A Christian’s Civic Responsibility to Vote

Please note: This is a recycled post, but considering the nearness of the Presidential election I thought it prudent to run it again with only a few slight alterations.

I have come to the conclusion that the sanctity of life and the purity of marriage are far more important to me than tax policy, the economy, terrorism, immigration, etc. That does not mean that those and other issues are not important to me. It means that they are less important to me. If a candidate is right on abortion and the family but wrong, or not as conservative as I’d like, on fiscal issues or foreign policy, I’ll favor the more important issues every time.

Dr. Albert Mohler’s radio program has addressed this very issue. Here is the link to his show “Bringing a Christian Worldview to the Ballot”. I strongly suggest you allocate 38 minutes of your day and listen to the program. Dr. Mohler unveils the “Albert Mohler 3-Step Christian Voting Formula” (patent pending) during the show. Mohler suggests that a Christian voter apply the following criteria to any candidate under consideration:

1. Competence – Is this person up to the job? Does he/she have the requisite experience and qualifications for the position?
2. Character – Do you trust this person? Does he/she have the maturity and integrity to represent the United States of America?
3. Convictions – What are the policy positions of the candidate and do they align with your convictions?

That is a solid formula, and it is even alliterated! (Another indication of Mohler’s Baptist identity.)

Paul instructs us by way of 1 Corinthians 10:31 that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do (this includes voting), do all to the glory of God. All of the Christian’s choices and decisions are accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the Christian’s choices and decisions are to be made for the glory of God. This does not mean that God favors one political party or candidate over the other. We live in a fallen world populated by fallen people (this blogger foremost among them).

I neither expect nor believe it possible for one particular party and/or candidate to “lead the country to righteousness”. I do believe that as a Christian I must do my very best to make responsible, Biblically informed, God-honoring decisions.


About Travis

Christ follower. Husband of one woman. Father of three young men. Former 11B. Blessed to pastor the Bible Baptist Church of Mount Vernon, KY.
This entry was posted in Abortion, Christianity, Conscience, Culture, Presidential Campaign. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Christian’s Civic Responsibility to Vote

  1. Philip says:

    Do you agree with me that we should vote for one of the two major candidates, as opposed to a third party loser candidate?I’ve been taking some flack for this view over at my site, but I still convinced McCain (for all his faults) is the only way to go. Anything to vote against Obama.

  2. Travis says:

    I do agree, Philip. At least I agree that is the case for this election, and that is a view to which I have only recently settled. McCain was not my first (or even second) choice, but I cannot vote for Obama. My conscience will not allow it. As the Jackhammer blog has recently posted, voting for Obama is voting for change you’ll regret. There are two other posts I’d highly recommend from the Jackhammer blog: Voting Third Party and Yes to McCain is No to Obama.I don’t think there is anything wrong with voting against Obama, and the only way to do that is to vote for McCain because a third party candidate has no shot of victory; in this election or any other. This is also not a situation of “a lesser of two evils”, whatever that phrase means. Evil is evil, and abortion is evil and Obama has clearly and consistently stood his ground as pro-abortion. As Robert George has recently written, Obama is “the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.”I may need to write a post on this!

  3. Fresh Dirt says:

    Jim Wallis posted a very good non-negotiables list for voting this year. It is found here: http://www.sojo.net/blog/godspolitics/?p=3166

  4. Philip says:

    I’m glad you agree. Sure, the Republican Party isn’t perfect, but I just can’t help thinking of all the pro-third-party guys as being absurdly naive. “Four years of Obama and then a bright new day!” Really? That is certainly one possibility, but we aren’t guaranteed another Reagan just because we got one after the horrid Carter years. We could end up on the sidelines for a generation. It’s just not worth the risk.F/D: I also found the Wallis piece somewhat appalling. “There’s a lot in the Bible about caring for the poor so I’m voting for a guy who wants to end poverty.” (loose quote) Good luck with that! The Bible tells individuals to help the poor, but not necessarily the government. He’s also against war. Great. Me, too. What sane person isn’t? That doesn’t mean we should just roll over every time some terrible thug invades the country next door. War is awful, but many times it’s right.The Bible wants us to be green? Come on. Again, no one’s for dirty air and dirty water. I’m sure not! But I don’t want the environmentalist crowd scaring us out of using our oil because we might be altering the climate of our planet. That’s just bad science. And bad theology.I’m certainly glad he’s for life and family values, but I’ve got no time for people who read all their favorite liberal “free-good” causes into the Bible. They’re not in there.Sorry for the long comment. Vote against Obama!

