Growing up I constantly heard that there were two things you didn’t engage persons in conversations about, religion and politics. Why? Most conversations in these two areas, especially politics, gender strife, disagreement, and categorizing.

     For the past year, starting in 2015, our nation has been engaged in one of the most heated and contentious discussion and debate about Presidential candidates, in modern times. During this time 20-25 persons, from major parties, were seeking the highest office of the land. That number has dwindled down, as of March 31, 2016 to five. During this time numerous media forums misnamed “debates” have been conducted on TV and in town halls, which were nothing more than question and answer arguments. During these periods of wrangling a new cloud—called ANGER—was formed that hangs heavier and heavier over the heads of politician and the American people.

     From the 1866 Civil Rights Act which granted citizenship to all native-born Americans, but not the right to vote, until 2014 when a group of legislators in Congress took the first step toward developing a new formula and modernizing the Voting Rights Acts, Voting Rights continue to be a major issue in the USA.

     In the midst of this political war, Christians, especially so-called Evangelicals, are being challenged and called upon to support various candidates. This has resurrected the old discussion and debate about whether or not Christians should be involved in politics—from running for office to voting. I have noted increasing debates among Christians about issues and candidates. Here are a few of the views held by some Christians:

 

  1. Some believe it is wrong—don’t be entangled in the world.

  2. Some are indifferent—don’t care who wins or loses.

  3. No use to vote—“My vote won’t matter.”

  4. Confused: “Not sure who to vote for—the best person?”

  5. Negative attitude: “All politicians are crooks.”

  6. It is a crooked game—the system controls who wins, not the people.

  7. God will put in who He wants—let Him handle it.

  8. Voting violates the separation of church and state.

  9. Voting is a choice between two or more evils. I choose not to make a choice.

  10. Christians should only vote for Christians.

     Voting is a freedom our democracy and Constitution allows. It is a serious honor and obligation to go into a voting booth and cast a ballot for the candidate of your choice. For the Christian, prior to entering the booth, he or she has been confronted with the question, How Should a Christian Vote? Concerning the privilege of voting, Abraham Lincoln said: “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” Old Abe was funny but true!

     In my opinion one of the major things a voter should do is become educated about the issues and candidates. From time to time on TV we see persons being interviewed on the streets and in the shopping malls. It is amazing how ignorant most of those were who were interviewed relative to issues, qualifications of candidates, and reasons for voting for a specific candidate. Sir Winston S. Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, wisely said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” Sadly, this is so lacking in our day.

     If you are bored and disgusted by politics and are reluctant to vote, keep in mind you are in effect casting a vote for the entrenched Establishments of the current major parties, which they hope you’ll continually keep the negative attitude and not vote for change. In this article I offer several observations about voting, with an emphasis on the Christian voting.

The General Anatomy of Voting

It is essential to our education about voting that we become aware of the numerous personal issues that possibly influence a person’s voting:

  1. Voting can be an emotional act void of documented facts.

  2. Voting can be a calculated act based on research and discovered truth.

  3. Voting can be a tradition, “I have always voted for______________party.”

  4. Voting can be a frustrating act: “too many choices and issues.”

  5. Voting can be an empowering act: “I am part of the system, “I count,” etc.

  6. Voting can be a voice of prejudice: “What/who I like.”

  7. Voting can be an insecure act: “What if I vote for the wrong person?”

    Various Kinds of Government

Within the political arenas, parties, and people there are various forms and styles of government that effect the everyday life of citizens as well as their voting habits.

  1. The Monarchy form of government (Ruled usually by the “Royal Family”).

  2. The Dictator form of government (Ruled by one person—“Totalitarian”—Hitler).

  3. The Democratic form of government (The people hold the power through voting).

  4. Republican form of government (An adhering to the Constitution of the United States and the power, by voting, is in the hands of the people).

  5. Communistic form of government (An economic system based on the ownership of all property by the community as a whole. The power is held by the Totalitarian rulers in the High Command).

  6. Socialism form of government (This is a subset in Communism which emphasizes “sharing the wealth.”).

  7. Pontification form of government (The Pope in Rome through a combination of “secular theology” and “forms of socialism” governs the Catholic Church).

