Pressure at the Polls: Are Christians Obligated to Vote?

A Conflict of Values

It's no surprise that the elections are right around the corner. You can't even flip on the TV without hearing about some ridiculous comment coming from the mouth of Donald Trump, or about the hyper-liberal policies being showcased by the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns. For Christians like myself, the selection, as far as political candidates are concerned, seems kind of daunting - and not in a good way.

None of those candidates sit right with my conscience.

On one hand, we want to be good stewards of our nation, taking into account the safety of our neighbors. On the other hand, we want to stand up for what is right, led chiefly by our faith in Jesus Christ. How do we vote without compromising Christian values? Can we vote without compromising them?

It seems our selection comes in the form of two opposite, loaded, choices. You either care and vote for the "lesser of the two evils" or, you don't care and abstain from voting altogether.

I think this is unfair pressure placed upon the Christian. From a Christian perspective, no one is obligated to choose Caesar over Gengis Khan. In fact, if we look closer, it is likely we would only be voting for one side of the same coin.

Standard of Evil

When we say "lesser of two evils" what does that mean exactly? This popular phrase presupposes a standard of morality which must first be called into question. What is the difference between one brand of inhumanity and the other brand of inhumanity? In other words, Hillary is marketing big government, abortion, liberal public school reform, and gender identity "freedom." We can call this the shiny blue car. Trump is marketing big government, isn't strong on the elimination of abortion (at all), incites violence for his own gain, and contributes to the porn industry in various ways. We will call this the shiny red car.

Both cars are the same brand and have the same exact features; they are merely painted two different colors. Now it looks like our choice isn't for the "lesser of two evils" but for which evil we prefer most; the only distinction being the color we end up liking that particular day.

This is no way to make a responsible choice. I am starting wonder if a responsible choice is even possible at this juncture!

From my perspective, and I assume many others, it looks like big government stays, abortion stays, problems within our public schools continue, and sexual promiscuity is promoted; this is true in either candidate. Biblically there is no "lesser of two evils" available, there is only the same choices colored differently. But this is true only when we look at the fight between the GOP and the Democrats. Are there other candidates to consider?

Other Options?

If your conscience is moved in such a way where you feel you need to vote in order to consider yourself a "responsible citizen" there are always the Libertarian guys. Without going into an in-depth analysis of the party itself, Austin Petersen believes in a small federal government, the elimination of abortion, public school autonomy, and the removal of federal government in "causes" like transgenderism or the porn industry. In other words, the federal government would not take to promoting perversity. That would be left to the people, and smaller state, county, and city governments.

This is a model which would best align with the Constitution of the United States. The ideal of the founding fathers was that the people should be the rulers of the nation, not the federal government. Check out the Libertarian Party here.

What if I Don't Vote At All?

Then don't sweat it!

Yes, we have a responsibility before God to love and protect our neighbors and maintain good stewardship of our nation, which we have been blessed to live in. At the same time, we are not obligated to support or propogate any sort of evil in order for another responsibility to be met. In other words, if I had to break into a tire shop and steal a tire in order to help my neighbor fix his flat tire, I wouldn't be ethically obligated to do that. It would be a sin if I stole something in order to help my neighbor. There would be no way to glorify God in doing such a thing. I fail to see the difference in the context of our current political climate.

Author

Josh Sommer

Josh Sommer is the co-founder and editor of the Reformed Collective. He is currently pursuing his B.A. in Biblical Studies and M. Div. simultaneously, and while doing that he'd like to bring you some input on current events, from a solid Reformed perspective.

My Website: http://www.reformedcollective.com