Ten reasons why every Christian should vote

I cannot vote in the American elections because I am not American. But if I could, I would. I will not offer a reason to vote for any specific candidate in this post, but  felt I needed to urge those who can vote to do so!  This was prompted by hearing of some who think Christians shouldn’t vote at all  and even worse a strange movement exists which has somehow persuaded 1.4 million to pledge to spoil ballot papers by adding Jesus as a write-in candidate.  So why should we all vote (and by vote I mean vote for a candidate that is actually standing for the election!)

1. Because we are to obey the authorities who have arranged that we should vote.

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1)

2. Because at election time, in a democracy WE are the governing authorities.  We have a duty to exercise our responsibilities not shirk them.  The election will continue without us, all that we achieve if none of us vote is to ensure that officials who are elected will take no notice of biblical values.

3. Because if you do not vote you have no right to complain about who is elected.

4. Because many thousands have died for you to have the right to vote at all

5. Because if World War 2 (which is in living memory) had a different outcome it is doubtful democracy itself would have survived anywhere in the world.

6. Because many in the world still live under totalitarian regimes where voting is a mockery if allowed at all

7. Because voting is better than the two other ways we could choose our leaders: brute force or the accident of hereditary

8. Because through our voting we are playing our part in a process which will ultimately reveal God’s choice for the ruler of our nation.

9. Because, contrary to the “other-worldly” perspective of some, what happens in the here and now does matter to God.

10. Because we will be accountable before God as a nation for the choices our democratically elected officials make since we elected them, whether we voted or not.

Content Director’s Note: This post is a part of our Election Month at Patheos feature. Patheos was designed to present the world’s most compelling conversations on life’s most important questions. Please join the Facebook following for our new News and Politics Channel — and check back throughout the month for more commentary on Election 2012. Please use hashtag #PatheosElection on Twitter.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • KK

    Nine of those reasons have absolutely nothing to do with being a Christian. Your first “reason” is the only one pertaining to Christianity, but your reasoning is lacking. We are not irresistibly compelled to vote. It may be a civic duty, but it is not a law. We are compelled to pay taxes, for example, because it is a law. I’d prefer to be more closely aligned with my Christianity than my nationality.

  • Rick Middleton

    If there is an element of Christendom that is sitting this one out, I think it is a very tiny percentage. Most white evangelicals are either going to hold their nose and vote Romney, or enthusiastically vote for him, and most black evangelicals will vote Obama, as will I. I actually think more people will skip voting due to hurricane clean-up than out of a feeling of “I can’t vote for these guys.” Both conservatives and liberals, voting in vastly different ways, feel there is too much at stake to not vote.

    • Rob

      I’m white, evangelical, and voting for Obama :)

  • http://ruminationsonlife.wordpress.com/ Derek

    First, let me say that I enjoy your posts and find them to be good and I am just making observations built from months of arguing with my friends. I am not trying to be contentious and in fact I have enjoyed voting and our form of government in the US my entire life, but this election to me is different and I feel we delude ourselves a lot about how great our democracies are. So here we go:

