Should Christians Vote?

Too Political, christian nation, right wing politics
Photo by Kretyen

Dear Larry,

With the national election coming closer, I was told by someone that I am not “godly” because I vote in national election.  Saying that the Lord is in total control and voting is unchristian.  Can you please help me to understand why I shouldn’t be voting?  Thanks – Carol

Dear Carol,

There is no reason that Christians should not vote.  Indeed, there are several reasons why Christians should vote!

The first Scripture reference that came to mind when I saw your question was Romans 13:1-2, where it states, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves …” (NIV)

So it’s a Biblical requirement that we cooperate with the laws of our government.  Moreover, 1 Peter 2:13 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men …” (NIV) It’s not just a requirement that we cooperate with our government.  It actually pleases God!

In politics we often find hypocrites, liars, and manipulative people whose word is not reliable.  Using that to justify a decision not to participate or to withdraw altogether is faulty thinking.  Consider that all of the institutions of the world — be they governments, schools, places of business, or even churches — are run by humans.  And these humans are evil through and through.  (Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV)  So if you were going to use that criteria to abstain from obeying or cooperating with your government, you’d also have to quit your job, stop going to church, keep your kids home from school, and never shop anywhere!

The Bible is clear that Christ-followers are to obey the laws of their government.  They are to submit to the authority of their government.  And they are to cooperate with the initiatives of their government.

The Bible is clear that Christ-followers are to obey the laws of their government.  They are to submit to the authority of their government.  And they are to cooperate with the initiatives of their government.  In fact, the only exception is when to do so would violate a specific command of God – causing us to sin.  (We can see examples of appropriate civil disobedience in Daniel 3:1-29 or Daniel 6:1-24.)

When we see government gone wrong in any way, the Christ-like response would very rarely ever be rebellion and disobedience.  Rather we can rebuke the government officials for their sin.  We can pray for the government officials.  And we can get involved in government in order to work to change things that we believe are unjust or unfair, etc.

The one thing Christians could do wrong in voting would be to vote in ignorance.  We owe it to the God that we serve to educate ourselves about the issues and the candidates, and to make informed, Spirit-led choices in the voting booth.  You read that right.  I said “Spirit-led.”  We should pray over the voting choices and ask God to give us wisdom and discernment.  We should ask God to show us what He sees on the election ballots, and ask Him to guide our thinking and our voting.

So let’s get out there and honor God with our votes!

Stay Informed

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  1. Ian McKerracher says

    I must admit that I struggle mightily in every election since I became aware of the culture wars going on around me. First, it is a truth that the vote is the singular leverage that the people in the pew have for the reigning in of ungodliness in the legislatures. Unaccountable power will lead to corrupted power every time, without fail. The informed vote is the way to speak to the powers that be to say that things are acceptable or not. It is far beyond a right. It is a priveledge, an honor, and a grave responsibility. The informed Christian is the loudest way to accomplish what is needed. Having said all that, the struggle that I experience whenever the time to vote comes up is that, from my point of view, the powerful factions of our culture have preempted the system and it has become a reality that it doesn’t matter towards whom you cast your vote. The status quo will remain the same because the system is broken. Money creates power and power corrupts. The powerful have formulated a plan to set up this system where they enjoy socialized risk and personalized benefit.. The end result is that the rich get richer from the money that the middle class pay. A decided lack of community responsibility will ultimately destroy us. I am from Canada and we have similar things going on here that you experience south of the Border. While it is true that we are similar, there is one very significant difference. We have not carried on the love affair with firearms that the United States has. I mention this because, from here, it looks like we are witnessing the build-up to the Second American Civil War. If you look at the polarization of the politics and the vitriolic of what passes for dialogue and when you couple that reality with the preponderence of strong action, you have a recipe for disaster. I do not see politics saving us. I do not see people coming together without divine intervention. As I saw so plainly on a missions trip to Haiti some years ago, the ONLY vehicle for the salvation of the community is Jesus Christ, working through His Church. There is no other.

  2. says

    I agree with the concept of our need to vote but I have reservations for this November. Neither candidate is a true Christian. In this situation to I base my vote on secular politics? Is it right for a Christian to vote for the lesser of two evils?

  3. says

    Robert, my wife and I talked recently about the dilemma we have over having to vote for the lesser of two evils (to coin a phrase). Mind you, we don’t consider either Romney or Obama to be evil – but we don’t believe either one of them is the right man for the job. But consider this: Matthew 12:30 and Mark 9:40 record Jesus teaching His disciples that, “… if they’re not against us, then they’re for us.” So even though I don’t like Obama’s particular brand of so-called Christianity, I must like the fact that he calls himself a Christian and take him at face value on that. Same with Romney. Given that perspective, I feel a little better about voting for the “lesser of the two evils.” Moreover, I cast my vote with prayer. “Lord, you know that I don’t like either of the choices here. Show me what you see. Guide my vote. I want my vote to honor You Lord (Colossians 3:17). And I want my vote to honor the men and women who sacrificed to give me the freedom and the right to vote. I recently read an article about Mormons that I had to admit is true. The gist of it was that Mormons may not be the best example of Christians in the world. But they are wonderful Americans. They are loyal to the country, dedicated to clean living, industrious and prosperous and often end up in rags-to-riches stories that are evidence of the “American dream” (of making it here). So even though I may not agree with their definition of Christ-following, I can find much to agree on in just about every other area of their lives. Finally, I’ve always known that it is easy to focus on our differences with others. It’s easy to allow those diferences to guide our thinking and our choices. It is much more difficult though – and certainly more noble and God-honoring, to focus on the things we can agree on — as those points of agreement are where we’ll find reconciliation with each other. I need to remember that as I’m defining someone as “the lesser of two evils.”

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