5 Rules for Christian Voters On Election Day

5 Rules for Christian Voters On Election Day November 2, 2018
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In anticipation of Election Day 2018, I am blowing the dust off an old article I wrote for Summit Ministries in the spring of 2016. Funnily enough, the “five rules” I came up with then still seem pretty applicable today (except at the time I called them “five principles,” but post-Jordan Peterson any article of this sort can’t not  be called “X Rules For…”) So without further ado, here are my five rules for voting.

1. Know where your identity lies.

If you are a Christian, your identity does not ultimately lie in your political affiliation, or even your citizenship. It ultimately lies in Christ. If we ground our identity in our political party, we become vulnerable to demagogues and mass manipulators who tickle our ears with what we want to hear. Our faith must inform our political engagement, not the other way around.

2. Do not be afraid to take a stand.

Some Christians mistakenly believe that there should be a sharp divide between the realm of the church and the realm of the state. If a pastor speaks his mind from the pulpit about a pressing moral issue that happens to have political ramifications, they believe he has crossed a line that should not be crossed. But this conflates taking a stand on a question of right versus wrong with making an official political endorsement. A pastor should certainly not turn his sermons into campaign advertisements, but he should not quarantine uncomfortable moral truths in a file labeled “politics” either.

3. Maintain clear priorities.

We are constantly told by other people where our voting priorities should lie. For Christians, some priorities will always be unpopular with the surrounding culture, particularly those that touch on life, death, or sexuality. Sadly, what should be non-negotiable for a Christian may become less so for the politicians in Washington who are supposed to represent our interests. As Christians, we should maintain an open mind on matters of comparatively minor importance, but on the essentials, we cannot allow our standards to be set for us. We must come to the polls with our own priorities firmly set in our minds, even if that leads us to leave parts of the ballot as blank as they were when we walked in.

4. Do not be swayed by peer pressure.

Peer pressure is powerful, and it is not limited to just one side of the political spectrum. Some will argue forcefully that we always owe our vote to whichever candidate carries our party banner. But at the end of the day, the way you cast your vote lies solely between you and God. Examine the candidates for yourself. Ask yourself whether they have integrity, whether they are trustworthy, whether they stand for what you stand for. Then make your choice.

5. Do not pin your soul to any man’s back.

Inevitably, there are leaders we look up to and trust now who will fail us badly in the future. It has happened in the past, and human nature shows no signs of changing. This is not to say that we must suddenly regard all those we admire with a jaded, cynical eye. But we would do well to heed the words of Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons: “I’ll not pin my soul to any man’s back, no, not the best man I know.” We must hold our political loyalties with an open hand, prepared to release them if and when it emerges that they were misplaced.

If there was ever a time for Christians to be passionately and prayerfully engaged in the political process, the time is now. A passive, isolationist church is the last thing our country needs. Our country needs Christian voters who are discerning and engaged, voters who understand both where they stand and how to make their voice heard. It also needs voters who understand that in the end, there can be only one leader and one savior of the world. If we look for that savior in Washington, we are looking in the wrong direction.


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  • Guestie

    Well said. I’ve never seen a better argument from an evangelical Christian for voting for Democrats this year.

  • Kerry Wells

    I experienced Jesus as the consciousness of the Sun

    I wrote an ebook about my experiences that
    is free to download in pdf form, and the ebook is also available on
    blogger, links are below

    link to my free ebook, “Messages from the Sun God, Jesus Christ”


    link to the ebook on blogger: https://messagesftsg.blogspot.com/

    blog http://www.jesuschristsungod.com

  • 808

    I’ll be voting blue to put the most non-Christian President ever in check.

  • MurphsLaw

    Holier than thou……trump is not. Never was never will be.
    But hold on, Justice Kavanaugh is a Christian…. a devout Catholic……. And look what BLUE despicably tried to do to that decent Christian Man. I don’t think “non-Christian” is really that big a deal for you as your comment suggests.
    I could be wrong…..but I don’t think so.

  • @EstherOReilly

    Oh, how clumsy of me. I meant to say, “Don’t feel like you have to vote Republican, but whatever you do, don’t vote for the goddamned party of death.”