    1. I agree with KK we are not irresistibly compelled to vote. In fact there is no law compelling us to vote either.
    2. No, we think we are the governing authorities, but we aren’t. “For there is no authority except from God,”(Rom 13:1) is in direct contradiction with “government derives it’s power from the consent of the governed” (Constitution of United States).
    3. Yes, I can still complain, because I have made my choice clear to everyone and in this nation we have freedom of speech for the time being.
    4. The many thousands that have died, well I have served 20 yrs in the military with 3 deployments to combat zones and figure that counts for me to make my own choice on voting or not also.
    5. True, but the outcome of that was decided by soldiers and not voting. Can’t vote how to prosecute a war.
    6. All the apostles lived under a totalitarian regime and it seems their faith flourished better than ours does. In fact, Romans 13 was written with a dictator in mind and no voting in site.
    7. Seems like it, but brute force not elections got America it’s current form of government and Israel had both good and bad kings descended from David. In America, we are disengenous about who appoints leaders, we think it is all about us, at least divine right was honest about it.
    8. True, but God’s will will not be denied anyways. This is not saying we shouldn’t vote, but saying that I think God makes the big picture happen that will lead to Christ’s second coming and sometimes I think that might not be as comfortable as we think it should be and is why we get bad leaders like we have now. I can’t see God’s big picture, but I can try my best to cast a vote that will honor him. I don’t see that being a choice this election. So to paraphrase, “So, whether you vote or don’t vote, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
    9. Agree, but just as many believe that voting for Pres. Obama is implicitly supporting abortion, I believe that voting for Romney is implicitly supporting mormonism.
    10. see 9
    I will not be voting for a presidential candidate for the first time since I began voting in 1990. Obama’s stance on abortion is why I did not vote for him in 2008 and why I will not vote for him now. Romney’s mormonism is why I will not vote for him. Don’t like the 3rd party candidates either. And before I get deluged with people trying to argue the usual arguments, I have heard them all and conservatives feel I have betrayed them and that not voting is a vote for Obama…blah blah blah. None of it has convinced me. I live in a solid red state that will send it’s electoral votes to Romney anyways, so my vote truly does not make a difference.
    I have served in the military so I know what it means to serve. I have served Pres. Obama while he was in office and if Romney is elected I will have no problem serving him if it comes to that (although I am retired from the military now) but there is a vast difference in serving and actively throwing your support behind a mormon candidate by voting for him. I just can’t do that due to the effect it will have on Mormon evangelism. the approx. 52,000 LDS missionaries (2010 statistics) will have a new talking point and draw with the a mormon president and people like Glenn Beck, a mormon talk show host #3 in our nation, will promote his brand of Civil religion. In 1989, each Mormon missionary converted approx. 8 people in a year down to approx. 4 per year in 2010. Do the math and figure out how many people that was in 2010 and how many more will be led astray if the number goes back up.

  • Frank

    Primary reason to vote if you are a Christian:

    Over 21,000 innocent unborn children are killed each week mostly for convenience. Do we need another reason to vote other than to stop the wanton killing?

  • Kristen inDallas

    The thing that frustrates me most about these types of arguments is the lack of understanding that not voting IS voting… for neither. Look into the history of democracy (in Roman times) and early parliamentary proceedings. There always have to be at least 3 choices: yes, no and ABSTAIN. Think of any seemingly binary question that is based on a false premise (ie. If you don’t shoot your sister, then you’ll end up shoting your mother, so will you shoot your sister?) Both the yes and no answers are wrong, because the question itself is wrong (even by saying no, you are consenting to the idea that it would result in you shooting your mother, which is hopefully not true.)

    This is why every real democratic process must contain the option of abstention. The percentage of people who do not vote IS counted. Just look to “democratic” countries whose processes have come under scrutiny by the world community when only a small percentage of their population votes, proving the election itself to be a sham. In some cases not consenting to the validity of the question becomes more important than the answer to the question.

    I can understand disagreement about whether or not this is one of those times, but it is simply not true to assume that by not voting I am disregarding the sacrifices of those who helped acheive my right to vote. No matter what I do with my vote, those sacrifices mean that I will be counted as one more in the total of voter eligible population, and for that I am grateful. But lets be very clear, they did not fight for a superficial appearance of democracy in which we’re all cowed into voting for one of two guys who are growing increasingly similar. They fought for freedom, including the freedom to abstain, and the closer we slip into having an invalid process, the more duty I feel I have, as a free citizen, to abstain myself from it.

    • Kate

      Kristen, I agree. Not voting IS voting. And, more importantly, we vote with our lives every day. One of the best books I’ve read recently is “Electing Not to Vote: Christian Reflections on Reasons for Not Voting” and it’s available on Amazon.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    I think that a Christian should vote, but deciding for whom to vote is a problem. I am sometimes reminded of the comment sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill that “democracy is a terrible form of government. Unfortunately the others are much worse!”
    The problem is that in a democracy you have to form broad coalitions, which means that Christians are often working with people in the political arena who have “mixed motives,” to put it delicately. Most white Evangelicals will vote for Romney, but Mr. Romney has not been entirely candid about what he actually believes or will do, and behind him stands the Republican Party, which is committed to a free market economic policy and military intervention abroad, neither one of which accords well with biblical values. But then again, government is an institution that was meant to function in a fallen world, and the free market system works precisely because it appeals to fallen man’s sense of self-interest. So, how does one vote his conscience in a situation like this?
    I should mention that there other candidates in the election, and for a very brief rundown on them one could see my own blogpost “The Other Candidates” at The Berean Observer.

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  • Legalize Freedom

    To # 10: Where does the Bible state that God will hold an individual personally responsible for the actions of others? If my president decides to kill millions, is it somehow my fault?

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