As we approach a very crucial election year, some Christians are still asking: Should we be involved in politics? Should Christians vote? Do our votes even make any difference? As I think back to the early 1970’s, there were millions of unregistered voters, many of them Christians who felt that, as Christians, there was no need to be involved in politics or even vote. Then came the fateful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The horrendous slaughter of millions of unborn babies that ensued produced a tidal wave of moral indignation that swept through American evangelicalism and resulted in the Moral Majority movement and others, registering more than 10 million previously unregistered voters. And they made a difference. Ronald Reagan, a pro-life candidate, was elected president in 1980. Did that solve everything? No, but just think of how much worse things would have been had he not been elected. The country as a whole made a major turn in the right direction.
In addition, many Christians realized the importance of living out their Christian beliefs in the public square and began running for political offices on the local, state and national level. Has that solved our moral problems? No, but it has been a restraining force. If you compare things the way they are to how they would be if Christians withdrew from the political realm, you realize that they have made a substantial difference. Things would be far worse than they are if Christians had not involved themselves.
Christians have a sacred duty to be “salt and light” (Mt. 5:13-16) and that includes taking advantage of the privilege of being an influence by running for political offices and at the least, voting for candidates who most closely uphold the biblical worldview and values on issues of marriage, sanctity of life and the role of government. The Apostle Paul instructs us in Romans 13:1-7 that God ordained government to punish those who do evil and to reward those who do that which is right. Indeed, government is one of only three divinely ordained institutions in the Scripture, along with family and the church. Paul writes that “for conscience’ sake” we are to be good law-abiding citizens and live in “subjection to the governing authorities” (vv. 1, 6,7).
Jesus’ command to “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt.5:16) is an all-encompassing one including evangelism, missions, discipleship and helping to influence the divinely ordained authorities in a moral and just direction. As “salt and light” the option is not left for the Christian to refuse to be involved with “worldly concerns” and to go into a spiritual holding pattern, waiting for the rapture or death to “escape” to heaven. As Christians, we have dual citizenship, both in heaven and on earth (Phil. 3:20). We are to be an influence spiritually, moving others to a decision for Christ and eternal life, and we are to be an influence on the world around us while we await our eternal inheritance. Jesus, in one of His parables, emphasized to His disciples that they were to “occupy (do business as usual) until I come back” (Lk. 19:13). We are not to hide away in our churches waiting for the Lord to return, but to engage our culture, be a restrainer of evil, and an advocate for morality and justice. Christians can and have made a substantial difference on our culture. Virtually all of the injustices in American history—slavery, child labor, women’s rights and racial discrimination—have been eliminated or greatly reduced as a result of Christians getting involved and saying: “This is wrong, and it must stop.”
As Christians, we have the duty to be informed voters and to vote our convictions, not our wallets. Which candidates most closely support your biblical worldview? If they have already been in office, check out their voting record. The Faith & Freedom Coalition publishes a Congressional Scorecard listing the voting records of each Representative and Senator on each issue which affects our families and our nation’s future. We need to be informed voters and vote. It is our great privilege and responsibility as citizens of the United States of America and our sacred duty as citizens of heaven who exist on earth as “salt and light.” But keep it all in perspective, for the greatness of America lies not in the federal government, but in the character of our people—the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility and accountability, and helping “the least of these” (Mt. 25:45). If we lose sight of these values, America will cease to be great. Never before has it been more critical for us to speak out for these values. Together we can influence who is elected to office and the legislation that strengthens families and promotes biblical values that protect the dignity of life and marriage. Should we, as Christians, vote? YES! Does our vote really make a difference? YES, it does. First, it makes us obedient to Jesus’ commandment to be salt and light, and He always blesses obedience. Second, we live in a nation that is deeply divided about really important issues, like the nature of marriage, the sanctity of life, and the freedom of speech and conscience—and every vote counts. Third, we have the right and privilege to vote because hundreds of thousands of our citizens have sacrificed all of their tomorrows on the field of conflict to protect our right to vote and determine how we are to be governed. We dishonor their sacrifice when we neglect our duty to vote, and we might lose those rights so dearly won. A recent letter to the editor in a local paper, The Western News, was entitled, “Rumor has it a lot is riding on this year’s election.” Kathleen Hassan wrote: “Rumor has it the very fabric of our republic and Constitution is at stake…Choose carefully this election. Choose as if your very life depends on it. Rumor has it that it does!” Well put. Please check out where candidates stand on the issues important to you as a Christian, and VOTE! And remember, when it comes to voting for the presidential candidates, we are electing a “president,” not a pastor. Neither candidate may meet all the qualifications for a pastor/elder, but where do they stand on biblical issues?