Where I live, election day is tomorrow. Since the majority of our county is of one party affiliation, and those running for local office often run unopposed in the general election, the primaries are vital.
Every two years, this election cycle runs its course.
Placards appear in yard and beside the roads.
Bumper stickers show up by the hundreds.
Cheap T-shirts arrive and are distributed.
Here are just some of the things that come to mind as I see the proliferation of signs at every four way stop in my county (Clay County, Florida.) BTW - these are not endorsements. These are just random thoughts. . .
- There is a woman named "Glo" running for office. (I love this name. I don't know the person, but the name is great.)
- There is a woman named "Thuy" (pronounced Twee) running for office. (Love this name, too. Again, don't know the woman, but I'll remember her name.)
- One guy running is seeking an office previously held by his mother. He's using her signs with his name printed over hers. Smart move - her signs have been in the county for years.
- Some people put photos of their faces on their signs.
- Others do not, and that may be wise. I don't think I'd put my face on a sign. I'd hate to scare drivers.
- Some people should consider putting generic faces on their signs, like the photos that come in the frames you buy at the store.
- There's a man running for office named Anthony Penoso. I'm not endorsing him. I don't know him, but every time I see the sign with his name on it, I think of NCIS and the character Anthony DiNozzo. Makes me want to slap someone on the back of the head a'la Mark Harmon when I see the sign.
- What happens to all the old T-shirts for candidates who do not win? Are they sent to some third world country like the Denver Bronco Super Bowl Champion shirts?
- Does a candidate waving on a street corner really increase votes for that candidate? If so, the guy that spins the signs in Fleming Island should win EVERYTHING!
- Some people run for an office every election cycle . . . and never win. They should at least get a sympathy vote every now and then.
Should a Christian Vote?
It seems obvious, but just to be clear, the answer is "yes." In fact, I'd say that even non-believers should vote. The emphasis is upon American rights and civics. In a republic such as ours where citizens have been given the privilege to participate in the election process and vote, I deem it wrong to forsake that right.
Amazingly, according to statistics that come out following every election year, the percentage of those who choose not to participate is high. When there is no national election (i.e. Presidential election) happening, the between-term voter turnout is terrible.
So, yes, a Christian should vote. A non-Christian should vote. Simply put - Americans should vote.
Because it is a privilege and right that has been given to us, and paid for dearly by those who have gone before. There are many in our world today who have never had the opportunity to freely participate in the process of selecting leaders. It's a wonderful product of this "American experiment."
We should not forsake that right.
Does God Expect a Christian to Vote?
Besides the reasons given above, here are some insights from the website "GotQuestions.org" that are sound:
It is our contention that it is the duty and responsibility of every Christian to vote and to vote for leaders who promote Christian principles. God is most certainly in control, but that does not mean we should do nothing to further His will. We are commanded to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4). In terms of politics and leadership, there is evidence in Scripture that God has been displeased with our choices of leadership at times (Hosea 8:4). The evidence of sin’s grip on this world is everywhere. Much of the suffering on earth is because of godless leadership (Proverbs 28:12). Scripture gives Christians instructions to obey legitimate authority unless it contradicts the Lord’s commands (Acts 5:27-29;Romans 13:1-7). As born-again believers, we ought to strive to choose leaders who will be themselves led by our Creator (1 Samuel 12:13-25). Candidates or proposals that violate the Bible’s commands for life, family, marriage, or faith should never be supported (Proverbs 14:34). Christians should vote as led through prayer and study of both God’s Word and the realities of the choices on the ballot.
Christians in many countries in this world are oppressed and persecuted. They suffer under governments they are powerless to change and governments that hate their faith and silence their voices. These believers preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at risk of their own lives. In the U.S.A., Christians have been blessed with the right to speak about and choose their leaders without fearing for themselves or their families. In the U.S.A., in recent elections, about 2 of every 5 of self-professed Christians took that right for granted and did not vote. About 1 in 5 self-professed, eligible Christians are not even registered to vote.
In our day and age, there are many who want to drive the name and message of Christ completely out of the public arena. Voting is an opportunity to promote, protect, and preserve godly government. Passing up that opportunity means letting those who would denigrate the name of Christ have their way in our lives. The leaders we elect—or do nothing to remove—have great influence on our freedoms. They can choose to protect our right to worship and spread the gospel, or they can restrict those rights. They can lead our nation toward righteousness or toward moral disaster. As Christians, we should stand up and follow our command to fulfill our civic duties (Matthew 22:21).
In 2012, Dr. Barrett Duke of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who has spoken at our church this past year, penned an article reminding believers of the importance of voting. Here is a portion of that article:
Will Rogers once said, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.” How right he was. We all complain about government. Often for good reason. Government tends to restrict us, tax us, penalize us, and generally often makes a nuisance of itself. At times, governments have become so burdensome, overbearing, and intrusive that men have risen up against them, overthrown them, and established new ones.
That, in fact, is our nation’s story. Our founders and many of our nation’s church leaders argued that the King of England had lost his right to govern them because he was abusing his power. This was a crucial issue to our forefathers. They accepted the teaching of the Apostle Paul that government is a “minister of God…for good.” Its purpose is to punish evil and to reward good. So they created a new government to fulfill this God-given purpose, but they dispensed with the idea of divine right to rule and invested in the governed the right to choose their government.
Their idea was radical for its day. They even wondered if it would actually work. But they trusted God to guide in the affairs of men, and they trusted the people to choose well. Today our nation is a testament to their trust in God and the people. The United States of America has become the envy of most of the world, and the democratic form of government is now the most popular form of government in the world.
But democracies are only as good as the people who are chosen to govern. If the wrong people gain the power of the civil authority, great damage can be done. What happens when the governing authority begins to reward evil and to punish good? It subjects itself to the judgment of God. History is filled with the evidence of God’s judgment on nations for their failure to honor Him with their laws. When nations begin to reward evil and punish good, watch out.
But who ultimately is responsible when the governing authorities no longer honor God through their administration? In a democracy, the people are responsible.
Click here to read the remainder of Dr. Duke's article as well as listen to audio commentary.
Now, for those in my county and throughout the nation - pray for God's guidance and direction. Use the resources available as you seek God's desire regarding your vote. Sometimes, I hear friends say "I'm not a fan of any of the candidates." It's a challenging task. Nevertheless, do not let that reasoning keep you from the polls. Participate. Prayerfully consider whom God would have you select.
As a Christian, when you participate in the process of voting for leaders, do not forsake your faith, do not mess up your personal testimony and, above all, do not embarrass God.