  • Guestie

    “Do not be swayed by peer pressure”

  • Robert Conner

    LOL. ROFL. Evangelicals have gone Total Kanye. They’re huffing paint thinner, mainlining their party drugs. Here’s this (it’s real), from outside St. Louis:

  • Gabriel

    I think the number 1 rule for Christians is to vote pro-life. Right now, in our country, thousands of innocent humans are killed every day because of pro-abortion politicians who allow it to continue. Some have their brains sucked out and their skulls crushed, others are literally torn apart limb for limb, others die through other methods, but every “successful” abortion kills a person. Pro-abortion politicians know this, and even though they may be charming and have a popular opinion of health care or something, these people are sickos inside, and we cannot let them get into power. Pray, fast, talk to friends and family. Do everything you can to may sure Americans vote pro-life tomorrow. Because if Christians don’t know the facts and aren’t reminded that 3,000+ brutal deaths in our country every day is more a more important issue than Medicare for all or immigration or whatever, we will not see the change we need to enact life-saving laws in our country.

  • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

    So…vote Libertarian? Or, just don’t vote for a party?

    Most of the candidates on MY ballot represent one of the two parties of death. Choosing between them is just a choice about who I want to die, and by what means.

  • WTF? Didn’t Obummer leave office almost 2 years ago?

  • Ditto that, Murph.

  • Alexandra

    Yes. Don’t vote for the party that supports the death penalty.

  • CruisingTroll

    And if Mike Pence were the President instead, would you still be “voting blue”? I’d hazard a guess that your answer would be “yes, I’m voting blue to prevent America from becoming a Christian theocracy.”

    You’re voting blue, don’t blow smoke about why.

  • Jack McMillan

    Evangelical Christians voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. So, they’ve already stated where they stand and what their identity is. Why would you assume

  • CruisingTroll

    yeah, but who put that up?

  • Joris Heise

    For my Fellow Citizens: The Caravan is Christ

    Some Christians more emotive than I am
    Have preached the End is near, the coming End,
    When Jesus will appear and—rapture-slam—
    The righteous right to Dante’s heaven send.

    I see the Lord appearing, though, with skin
    Not mine of color, in south Mexico—
    The trudging “least” of women, kids and kin
    Who seek towards freedom you enjoy. Their slow

    Travail is Way of Cross where soldiers wait
    To nail those bastards in their helplessness
    To wall them from their chance for life, their date
    With hope, their dream to be the more—not less.

    So Jesus trudges on—His wounds remain—
    To be disdained, to feel American disdain.

  • CruisingTroll

    Progressive Christians voted overwhelmingly for Hillary in 2016. So, they’ve already stated they stand for death and depravity, but it is still worth it to remind them that Christ stands for something else.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    Thanks for being a great example of what the author is calling out and warning against. The fact you blame BLUE for what Kav was accused of says it all. Blame blue all you want (it’s okay, it’s what you’re told to do), but think about this: why did Gorsuch’s nomination go without a hitch? He went to the same schools as Kav, yet no accusers. This wasn’t a witch hunt as you suggest, but people trying to stop a very unfit man, and very un-catholic man from serving on the nation’s highest court. Shame!

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    If Jesus came back tomorrow, he’d be run out of town by the rightwing, and labeled as a hippie socialist middle easterner. My my has modern christianity fallen.

  • Ellen Elmore

    “We must come to the polls with our own priorities firmly set in our minds, even if that leads us to leave parts of the ballot as blank as they were when we walked in.” I didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary in 2016 and will not vote for Trump or ? in 2020.

  • Jan-Peter Schuring

    Maybe He’s coming on the caravan?

  • Jan-Peter Schuring

    If they who profess can only see the glorious call of the Gospel. My heart bleeds for them but it is filled abundantly for Him who saved my wretched life.

  • Jan-Peter Schuring

    We in good faith cannot vote for either as one is death as you say and the other is hate.

  • NancyM

    Just kill babies, not criminals.

  • NancyM

    People left Gorsuch alone because he was replacing the most conservative justice on the court. Kavanaugh would shift the power. It was all about power and Roe v Wade.
    OK, maybe not ‘blue’, but the Democrats on the judicial committee were despicable.

  • NancyM

    Thank you for your passionate plea to save lives. I think we have forgotten what abortion really is and I appreciate you telling the truth about it. Vote pro-life!

