The Christian Voter
Contrary to what you’re liable to read in any number of social media postings, or hear through any number of emotionally charged sermons, the notion of America being a “Christian nation” is debatable at best. Sure, we are a nation composed primarily of Christians (70.6% to be exact), but do our laws, culture, and history prove themselves to be wholly Christian? I think not.
Now that doesn’t mean that America is some godless, forsaken spiritual wasteland. Since our founding, men and women of faith have paved the way in making our nation a bastion of democracy, freedom, and equality. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve been a good, holy, and perfect nation at each step along the way. And that certainly doesn’t mean that we’re in a good, holy, and perfect place right now either.
If anything, our nation will always reflect its people, for better or worse. America will, at times, shine bright because of our commitments to faith, freedom, and family. At other times, it will struggle and fail because of our sinfulness, our greed, and our pride. Because of that, it’s important that each of us, Christians in particular, do what we can to cultivate a country we can be proud of.
We can do that by giving back to our communities, by breaking down barriers which keep people apart, and by simply bearing an everyday witness that is good, right, and true. But there’s one other way that we can cultivate a country that we can be proud of. We can vote.
The 15th and 19th amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee the right to vote for all people, regardless of race or gender. It’s a right which countless people have died in combat to protect. It’s a right which undergirds the foundation of our democracy. It’s the great equalizer which gives each person a voice in the direction of our country.
Sadly, few in our nation regularly exercise their right to vote. Only 56% of the voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. Among those numbers, you have to imagine that there are scores of Christians who have neglected to use their voice in order to vote for policies and politicians which help advance the priorities of God’s Kingdom.
Of course, the Kingdom of God won’t be brought about by Christians who focus exclusively on attaining (and maintaining) political power. Such Christians who pander to politicians for power and glory forget to whom their primary allegiance lies. But even so, we’d be foolish to not use our right to vote in order to support politicians and policies which advance the Kingdom priorities which Christ speaks about throughout the Gospels (Read the Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount if you’re confused about what those priorities are).
A Christian is a person who’s going to use every gift they’ve been given in order to bear witness to Christ’s love and to advance the Kingdom of God on earth, as in heaven. In short, your right to vote is a gift. And if we squander this gift and fail to use it, then we’ve wasted God’s blessings on our nation as well as the sacrifices of men and women who have fought and died in order to defend that right.
All that to say, a committed Christian should appreciate and use their right to vote on a consistent basis, not just when a president is elected every four years. A committed Christian should research the politicians and policies which are up for a vote, so that they can make an informed (and prayerful) decision about who and what to support. And a committed Christian should always remember that no politician or political party is God’s chosen vessel to remake and redeem our country and world.
Only Jesus can inhabit such a role as that. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:13-14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
While Jesus inaugurated the arrival of this kingdom during His earthly ministry some 2,000 years ago, we continue to anxiously await its fulfillment, which will happen when He comes again. Until then, we each should do what we can to bear witness to Christ’s love and to advance the priorities of His Kingdom through every privilege, gift, and right which we enjoy – including the right to vote.