It’s an election year and the political scene is front and center on every news network. What are Christians supposed to do with politics? Are we allowed to vote, commanded to vote, or permitted to vote? What does the Bible say?
I am going to start a series on how Christians should vote on certain issues, but first we have to establish the fact that Christians can and should vote. I am not one of those political pastors who uses the pulpit to tell people whom they should cast their ballot for, neither am I going to address secular issues such as taxes, military defense, or the budget. These will be moral or Christian issues, such as abortion/ embryonic stem cell research, wars, and gay marriage.
Authors like Donald Miller and Shane Claiborne have made a living by accusing the church of forcing its members to vote Republican, but that is not what I am setting out to do. I simply want to show people what the Bible says about issues and what our obligation is in light of the issues.
Should Christians vote? I believe that they should. Some people believe that Christians and politics do not mix, that we have no business at the ballot box. But I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that we are told to stay out of the legislative process. Consider the fact that Jesus said to “render unto Caesar” what belonged to him, which meant that people should pay the taxes that were required of them. If paying taxes to the government were immoral, then Jesus would have taken a stand against them, and probably would have overturned a few more tables. Instead, He said to pay them (Mark 12:17), and He paid them Himself (Matthew 17:27).
Then consider Zacchaeus(Luke 19). Aside from being a wee little man, Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Part of tax collecting included known thievery, and Zacchaeus made part of his money by overcharging people. After giving his life to Christ Zacchaeus decided to repay fourfold every person that he had ripped off. Jesus never told him that repaying was a good start, but that he should also leave his government job. No, Jesus allowed him to go back to work, and to work honestly.
The same is true of the Roman soldiers who responded to John the Baptist’s preaching. Their questions was, “What should we do?” John told them to be content with their wages, do violence to no one, and make no false accusations (Luke 3:14). John didn’t tell them to leave their government posts, but to continue to serve them in a Christ like manner.
So the Bible doesn’t forbid us from being involved in civil issues. But does it command it? I believe that it does. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” If getting involved is something good we should do, then it is a sin not to.
Just imagine that there are two people running for president. The first candidate vows to euthanize every person over the age of 65, while his opponent adamantly opposes that idea. Would you not think you have a moral right to help keep that lunatic out of office? What if you sat by and did nothing?
What if more people stood up to keep Hitler out of office?
Politics might not seem like an important issue to you, but every time we cast a vote we have a chance to keep evil people from doing evil things, and to assist good people who are doing good things. There may have been a lot of Christians that sat home that day in Germany, thinking their vote didn’t matter, or that politics weren’t important.
The issues that we will look at here will be of upmost importance for Christians to consider. I encourage you to prayerfully consider how the Lord will lead you to vote.
“It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
1st Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court