  8. Anarchy form of government (Which is rebellion, never stable, dictator controlled, terrorism, and always being overthrown.”

  9. Theocratic form of government (This was the form in the Nation of Israel. A Theocracy is a “nation ruled by God, not by man.” Today it is taught by Dominionism and advocates “Christian Imperialism” through Christ returning and establishing a literal and physical kingdom on earth, in Jerusalem) It will be preceded by an all-out “War among the nations.”)

     In the midst of these various forms of government the Christian finds himself living as “a pilgrim, sojourner, and stranger” (1 Peter 2:11-17); his citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). In the midst of any form of government the Christian conducts himself in a Christ-like manner, obeying the laws of the land as long as they don’t violate God’s laws (cf. 1 Peter 2:11-25; cf. Acts 5:29).

     Every citizen in the USA is granted the freedom and right to vote his or her conscience without fear of intimidation or reprisal of any kind. Christians are included in this right.

Biblical Principles to Consider Relative to Voting

AMENDMENT XV of the Constitution, passed by Congress February 26, 1869, Ratified February 3, 1870. Section 1.The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

     Therefore, since Christians have the freedom to vote or not to vote, here are some biblical teaching and principles to consider:

  1. Jesus taught that there were certain obligations citizens had to government. When questioned about paying taxes, Jesus replied: “Bring Me a denarius that I may see. So they brought it. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at Him” (Mark 12:15-17). Voting is a right authorized by government (Caesar) that we may participate in. Like paying taxes, voting doesn’t violate Scripture. It is a voice for truth, right and wrong.

  2. In the midst of pagan leaders and government rulers, and idolatry of every kind, the apostle Paul commanded that Christians pray for these people; even Caesar who claimed to be “god.” Paul wrote to the young preacher, Timothy: “Therefore I exhort FIRST of all that supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for ALL MEN, for KINGS, and ALL who are in AUTHORITY, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3). We pray for KINGS for these six reasons:

  • May lead a quit life

  • May lead a peaceful life

  • May live life is godliness

  • May live life in reverence

  • It is a good thing to do

  • It is acceptable in God’s sight

           Surely if we can pray for Kings so we may reap these benefits, we can vote for him too.

  1. To the Christians in Rome, who were under the watchful eye of Caesar himself, Paul wrote to them to obey the law and rulers in authority: “Let every soul be SUBJECT to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves… For he is God’s ministers to you for good … Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor, owe no one anything…” (Romans 13:1-10). Since Government Leaders are “God’s ministers,” we can exercise our choice to vote or not to vote for them. A blessing for US citizens.

  2. Hosea, the prophet of God to the Nation of Israel, warned that there were rulers who were not approved or set up by God. They set up kings, but not by Me, they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold they made idols for themselves—that they may be cut off” (Hosea 8:4). Yes, it is possible for a ruler to get in a place of authority that is not approved by God. Sometimes these evil rulers were allowed to exist to be used as instruments of punish on God’s chosen people. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would be an example. We do all we can to get the facts about a candidate and then we vote; “Praying His will be done.” God, I believe, will take care of the rest.

  3. When an evil and wicked ruler arises it brings suffering to the people. This is a principle taught by Solomon: “When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; but when the wicked ARISE, men hide themselves” (Proverbs 28:12). In the struggle between Jeroboam and Rehoboam over which would be king, the people expressed their desire for lighter taxes and burdens. The Elders had advised the voice of the people be heard. Rehoboam accepted the advice of his peers. He told the people, “…My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges” (1 Kings 12:6-8; 13-16). The nation was divided by leaders. Voters seek to discover the direction a candidate will take the nation.

  4. While Paul, A Jewish Christian, was preaching in the midst of a rebellious crowd, he was arrested and taken to a barracks, to be scourged (cf. Acts 22:19-24). The Jews could not do this to fellow-Jews. But Paul was also a Roman citizen and protected by the law against illegal arrests and punishment. Paul appealed to his Romans citizenship: “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25). The soldiers immediately responded and set in motion the release of Paul (cf. Acts 22:26-30). Paul even appealed to Caesar for a trail and judgment (Read Acts 23:24-25:11). “Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, ‘You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you will go!” (Acts 25:12). The back story is the Lord had commanded Paul to go to Rome (Acts 23:11). Paul used the government to get to Rome. There are times when Christians may use the government, so why not vote for those in government?

