This is the last in a series of posts on Christianity and Politics by Steve Dobo.
Here are a few suggestions I would make to any Christian voter:
First, I believe a Christian should vote. There are those who say that Jesus would have been apathetic towards politics and not even have voted. However, I would argue that we should vote. The prophets often talked about Israel’s need to stand up for the oppressed and the poor (Zechariah 7:8-10). One of the ways we can do this is through voting for the rights of all humans whether rich or poor. Also, if we do not vote, we are not taking advantage of our rights in this country to help this nation look more like the kingdom of heaven. As Plato once said, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Thus, if we do not care about politics as Christians, we are inviting the likes of tyrants such as Hitler or Stalin to rule America. If we were to sit and let something like this happen, we would be guilty of committing the sin of omission.
Second, we should vote people into office that we feel are the most virtuous. This idea comes from the ancient philosopher Socrates, and I think it’s a good one. If there is a God fearing person with a proven track record running for office, great, vote them in. We must use the guidelines given in the Pastoral Epistles (regarding qualifications for church leaders) when deciding on a candidate. They too should be “above reproach” (1 Tim. 3:2). We should do our homework to see how virtuous they are and also look at their voting records. Voting records often show a candidate’s true colors.
Thirdly, when deciding on issues or candidates, a Christian should use a biblical worldview to aid their decisions. The great theologian Karl Barth is said to have encouraged some younger theologians “to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” We should also evaluate candidates and issues on this same basis. Thus, our votes should show that we care for the disenfranchised and poor (Mt. 25:35-36), that we care about justice (Isa. 61:8), that we care about personal responsibility and integrity (2 Thess. 3:10, 1 Tim. 3:2) just to name a few. We should ask ourselves with each issue or candidate, “If I vote for this/them, would I be loving God and my neighbor?” (Mk. 12:29-31).
Lastly, when there is a choice between picking the lesser of two evils, I feel that we must inevitably do so. The last Presidential election of 2008 is an example of this. Both candidates espoused Christianity, but both seemed to have the opposite track record in different ways (ex. Obama advocating pro-choice and McCain’s support of what I thought was a meaningless war). In this election, I feel that I will have to do the same thing. Mitt Romney is not conservative enough for me and I do not agree with many of the liberal policies that Obama has passed and plans on passing. What am I to do? I will vote! Why? Because quite frankly I will vote for a moderate rather than a liberal any day. I believe the conservative view to be closer to the Christian value system than that of the liberal view. Thus, I will vote conservative this coming election. Nonetheless, I believe God will hold us accountable for whether or not we voted. So, no matter where you fall on the political continuum, make sure that you vote your conscience and vote for the things that matter to Christ first and foremost!