tell you you shouldn’t vote, but if you think you have to vote for the lesser of two evils this year know that you can choose to not vote at all, and that that’s okay. It’s okay because our duty in this life is not to vote for the right candidates, but to make Christ known. It’s okay because regardless of who is granted the privilege of sitting in the oval office, our God the Almighty, Creator of all sits on His throne and will continue to carry out His message of love and hope through His saints.