As Christians I believe we are challenged by the scriptures to involve ourselves to make our government as ethical as possible following the precepts of the word of God. There are so many today who simply fail to exercise their voting rights or attempt to justify blatantly ungodly voting choices for self-serving positions.
According to Jerry Cox of the familycouncil.org there are three myths about Christians involvement in politics. Like Jerry I too have heard these same arguments/excuses from Christians on a frequent basis.
First Myth: “Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics.” Could anyone argue that Moses was a politician? Did his political actions diminish his spirituality or his godliness? The entire of the Old Testament is about God’s selection of his chosen people and their political and spiritual journey as a nation. Sometimes it was closer to God,and other times it was far away. The politicians (Leaders,Judges,Kings) ruled the people and in in turn were influenced by the expressed will of the people. God gave many directions to the people as to the direction for their nation. It was not just the Judges or Kings that were held to account but every member of the society. “If my people,which are called by my name,shall humble themselves,and pray,and seek my face,and turn from their wicked ways;then will I hear from heaven,and will forgive their sin,and will heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14. It does not say,“If the king . . .” This is not a commandment to the leadership,but to the people who are expected to follow God,express their will to do so and collectively to turn the politicians/leaders toward God. Should they fail to do so,they will certainly not be held blameless in the results that came for violating God’s command. In Mathew 3:7 John the Baptist called out the leaders as “sons of vipers”challenging them to “produce fruit worthy of repentance”. That was as much a political speech as any heard on today’s election trail. He was challenging the political leaders of the day as we do by voting or political actions. If Christians should not be involved in politics,then who do you propose should be involved?
Second Myth: “You can’t legislate morality.” Laws are created by legislative bodies who propose what they think is good or right,or beneficial either to the society or to themselves and their friends. Each legislator presents his own version of “morality”in the proposed bills. Whether it is taxing the whole of society to provide benefits to the whole,or to the certain individuals he personally favors,or if it is making certain acts unlawful it always originates as his own version of “morality.” The legislative goal is producing beneficial outcome to self,friends,or society based on the morality of the legislator. If Christians led by godly moral codes do not lead the society then who’s morality do you think will prevail in its leadership?
Third Myth: “My vote doesn’t count.” We have been blessed with a nation that allows self rule,primarily through the medium of the ballot box. That is a gift of God that we have inherited through the sacrifices of our forefathers. Should we reject this gift God has given us to rule our nation and direct it into godly paths by some lame excuse of the futility of the value of the vote of a single person? We all owe to God the recognition of his gift by examining the options and voting ethically. Whether our will prevails or not,the fact that we have expressed that will affects the elected rulers. If we,the ethical refuse to vote,then the society will most certainly be ruled by the unethical. How could that be pleasing to God?
With every vote there are two possible ways to proceed in order to be an “ethical voter”. We can either cast an offensive vote,or a defensive vote. The offensive ethical voter can vote for the godly candidate/issue that will most closely direct the government in a god ordained path . When no such is available,the defensive ethical voter can vote for the least ungodly candidate/issue. The one that will cause the least damage to godly direction of the society. I believe either of these options is honoring God. To fail to do so is to squander the gift God gave us of self-government and dishonoring Him.
It is like the servant in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:26-27) who hid the master’s gift in the ground and gained the master’s ire, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers,and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” The word charges us to do what is within our ability. We are not responsible for the actions of others and ultimately the results are up to God. We are only commanded to obey and to be “ethical”toward Him. As it says in Joshua 24:15 “. . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house,we will serve the LORD.”
Whichever path we as Christians choose,God deserves no less than our best effort to turn our little corner of the nation toward Him. We first must appraise ourselves of the issues/choices available,educating ourselves in the most godly paths. Then we must exercise God’s gift of self-government to cast our votes most aligned with the word of God as we have come to understand them. To do less is not being “godly”or being “spiritual”at all. It is just being too lazy to seek and to do God’s will. That is certainly not likely to elicit his favor.
The Arkansas Voter’s Guide is available from the Family Council. It provides accurate,non-partisan information about candidates running for office in Arkansas to help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box. There are links to sites that provide faith centered voter information in other states.