As a Christian American I believe that it is my duty to vote. As I understand it, that is part of what was involved in Jesus’ instructions to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Our unique system of government, “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” is dependent upon the voice of the people in the ballot box to choose those who will represent them in the various branches of government. I will vote because I have a right and privilege to let my preference for officeholders to be known.
I am not a single issue voter, but there are some issues that are “gateway” issues. In other words, if the candidate does not get it right on the issue of life, for example, then that will keep me from considering that candidate as one for whom I will vote. The reason is rather simple. Manasseh “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon” (2 Kings 24:4). The leader of the government allowed for the killing of innocents. That was so odious to God that even though that leader later repented, judgment was not withheld from the city. I will not vote for a candidate that does not respect the most innocent of human life; life in the womb.
Another “gateway” issue for me is how a candidate stands on the godly institution of marriage. From the beginning, God made them male and female and instituted the family as the primary unit through whom He would work. It is a holy institution and to violate it is not only to sin personally, but to bring judgment on others. Our nation is reeling because of people who have violated marriage in numerous ways. If a politician does not understand this basic definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, that politician will not get my vote.
What if on my ballot choice neither candidate holds to the biblical views on life and marriage? In that case, I will either leave the position blank or will write in an alternative. Does that mean that I have not been involved? No. In our election process, we have had opportunity already to express our choices in the primaries. In most cases I have had options to choose those who have held these principles and voted accordingly. I need not feel pressured to vote for a candidate who violates these principles, because I have already given my vote. If the parties place candidates both of whom are wrong on these issues, I will vote for neither.
Other issues are important for me. How do the candidates stand in regard to support of the nation of Israel? What about the legalization of drugs, like marijuana? What about their view of the First Amendment and the free expression of religion? Will they support a Christian who maintains standards of Christian conduct in business? Will they support the freedom of Christians to share their faith?
Another thing I will do is look at the party platforms and how each candidate relates to the platform. If the platform of the party supports life and marriage, for example, I will be more inclined to vote for a candidate from that party. However, not every candidate from the party supports the platform. When Bob Dole ran for President, he was very emphatic that he wanted people in the party who differed from the platform. In his “big tent” would be people who actually worked against what the platform stated about life and marriage. Christie Todd Whitman, once governor of New Jersey, was an outspoken pro-abortionist in her party, which had a pro-life stance. Bob Dole was very supportive of those like her, and threatened to personally escort out of the tent those who did not welcome her and her anti-platform lobbying with open arms.
At the same time we saw the rise of the “Log Cabin Republicans,” a group of homosexuals who wanted to be an integral segment of the party. Their influence has been steadily eroding the view of marriage inside of the party. The Dole acolytes continue to expand the “big tent” and in so doing have been a threat to the party’s stand on marriage and morality.
All this means that it is not enough to look at the platform of the party and then vote for those who are in that party. I must inform myself about the individual candidate and see what that person believes about these and other issues which are important to me as a Christian believer.
Ideally, I would like to have outspoken and well-reputed Christians to vote for as I cast my ballot. In some of the races in our district here in Florida, we have such candidates. Those will not be difficult decisions to make as I look at the choices. However, not all contests include such a person as a choice. So, what to do?
Again, I will look at the party platform and consider whether or not the candidate, though perhaps not a Christian, will stand on the issues that the party has identified. I will be more inclined to vote for a person of unknown spiritual status if that person clearly states support for the positions of the party platform with which I agree.
As a Christian, I will also seek the Lord for direction in making my choices. Some things don’t seem to need a lot of prayer. The decision seems straightforward. However, the Bible admonishes that we should do “everything by prayer,” so we should pray even if we think we know how to vote. God knows the secret things, and can direct us in ways we do not understand.
Years ago in a Presidential election I did not feel comfortable voting for my party’s nominee. So I wrote in the name of someone else. I had already had opportunity to express my wish during the primary. However, I do not remember praying about my decision. Even though further events confirmed to me that my decision not to vote for Nixon was valid, I later came to realize that the person I had written in was not worthy of support either. I should have spent more time praying about it.
What I have written here is how I will vote. That does not tell for whom I will vote. I have kept up on the internet wars that have made some almost question another’s integrity for whom they support. This is unfortunate. In this election, there are reasoned arguments that I have considered and partially embraced at various stages of the process, which come from opposing sides. I am a bit like the politician who said, “I have friends on both sides of the issue and I side with my friends.” I can see good arguments for or against voting for a particular candidate.
So who will I vote for? I am going very Constitutional on this one. In this election, as in others which have been contentious, I am thankful for the secret ballot. Our Founding Fathers were wise to give that to us.
You, too, have the privilege to keep your vote to yourself. It is between you and God, not you and others. So pray, consider the platforms and where the candidates stand on the issues, and vote. Then pray for those who are elected.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2).