Vote! We know we should, but is there a biblical way to do it? It’s election season. Presidential candidates are looking for our votes. They are jet-setting from city to city, shaking hands, kissing babies, slinging mud, giving passionate speeches in churches, and trying to win our vote. As I think about the upcoming election, I have a few questions: How should followers of Jesus think about voting? Is there a biblical way to vote? How do I participate in a process that seems to elect people who are diametrically opposed to my Christian values? What should Christians do?
Voting is one of the great privileges we have as citizens of the United States. Though we have this opportunity, not all engage in this process.
USA Today columnist, Rick Hampton, wrote that the younger generation looks at voting as a quaint, irrational act. One graduate said, “I don’t care enough to care about why I don’t care.”
I understand these sentiments. When I look at who’s running for president of the United States, I am tempted not to vote. If you are anything like me, you feel the same way. What do you do when the candidates running conflict with what you believe? What biblical principles should inform our thinking regarding voting for a candidate?
Now, I cannot tell you how to vote, but I can attempt to equip you as you prepare to vote. Over the next couple posts, I want to help us think biblically about voting.
Should a Christian vote?
There are no verses in the Bible to command us to vote or prohibit us from voting. However, the Bible does provide us with principles that should govern our thinking.
Jesus dealt with this same issue during his day. Rome, a Gentile authority, governed Israel. This was a serious concern to the Jewish people. Many would ask, “Given our present political situation – a pagan government ruling over us – should we even pay taxes to Caesar? God is our king, and we belong to him. Why should we bother submitting to an authority that governs in opposition to our religious beliefs?” In Matthew 22:15-22, Jesus answers their questions and ours with several timeless principles:
Principle #1: We live in a world with two kingdoms.
- Caesar’s Kingdom – political authority – Matthew 22:21
- God’s Kingdom – spiritual authority – Matthew 22:21
Principle #2: We have responsibilities to both kingdoms.
- Paying taxes, honoring government officials, and voting – Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7
- Praying for, submitting to and obeying political leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Principle #3: Our greater responsibility is to God and his kingdom
- Political authority is not to be obeyed when it conflicts with God’s authority – Acts 5:29
Should a follower of Jesus vote? Based on the principles above, voting does not conflict with God’s authority. So, as followers of Jesus, we should exercise our right to vote.
I know we don’t have a perfect system, but God has called us to participate in this system and to be salt and light. The imperfection of the system should not prevent us from enjoying one of greatest privileges we have as citizens of the kingdom of God and the United States.
Turn Your Minutes into Moments
When have you been tempted to not participate in the political system?
How have you reconciled living in two kingdoms?
Next Post: Are there biblical principles that should inform our thinking in voting for a specific political candidate?