  5. The apostle Paul was the champion of teaching about the government, encouraging to obey the government, and using the government for personal benefits. In his epistle to Titus, he wrote: “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to men” (Titus 3:1, 2).

  6. We read in the Old Testament where the prophet Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful ruler in the world at that time (About 600 B.C.), these words: O king, let my COUNSEL be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity” (Daniel 4:27). This is one of numerous places where God, through a spokesman, shows his awareness and interest in a world leader; even to the point of wanting him to repent and change. Later in the church age, the apostle Paul reasoned with the Roman governor Felix “about righteousness and self-control and coming judgment” (Acts 24:25). Paul didn’t separate religion from politics.

  7. John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus, was arrested and jailed by King Herod. John rebuked the Tetrarch, a civil governor under the laws of the Roman Empire, for the evils the king had done (cf. Luke 3:19). The puppet king, in an effort to gain favor with a woman, Herodias’ daughter, after she performed a dance before the king, ordered the beheading of John, because of a promise he had made. (cf. Mark 6:14-29). John didn’t observe a separation of religion and state. I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t get involved in marching on Herod’s Palace, berate him verbally, or organize a protest.

  8. In one way or another, every elected official is a leader. Leadership stems from two actions: (1) what a leaders SAYS and (2) what a leader DOES. What a leader does is more powerful than what he says. It’s the old axiom, “What you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying.” Relative to the leadership of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus warned: “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, bot will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:14). Again, this reminds us of the need to research and learn what the requirements and skills the candidate needs in order to do the job he or she is aspiring to acquire. And can he or she do it effectively and honorably?

    Challenges of Choosing a Candidate

With freedom goes responsibility. With responsibility goes the essentialness of “proving all things; and holding fast to that which is true (1 Thessalonians 5:21). You test it by the TRUTH (Proverbs 23:23; Acts 17:11). A popular practice during election cycle is persons, usually celebrities, other politician, and wealthy people endorsing candidates.

     I think there are some challenges involved in endorsing a political candidate (Which I have not). Here are some of my observations:

  1. There is the challenge of knowing for sure if the promises made by the candidate are true and keep-able within reason. Most are futuristic and based on what people want to hear.

  2. You cannot really know the heart of a candidate. Our intentions are developed and carried out by our honest hearts (Hebrews 4:12; Jeremiah 6:19). We assume it is true of others.

  3. There is the danger of being swayed by the biases and bombardments of the media, as we turn our mind over to them to be programmed. Repetition is powerful.

  4. It is a fact that no one candidate is right on every issue. We have to prayerfully listen, examine, and ask questions. Whomever we vote for will be flawed in some way. The question is, how much is acceptable?

  5. We don’t know the candidate’s commitment, knowledge, and practice of biblical principles in his or her life. We can listen and ask questions. The office he/she aspires to doesn’t require this but as a Christian I am interested. It relates to ethics and values.

  6. The Gospel and future of the church and Christianity must not be tied to the success or failure of a political party. “The gates of hades will not prevail against the church Jesus built” (Matthew 16:13-20). The church is built on the bedrock of the Divinity of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-14). Government hasn’t been assigned the task of evangelizing the nations (Mark 16:15, 16). It interferes with the church’s mission.

  7. Governmental elections are not about the choosing of an “American Pastor” or “Religious Prime Minister.” The Pope is in Rome. Elections are about the Constitution of the United States and casting our votes for candidates we believe will uphold the Constitution.

     Our trust is in God and His word; not rhetoric or promises of men: “… He is Lord of lords and King of kings…” (Revelation 17:14). God is the one Who “determines the bounds and dwelling places of men…” (Acts 17:26).