  5. Fresh Dirt says:

    Philip, you went way beyond “loose quote” there. The bible is very, very clear that we are to care for those who are in poverty. In constructing the structure and government of Israel, God makes many provisions for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. To simply see these commands as directions to individuals is to misunderstand the structure of government in Israel. Patriarchal households were considered to be a part of the government structure. Each tribe had elders and sub-elders throughout. Each “house” (as in house of Judah– obviously much beyond a nuclear family) was responsible for providing care. This mandate applies very much to the USA where every citizen is the government. Regarding the war thing, in my opinion neither candidate really holds up to Wallis’ standards. In fact, most of the wars we’ve been participated in the 20th century were implemented with a democrat at the helm. Both candidates have talked extensively about using the military and have mentioned various countries they would drop bombs on. Regarding the environment… the bible is clear that God loves his creation. The Psalms are full of nature themes and how the earth is the Lord’s. All of us notice that we humans are messing up the earth and destroying it. It belongs to God, not us. We are just stewards, caring for it until Christ returns. Since I lived in California’s central valley from 2004-2008, I can testify to the horrible air there. On a day after a good rain, you see the mountains all around. They are clear and beautiful. However, every day thereafter, you can’t see the mountains at all because of the haze in the air. Its killing the national forests and causing a plethra of health problems for the millions of humans living in California’s central valley. Something tells me that God is not pleased. These are not just the responsibilities of individuals but of governments and of churches. We will all be held responsible– for the poor, for violence, and for the earth.

  6. Philip says:

    My idea of helping people in need is to give money to my local church. Our church runs a fairly active food pantry and benevolence ministry. The government’s plan usually involves taking money from me involuntarily and giving it to someone else, who may or may not need it. The first method blesses both the giver (cultivating a generous spirit) and the recipient (who gets financial assistance with the knowledge that someone really cares). The second (government) method blesses neither the giver (the victim of legalized theft) nor the recipient (who only learns debilitating entitlement). Government never tells the recipient where the money came from (other than from the benevolent leader of the moment).Israel-USA comparisons aside, I feel that the first method of giving is far more biblical. After all, our country did just fine before FDR’s “New Deal” and Johnson’s “Great Society” and “War on Poverty.” Nor did these much-touted programs do very much to end poverty. What we need is a gradual reduction of welfare entitlement programs and lower taxes. Then Americans will have more money to give (voluntarily) to those in need.On war: The party affiliation of the president at the time does not invalidate my view that war is often just (feel free to look up some comparisons between Israel and the USA on this one).On the environment: I agree with you here; we should strive to maintain clean air and water. What I am against is any policy guided by false and disingenuous pseudo-science regarding man’s supposed responsibility for climate change.Good discussion!

  7. Philip says:

    This might add just a bit to our charitable giving discussion (John Hood, from NRO).

  8. Fresh Dirt says:

    Philip, you have a very interesting way of perceiving the government. You seem to indicate it as a "them" or something removed from yourself. Yet, you don't seem to treat it that way in reference to the military and war. Let us always remember that just over 50% of the USA's budget is for military expenditures. That means half of the taxes that we citizens have allowed on ourselves(thus not forcibly being taken away from us) are going to military things. On the one hand, you seem to have an implicit trust and pride in the government, especially the military. And yet, you seem to also have a huge mistrust for it and consider it to be stealing money and rights from you. The same people direct both parts though. Its seems rather naive to think that the those in charge are manipulating and stealing our money and creating bad policies but are not using our military in inappropriate ways around the world. Its far more likely that both are inappropriate and that the majority of Americans are okay with these inappropriate actions. Perhaps you agree and I have taken your ideas wrongly. I will leave room open for a war being just… its just hard to find one that meets the criteria of "just war" as laid out by good theologians throughout history. WW1&2 seem to have just components to them– we were attacked obviously and have the right to defend ourselves. However, we dropped two nuclear bombs on cities of civilians a few years later. Perhaps it was a just war with unjust means. I guess I'm always more worried about the USA being more like Egypt, Babylon, or Rome instead of the people making bricks in the field. This definitely seems to be the case if the government is stealing our money. Obviously this doesn't mean that the USA doesn't do a lot of good in the world… but Rome, Babylon, and Egypt did a whole lot of good in the world as well.Regarding climate change… Its the running car in the closed garage scenario. That ultimatly works out really bad.Philip, I completely agree… a great discussion. Travis, thanks for opening this post back up again! Its a true testament to the idea that the people of God can have very different ideas and believe the bible says very different things and yet have a good dialogue about reality.

  9. Philip says:

    You are very close to understanding my position. In my view, government has two great purposes: defending its citizens from foreign invasion and ensuring the rule of law at home. Obviously, we have added many more items to the list in the last 150-200 years.I consider taxation for the purposes of defense and law enforcement as fundamentally justified, even though I may not always agree with specific applications of policy in those areas.At the same time, I oppose all instances of the government taking money from one citizen for the purpose of giving it to another citizen. I understand that many politicians see this as a great way to generate votes, but I find it fundamentally unjust.I do not believe these two views are mutually exclusive. I want government to be as small as possible while retaining its ability to protect its citizens.

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