Your Vote Counts
There have been different opinions on the topic of whether Christians should be casting their votes on the election day. Some say it’s our duty as Christians in a nation that has free elections, and others say that we should refrain from voting and just pray about it, trusting that God’s Will be done.
Before looking at the U.S. elections, let me share about my background with the topic. Growing up in the former Soviet Union, we were told that voting did not really matter because of the corruption that was going on in the government. Elections were rigged, and only certain people with money and power were on the ballot. It was the common notion that people from the top already knew who would win the election long before the voting process even began. If there were opponents that would challenge the person that was in power, especially if he had support from people, in many cases that opponent would be killed. A prime example of this kind of behavior can be seen in recent political headlines coming out of Russia. President Putin is serving term after term, and many people have an issue with that, but no one can do anything about it because they think that the election is rigged and there is no point to vote.
The reason I’m sharing all of these things is because I grew up under these circumstances, and it shaped me and formed a mindset and a view that I had towards voting. Growing up in a Christian home and in church, we were not encouraged to vote. Many people took the stand that we should just pray and let God’s Will be done, but they never took any action to do something about it. As a result, many laws were passed that Christians did not support, and persecution broke out because of the lawlessness that was taking place from the top.
When I immigrated to the United States, that mindset remained with me. I thought that voting was a waste of time and that Christians should not be participating in voting processes because we are not called to govern the country but are called to be responsible for our families. I always believed that the elections in the United States of America were rigged and there was no point to even vote. I took the position that the church and my fellow believers should pray and just watch from the sidelines for the results and just deal with them the best we could. The mindset I had was, whatever the outcome of an election, we should be fine with it because that must have been the will of God. I really believed that our vote did not matter and that we should not be concerned about voting but should be concerned about the souls of people.
However, this mindset really changed during and after the presidential election that happened in 2016. Social media presented a clear and confident stance on who was going to win that election, and that was scary because one more time it was feeding into my theory that everything is rigged and we as Christians should not be voting. But when the results started to come in and it was clear that the next president of the United States of America would be President Donald Trump, optimism rose in my heart that our votes do matter. For the first time in my life, I began to seriously consider how irresponsible it can be for us as Christians not to vote, because our votes really matter. It changed my perspective and revived a respect for the rule of law and fairness that we are so fortunate to have in this country. Doing some research, I found that there are in fact political races throughout history that were determined by a margin of a very few votes. For instance, there was a U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire in 1974 that was determined by a two-vote margin (D’Arpino).
We discussed in Christian Perspectives class a few weeks ago, how we as Christians should care for the heart of people and reach out to the lost. And we spoke about the idea that if the person is changed, then we might not have to vote because the people will be changed from the inside out. The idea was that that type of change will be more lasting and so we should not worry about voting because it brings only temporary change. My personal perspective as a Christian is that we should do both. We should care for the souls of mankind and preach the Gospel and pray and hope that the Holy spirit brings change, hope and lasting positive effect.
And, at the same time, we should vote because it is our duty to vote and our votes matter. Micah Watson makes a great point in his article, “Why Christians Should Vote,” about the Apostle Paul, in Acts 22–26, taking advantage of his political standing, i.e. being a Roman citizen, to obtain a “better platform from which to declare the gospel.” Our right to vote is an opportunity for us to have a voice and to make positive changes, some of which may affect our abilities and rights to share the gospel. So yes, I strongly believe that we should do both, care for the souls of people and vote. We should not just say that we have faith, but also take action and fulfil our responsibility as citizens in this free country and vote. As the Bible states in James, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14–26). Voting is an action we can take to show and stand for what we believe. We are to vote for the person that best represents policies that are in accordance with our conscience that comes from the word of God.
Obviously, we don’t put our trust in a person and think that if we vote for the person that represents our best interest then they will change everything. We still are to put our trust in God and pray that God uses people to bring change and pass laws that would protect the freedom we have in this country. But, if we have the opportunity to put people in power who will be more likely to make decisions and laws that are in line with the Word of God, then we should take that opportunity. In biblical times, most people didn’t have that opportunity. Verses like Mark 12:17 are very interesting in today’s context, because the principle obviously still applies, but the historical context should make us thankful that we can vote. The principle Jesus was teaching was that we should follow the laws and ordinances of the land in which we live. He was telling this using a coin with Caesar’s face on it. But today we have the opportunity to decide who our Caesar will be and who will be making the laws by which we must abide.
We as Christians have to follow the governing laws of the land, unless they contradict or violate the sacred Word of God. If we have not taken the opportunity to elect officials who will align with Christian values then we risk facing a choice to either submit to ungodly leaders who violate Christian principles and by doing that disobey God, or we chose to obey God rather than man. In this, we then risk persecution. For example, during my grandfather’s life, atheists and communists were in control of the country. He was given a choice to renounce God or be thrown in prison. He refused to renounce God and his Christian values and as a result spent many years in prison and serving in a hard labor camp.
So why should we as Christians vote? There are many reasons why Christians should vote and I’m not going to list all of them, but here are a few of them. First, it is our responsibility and duty as a citizen of this country that we have to vote and not just to vote, but to know that our vote matters. If we as Christians don’t vote for the biblical values we stand for, laws would be passed that we don’t stand for like abortion, same sex marriage, curriculum in schools that brings confusion to the kids about their sexual orientation, etc. We as Christians should vote for candidates that support Israel, because the bible says that he who blesses Israel would be blessed, and he who curses Israel would be cursed (Numbers 24:9). We should vote for candidates that would protect the sanctity of life and would fight for the unborn. We should vote for candidates that would protect our religious freedom and the right to bear arms. We should vote in order that we may have a peaceable life and continue to live in freedom.
When a Christian chooses not to vote, then that is an automatic vote for the representative on the ballot that has the less biblical worldview. If more Christians would vote our country would look quite different. Any Christian that complains about the current state of our country but does not vote is abandoning their power to make change. I would encourage my fellow Christians to vote. It is definitely not our only means to change, but it’s one of them, and we should take advantage of everyone we have.
D’Arpino, Adam. “!0 Elections Decided by One Vote (or Less)” Nov. 5, 2018 http://mentalfloss.com/article/59873/10-elections-decided-one-vote-or-less
The Bible. New King James Version.
Watson, Micah. “Why Christians Should Vote.” The Gospel Coalition, Nov. 3, 2018. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-christians-should-vote/