  • Illithid

    I guess that when you say death you refer to abortion, but let’s leave that aside for a moment. What’s the “depravity” part mean? Do you refer to the fact that those scary gay people can get married now, or what?

  • Guestie

    An unknown middle easterner? Someone said they are there.

  • Guestie

    So, situational despicability.

  • Rick Brant

    You sound like one of those people who foolishly say: “If Jesus were to come back today, he’d be a Democrat.”. LOL!

  • Alexandra

    No one is killing babies. Babies are human beings who have recently been born.

  • Gabriel

    Thank you! God bless you!

  • NancyM

    Science denier.

  • Alexandra


  • andrewlohr

    Enabling her ‘husband’ rather than making him keep the Pence Rule? If she’s not against rape when he does it she’s not against rape? / Easy enough for a lot of us to be routinely polite to polite gays, but when they try to bully a baker for not making them a special cake when they could easily go down the street to the next baker, that’s nasty.

  • Thank you. I was put up for adoption instead of being aborted and my biological parents only request was that I be raised Lutheran. #ProLife #ProChristian

  • The most non-Christian President would probably be Thomas Jefferson, ever hear of the Jefferson Bible and it’s denial of the super-natural?

  • CruisingTroll

    What’s the “depravity” part mean?

    Hypersexualization of the culture. Destruction of the nuclear family both in culture and in law. Normalization of homosexuality. Glorification of drug use. Slut walks. Furry conventions. Transgender madness. Celebration of abortion.

    Abdication of personal responsibility.

    btw, gays aren’t scary. They’re pathetic, as are lesbians, for different reasons.

  • CruisingTroll

    If Jesus came back tomorrow? You mean if the Patriarchs’ Patriarch, the King of Kings, if He came back tomorrow? The Son of God? Master? The Alpha and Omega? I wouldn’t hazard to guess how different people will react. Unlike you, I’ll leave future judgement of others to God.

  • NorrinRadd

    Since the U.S. is not a theocracy or theonomy, and the extent to which the Old Covenant laws apply even to New Covenant believers, how much should we really use the “rules” we Christians live by as the basis for laws we impose on everyone else?

    I’m Pro-Life and never knowingly vote for a candidate that does not at least claim to be Pro-Life. But that is not based on anything I find clearly delineated in Scripture. OTOH, I do find certain sexual practices clearly out of bounds in light of Scripture, but I don’t believe that should form the basis of legislation.

  • Jan-Peter Schuring

    Yes and He will be crucified again this time by the Evangelical Pharisees

  • Roger Morris

    Christians can’t seem to function as normal, autonomous adults without needing someone to tell them how to think and what to do. Such is the infantilizing and controlling tendencies of Christianity.

  • Nimblewill

    When my choice is an avowed witch or a perceived demon, I’m voting for the demon every time.

  • Illithid

    Interesting. A vote for Hillary was a vote for depravity because of her husband’s deeds and how she dealt with them, but a vote for Trump isn’t, because…? And the cake issue, even if you disagree with the legal action taken against the cakeshop, isn’t depravity. You could argue that a gay relationship or marriage is, and I’d disagree but understand. But a lawsuit or prosecution for discrimination, even if it were malicious and unfounded (not saying it was), doesn’t fit the definition.

  • Illithid

    Thanks for replying. Some of that is what I expected you meant. I’d say the only “transgender madness” going on is the tizzy about which bathrooms people use. And I’m in favor of the normalization of homosexuality. In my experience, the thing that non-heterosexuals are hated for is the fact that we exist, and it is based on fear. This is lessened by exposure.

    I’m unaware of any glorification of drug use or celebration of abortion by either Clinton herself or the Democratic party in general. Not sure what a “slut walk” is, or what it has to do with politics. And I’m really curious how “furry conventions” made the list. In your ideal world, would a gathering of people dressed in costumes be illegal?

    ETA: And our current President is the very poster boy for abdication of personal responsibility.

  • NancyM

    His policies are non-Christian?

  • C_Alan_Nault

    According to the Bible, there is no need for Christians to bother voting. The Bible says all rulers, governments etc get their power from god. This means whoever is in power is the person god wants there.

    1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
    14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

    Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
    2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

  • Gabriel

    That’s wonderful. I’m thankful to your parents that they chose life!

