The Christian Duty to Vote

Ask any Christian if they care about and want the very best for their neighbor and you’ll always get a hearty “Why yes!  After all I’m a Christian.”  It’s a nice sentiment isn’t it?  But why is it just that, a sentiment?

Remember how the Pharisees tried to trick Christ into speaking treason against the Roman Empire?  Check it out:

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in his talk.  And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do you care about anyone, for you do not regard the person of men.  “Tell us, therefore, what do you think?  Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?  Show me the tax money.”  So they brought Him a denarius.  And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”  They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”  And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God things that are God’s.”  When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.1

Going back to my opening question if you want to see things like lower taxes for your neighbor, prayer back in our schools, protection for the unborn, and the Biblical definition of marriage protected then we must put godly people into office.  In the alternative maybe we should wait for the ungodly to do this for us?  What are the chances?  Besides, they love the notion that’s so well advanced that Christ’s lesson in Matthew 22, is for Believers to stay away from things of government, even elections.  We have to admit, they’ve been rather successful doing so and the stats prove it.

Nationally, a 35% turnout of eligible voters in off-year elections is considered huge.  The same goes for when only 55% show up in presidential elections.2   How about Christian voters?  Sadly, exit polling and voter records reveal statistics that only half of the members of your congregation are registered to vote, and only half of those who are will show up at the polls!  Yet polls and surveys consistently declare that 80% of this nation’s citizens consider themselves to be Christians.

Now, American citizens enjoy the right and privilege to vote.  Yet if you’re a Christian you have a duty to vote, and to do so intelligently.  Imagine the difference it would make if all Believers diverted 10% of the time and attention they gladly spend learning all about the hottest television, music or movie celebrities, or college or pro sports, and studied the important issues of the day so they could make intelligent decisions at the polls!

Christ commanded his followers, not just the original twelve, but you and I to go and proclaim the Gospel and shape and mold the world to His teachings.  Therefore any Christian wanting the best for his fellow citizen must participate in the process of electing godly men and women to positions of authority.  That duty extends to any election concerning your local school board, city council, county, state or federal levels, in off-year and presidential cycles.

Christians have a heritage of involving themselves in making the world better for everyone.  Their influence was there, for instance, to end slavery and promote full citizenship rights for minorities and women.  Cite the historical topic concerning liberty of the individual and you’ll find the Gospel account, springing right from the pulpits of the churches of the day, leading the way.  For instance, can you imagine your pastor telling his congregation something this?

“Should your country call, or should you perceive the restless tools of faction at work in their dark cabals, and plotting against the sacred interests of liberty; should you see the corrupters or corrupted imposing upon the public with specious names, undermining the civil and religious principles of their country, and gradually paving the way to certain slavery, by spreading destructive notions of government— then, Oh! then, be nobly roused! Be all eye, and ear, and heart, and voice, and hand, in a cause so glorious! `Cry aloud, and spare not,’ fearless of danger, undaunted by opposition, and little regardful of the frowns of power, or the machinations of villainy. Let the world know that liberty is your unconquerable delight, and that you are sworn foes to every species of bondage, either of body or of mind!”3

Another pastor, in the wake of Parliament’s decision to close Boston Harbor after the infamous Boston Tea Party, declared from his pulpit at the very end of his sermon:

“In the language of the Holy Writ there is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come.”4

He then removed his black vestment robe, displaying the uniform of a Colonial Army Colonel he was wearing underneath.  Recruitment for local volunteers for the American army began immediately after, and hundreds enlisted.

But hold on just a minute!  We don’t need a call to arms to defend our nation against an enemy approaching our gates, but we are endangered from within.  The forces against us are persons full of ignorance, and hatred who do not acknowledge or share a faith in Jesus Christ.  They cannot be reasoned with.  They cannot be changed.  They must be peaceably, lawfully displaced and prevented from occupying positions of power and influence at all levels by the power of your vote.

They have allies.  Yes, some are Christians, who refuse to lift a finger to oppose them.  They’ve been convinced that politics and elections are things of man that ought to be left to man.  They refuse the notion that Christ wants good men and women who will use the power of government to advance the cause of liberty, drawn from the well of the Gospel, to free their fellowmen from committing and suffering from the sins of envy and covetousness.  All we, Evangelicals, and Born Again Christians have to do is come out of the bleachers and off the sidelines and onto the playing field.

Finally, if God is everywhere then he’s at any library, or government office where you can find a voter application.  If you’re a Texan you can apply on-line where he’s watching too.  Why he’s even there at your local Voter Registrar’s office.  If it’s the absentee period or Election Day he’s waiting inside the booth for you to arrive and select the candidates that would most please Him.  So ask yourself, “What would God want me to do about this coming election cycle?”  There is no rationalizing it away.  You know what His answer would be so get going.  October 9th will be here before you know it.

  1. Matthew 22:15-22 (NKJV)
  2. Courtesy of infoplease.com
  3. From a sermon by Dr. William Smith, the first provost of the College of Philadelphia, at its first commencement in 1757.
  4. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, Pastor of the German Lutheran congregation in Woodstock, Virginia, June, 1774.
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