As presidential elections in the U.S. approach, Christians may wonder, “Where is my place?” Desiring to please the Lord and live in honor of Him, we obviously want to choose a candidate that would do the same, one of integrity to lead our nation. At times, when neither candidate provides what we are looking for, we are tempted to not vote at all. However the Bible does not give us the option of throwing away this great privilege we have been blessed with. Just like with all other things in life, we are stewards over our right to vote, and, as a result, we too will be held accountable for what we do with it (Romans 14:12).
Why Christians Should Vote
While voting is not a direct command in Scripture, being stewards over the opportunities God gives us is. Christians are called to influence the culture by being an example in all they do, including how they use their right to vote.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16
God has not called us to be passive, tolerant Christ-followers but courageous leaders who will stand against the schemes of the evil one (Ephesians 6:10-18). We hold the truth of God as a treasure in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). As statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Christian, we cannot do nothing. God has granted us a great privilege to vote, to have a say in the workings of our country, which, we know from history, was founded for the glory of God.
Ladies, it is no longer just men who are counted toward the election, but we too are included. Think about it this way: historical events, the timing of your birth, and the area God has placed you in have been leading up to this moment, this election. This is when your voice is to be heard and counted, for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Christians are called first to be citizens of heaven (Hebrews 12:28 and Philippians 3:20), and then, as described in Romans 13:1-7, we are called to be good citizens of our earthly country. Romansverse 7, in context of government, says, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear and honor to whom honor.” As citizens of America, we can vote and have a say in the matters of our country. And if our country continues to destructively head away from God, we can know that it isn’t because we did nothing. Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
Choosing a Candidate
When looking at and considering a candidate, it is of utmost importance to pray for the candidates and for wisdom and discernment when looking at them. Putting this into practice, it is also important to ask yourself three basic questions: is the candidate pro-marriage (by God’s standards), pro-life, and pro-religion?
Pro-marriage: In Genesis 2:24, God sets up the model and the standard for marriage. He defines marriage to be between one man and one woman. Any other condition is from man’s sinful and flawed nature, desiring his own way over God’s. Furthermore, God clearly defines what is not included in His standard and that only through Jesus Christ can we be made right with God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Does the candidate uphold this view, or are they supportive of the gay rights movement? This concept also covers areas like gender confusion; there is no room for the “you are what you feel” attitude. Marriage is the hinge on which family hangs, and family is the backbone of society. A candidate with a strong stance on marriage as God intended it is also pro-family, which will build a stronger society.
Pro-life: God puts a high value on human life, which clearly begins at conception. We see that God knew Jacob and Esau while they were in the womb and already had plans for their lives (Genesis 25:23). The same is true for the profit Jeremiah when the Lord said to him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God has even set up a specific command protecting human life with the command “do not murder” in Exodus 20:13. Taking life away at any stage of development is murder. As a Christian it is important to ask: is this candidate pro-life or pro-choice?
Pro-religion: This does not necessarily mean pro-Christianity, but someone who is willing to uphold the value our country was founded on – freedom of religion for all. Christianity is the relationship between an individual’s heart and God and is not meant to be forced or made into a national or Royal Church. Catholicism did this in the past and was the very reason the pilgrims (also known as separatist because they separated from the national church), fled to America. A candidate that is pro-religion is comfortable with the idea of others living out their personal beliefs in the public arena. Basically “live and let live,” allowing freedom within the boundaries of moral law.
Another area that needs attention is the party’s platform of the candidate. Every candidate is representing a public party; we are most familiar with the Republican and Democratic parties. Each party at their national convention draws up a party platform, the things they believe and stand for. These are published and can be accessed online, one from each party. Reading these is vital before endorsing a candidate, and it aids in making the decision of who to cast your vote for.
Keep in mind no candidate is perfect, and there will be areas you disagree with them on. You many even disagree with other Christians on various stances or they may disagree with you and that is okay. But the three areas listed above are of vital importance as the backbone of our faith and nation. When there is not a candidate who will follow biblical principles in all three of these areas, it is then that you seek the Lord more fervently in prayer and His word to choose the lesser of two evils. In a case like that, find a candidate of character and integrity that stands closer to the three areas then their opponent.
How to Vote (It's Simple)
To be eligible to vote you must be 18 years of age or older and a citizen of the United States of America. The first step is to be registered to vote. This is done at your local DMV or election offices at the Court House and requires some identifications but not much time. Registration deadlines vary by state but generally registration closes 30 days before an election. Once registered there are several ways to cast your ballot, so you can find the one that works best for you. The most traditional way is to cast your vote manually on a paper ballot or on a digital ballot at your township’s designated voting center or Court House. Voting online or by mail are also options. If you will be out of town during Election Day, early voting options are open at your Court House and will vary based on location. When voting, you will need to know your choice candidate’s party and have your voter’s registration number. We are blessed with so many different ways to cast a ballot, so please don’t miss the opportunity to make a difference.
If You're Not Old Enough to Vote...
You still have a voice, and your faith can still move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Give hope to the older generation, and encourage them to use their vote wisely. Your influence is greater than you think. Keep in mind 1 Timothy 4:11-12: “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
A Charge to All Christians
Pray. Prayer is the act of aligning our will with God’s, so please pray for the candidates, for those currently in government positions. Pray for the voters in our nation, and pray for yourself. Pray that God would grant wisdom and discernment. Pray for eyes and hearts to be open to God’s will, and pray for the courage to follow Christ above all else.
“Pray for kings. Pray for everyone who is in authority. Pray that we can live peaceful and quiet lives. And pray that we will be godly and holy” - 1 Timothy 2:2