  • M. Reid

    I applaud your commitment to ending abortion, which is indeed a tragedy for all concerned. I presume then that you passionately advocate for those policies that reduce abortion? Like replacing abstinence -only programs with comprehensive sex education? Easy access to inexpensive birth control, including RU-480? Universal health care? Equal pay for women, and equal access to education and economic opportunity? Stronger legal protections against abusive husbands, partners, and fathers?

  • Wesley

    the only thing that is pro-life about the GOP is the platform as it was a Republican controlled Congress and Senate who passed a spending bill that gave Planned Parenthood a 10% funding increase after saying for years that they wanted to defund the origination. it was what has be dubbed the most pro-life president we ever had who signed the bill when he could have vetoed it. besides the author put that under rule three when it deals keeping clear priorities. the author is arguing that we need to keep our hope and identity in Christ not in the outcome of an election. i followed his rules and it was not until i got to the fourth or fifth page of a six page ballot to vote for the first Republican and most of those were by default.

  • Wesley

    it was ironic that Kavanaugh was attacked with due process rights that he would not give to ordinary Americans via Patriot Act and torture of enemy combatants.

  • Wesley

    i believe the democrats wanted Kavanaugh on the high court without have to vote in favor of him. i think that they counted the cost of losing a few vulnerable seats to get the Republicans to look away from his anti-liberty stances to get them to rally behind him.

  • Gabriel

    Although the Republicans have managed to do some things like appointing pro life judges and and banning partial birth abortion, you are right that as a party Republicans have been disappointing in many areas. That’s why I never used the word Republican or Democrat in my comment, I simply asked people to vote pro-life.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    Compare what the parties currently stand for and then eat crow.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    So the woman was lying? Kav’s demeanor was okay with you to serve on our nation’s highest court? His obvious bias is okay with you?

    Now flip the script and Kav was a liberal appointee. Feel the same way about the Right trying to hold him accountable for the accusations? What’s despicable is the partisanship over morality and the rule of law. It’s sickening.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    I was hungry and you fed me. I needed clothes and you clothed me…

  • Rick Brant

    If Jesus came back today, he would not be a Democrat.

    He would not be a Republican.

    He would be what he has always been: a Monarchist, whose Kingdom is not of this world.

    I’ll take the fried chicken. You can have the crow.

  • NancyM

    I don’t know what her story is, but I didn’t believe what I saw and the fake ‘vocal fry’. I am very comfortable with Kavanaugh. His demeanor is exactly what I would expect from someone whose career/life was being destroyed intentionally for political purposes.

  • Rita H. Bergerson

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  • Barros Serrano

    When that is your only criterion, you will continue to elect corporate-shill corrupt Republicans who will trick you out of your vote by talking about abortion, God and gays, but in reality spend most of their time engineering tax cuts for billionaires and bombing brown people.

    Wake up. Jesus would not vote for ANY Republican and few Democrats, though clearly his inclinations are far more on the Democratic side.

  • Barros Serrano

    Care to hear about the truth regarding the results of the GOP’s corporate-serving policies? Their war-mongeirng? Their ceaseless efforts to deny healthcare and other social services to millions?

    And you think you are voting FOR life by voting Republican? Au contraire…

  • Barros Serrano

    Sickos? Republicans who vote for tax cuts for billionaires paid for by services to the poor and working people… they aren’t sick?

    A Republican who invades the wrong country causing millions of deaths and creating bottomless chaos… that wasn’t sick?

    A greasy-pompadoured President who enables death squads to torture and kill hundreds of thousands in poor countries, in support of corporate interests, he wasn’t sick?

    Do everything you can to stop Donald Trumpolini, his dictatorial designs on this country, the evil plans of the GOP to give EVERYTHING to corporate power, and the Republicans who encourage white-right terrorists to run amok, misogynists to keep women in chains, and the destruction of the planet for profit.

    Wake up.

  • TinnyWhistler

    A vote for MELANIA would be a vote for depravity because of her husband’s deeds. Clearly.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    Thanks. Your reply tells me everything I need to know about your perception of facts and reality -and lack thereof. Also, LOL @ his life being destroyed for political purposes! Maybe he shouldn’t have tried sexually assaulting women back in the day, just a thought. I’d recommend dropping the Fox News and rightwing outlets, they’re rotting your brain.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    True, he wouldn’t be D or R, but what he teaches is far more in line with what today’s Democrats stand for as well, which was my point all along.