Qualities I am Concerned About in a Candidate

Since I have the freedom to vote for anyone I choose, as well as listen to their promises and examine their claims, and above all under command from God to have a biblical attitude toward rulers, I must be honest with my personal concerns, which I am not binding on you. Here are some I choose to share with you:

  1. I am concerned about the CHARACTER and INTEGRITY of a political candidate. If a candidate lies over and over to people, is not honest or a person of integrity, this is a character issues which God disapproves (Revelation 21:8). “By the fruits” of candidates you will know them. Solomon addressed this point: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan … The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it … If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked” (Proverbs 29:2, 4, 12). When a candidate says, “Trust me,” he or she is asking you to put your personal character and integrity on the line. This is serious.

  2. I am concerned about the sanctity, gift, and blessing of human life; life that is given, sustained, and taken by the Lord. Life that contributes to each person being “created in the image of God.” Life that has the right to live inside and outside of the womb of a mother. “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). The government will punish a person for killing a baby outside the womb but will sanction killing the baby inside the womb. Murder is murder!

  3. I am concerned about what God says about gender differences and roles of males and females. He made them “male and female” (Genesis 1:26-28). He made them as a male and female couple with the ability together to have children. God ordained marriage between a male and female: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be JOINED to HIS WIFE, and THEY shall become ONE flesh. Concerning gender copulating, God said, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).

  4. I am concerned about freedom of religious speech. As Christians we are to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We are to speak (preach) the Gospel. Sadly in our day it is being discouraged more and more and forbidden in certain places in our country. The forbidding of prayer in public schools, removal of the Ten Commandments and other functions. In the first century Christians were ordered to stop preaching Christ. “So they called them and charged them NOT to SPEAK and TEACH at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we CANNOT but SPEAK of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).

  5. I am concerned about the divisiveness, among all ethnic, religious, and political groups, that the government is creating today. This is surrendering racial equality. We are quickly losing the racial unity we gained in the past 30 to 40 years. God’s unity plan is for all nations to be invited in the church, which is His house (Isaiah 2:2-4; 1 Timothy 3:15). The Gospel is for all (Romans 1:14-16). All distinctions are eliminated when one is baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:25-28). Here is what Paul told the philosophers on Mars Hill: “And He made from ONE man EVERY nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).

  6. While our Constitution authorizes taxation and spending for certain things, I am concerned with the absorbent amount we are paying and the way our government is spending and plunging us deeper and deeper into debt, and it continues to grow. Yes, we are to pay Caesar taxes but when does it get out of hand? Nehemiah addressed this issue with the following principles: “We have borrowed money from the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards … we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards” (Nehemiah 5:4, 5). Thank God WE can do something—WE CAN VOTE!

  7. I am concerned about the security of our nation, states, neighborhoods, and homes. There is an invasive crime wave sweeping away our security like a tornado. These crimes are sins committed by people who could care less about God and His will for the lives of all mankind. Again Nehemiah: “And they plotted to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night” (Nehemiah 4:8, 9). Sounds like 911 and what’s going on today. Like the people in Nehemiah day prayed, we can too (1 Timothy 2:1-5). We can also encourage our government, which we support with our taxes, to “set a guard as a protection.”

  8. I am concerned about the incentives given by the Welfare System to people not to work. There is a valid place for people to be out of work and can’t find a job to be helped; a valid place to help those who are homeless and in need of medical health. The hungry need food. But there is a strata in the welfare system who abuse and misuse the system, which amounts to fraud. Women continually having babies to receive an increase in welfare payments and benefits. Able and healthy bodied men who can, but won’t work. Their most strenuous exercise each weak is reaching out for the welfare check which tax payers are funding. The apostle Paul confronted this same kind of problem with these words: “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this, if ANYONE will NOT WORK eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not WORKING AT ALL, but are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, 11).

I have additional concerns, like most Christians, but these eight head my list. As Christians whether we prefer one candidate over another or one wins and another loses, we continue to trust God and His promises. Our home is in heaven, not on earth (John 14:1-6). Let’s vote with prayer, asking for wisdom and guidance from God (James 1:1-7).

Please note this article will be expanded into booklet form with more information by April 10th. I encourage you to order copies to share with others. Edmund Burke said, “In order for evil to triumph, all it takes is for good men to do nothing.”

 

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