  • Rick Brant

    I can’t imagine that Jesus would support the killing of millions of innocents in the womb, or the promotion of homosexual sin as acceptable, so no, he is no more in line with Ds than he is with Rs.

  • Rick Brant

    “…and he will come again to judge the living and the dead; his kingdom shall have no end.”
    (Nicene Creed)

    No, he won’t be crucified again.

  • NancyM

    People saw with their own eyes what was happening without commentary from any network. But you can go ahead and dismiss me.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    What the majority of the nation saw was how far Republicans will go to obtain power, no matter the trampled morals or rule of law. YOUR rightwing media blamed everything on the Democrats, like usual. In fact, it was the Dems’ fault you stubbed your toe last time.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    When did Jesus every say anything about homosexuality? Also, there are multiple instances of preparing abortion-inducing concoctions in the bible.

  • NancyM

    Wow, talk about alternate reality. While the Democratic protesters acted possessed and chased out his children (earlier), the Democratic Senators were picking apart his high school yearbook and pursuing the story that had no corroboration anywhere, what exactly were the Republicans doing?

  • NancyM

    I’m confused. How so? Other than the obvious pro-choice, pro-life difference? And on the issue of life, I’m not sure how you can say that. Democrats are for aborting the baby up until birth.

  • Rick Brant

    Jesus never said anything about endorsing homosexuality. He only mentioned heterosexual marriage (Matthew 19:5-6) or celibacy Matthew 19:10-12) as acceptable.

    As to abortions, perhaps you are referring to the test for an adulterous wife in Numbers 5. 11-31. Although often pointed to by atheists/abortionists/etc., as evidence for an approved abortion in the Bible, this seems ill grounded. The passage (in Hebrew), actually speaks of the woman’s thigh rotting and her stomach swelling and falling. The early rabbis confirm this interpretation.

    Further, we see in Exodus 21:22-3 that a person striking a pregnant women and causing a fatal miscarriage (in effect, an abortion), is to be punished with death, so it is unlikely that the Numbers passage would be approving of an abortion.

    You wrote: “There are multiple instances of preparing abortion-inducing concoctions in the Bible”. Kindly list those “multiple instances” for me.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    If you truly believe Dems support “aborting the baby up until birth” then our conversation ends here, because there is NOT ONE DEMOCRAT who supports this. Not one. That is a complete rightwing fabrication spread to fool rubes like yourself.

    Also, the fact you think pro life/pro choice is the only thing that makes the parties different is another example of complete ignorance. I find it funny how those on the right tout the Pro-Life mantra, yet will do anything to protect guns no matter what, when they kill many more annually than abortions. Plus, the right seems to only care about life when it’s in the womb, and once the baby is born, nobody cares anymore, especially if it’s a non-white baby. I hope you find it in you to do some research and stop peddling straight up lies.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    LOL possessed protesters. That made me snort laugh, thanks!!

    There is no convincing you otherwise, so I’ll just laugh you out the door. May your god have mercy on your gullible ignorant soul.

  • NancyM

    I was wrong to say that Democrats support abortion up until birth. Reading about partial birth, it appears it’s more often in the second trimester. Also, my question was what values of the Democrats line up with biblical values? I posted some stats below that show there are many many more abortions than gun deaths.
    I come from Pennsylvania where our Governor is very pro-choice.
    “Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wolf vetoed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy, with exceptions for emergencies, sent to his desk by the Republican-majority legislature. The legislation also would have protected unborn babies from violent, second-trimester abortion techniques such as dismemberment.”
    “In 2014, 652,639 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC”
    CDC, 2015: “All firearm deaths:
    Number of deaths: 36,252”

  • NancyM

    I heard reports from people that were inside the room about the crazy behavior.

  • NancyM

    Fine, I withdraw the use of the word possessed.

  • Fartrell Cluggins

    “what values of the Democrats line up with biblical values?”

    Loving thy neighbor, helping and welcoming the sick, needy, poor, and immigrants. Not judging others. Being good stewards of the land.

    I should now ask “what values of the Republicans line up with biblical values?”