Cache Valley, Utah
| How Shall We Then Vote?|
If youre a Christian and still torn about how to vote tomorrow, theres only thing to do: dont.
By DEREK WEBB
NOV 03, 2008
Part 1: A Brief Statement On Matters Of Conscience
Depending on when youre reading this, we could be on either side of one of the most evocative elections in our countrys recent history. It shouldnt really matter, as this writing isnt necessarily about our current election but rather on living an honest and integrated political life. Even so, there is no time for clever stories or introductions. Ill cut right to the chase: ultimately our problems will not be solved by the right man (or woman) in the White House. It simply doesnt work that way. We live in a democracy, a representative form of government, where its as much if not more our responsibility to love and take care of our neighbors than our politicians responsibility. Real and lasting change comes from knowing and loving the folks who live in the houses that sit next to ours rather than saving all of our longing and hope for the voting booth.
Now thats not to say that we shouldnt make informed decisions, be involved in the process. Of course we should. I mean, if your conscience allows, you can even vote. But thats tricky, especially in a two party system (but I definitely dont have time for that).
But in all seriousness, I want to be perfectly clear on this point: it is never advisable, in any decision that you make, to violate your conscience. As it applies to this election, you might have serious moral conflicts with both candidates, and therefore feel as though you must vote in a defensive manner or for the lesser of two evils.
Now let me say before I go any further that that may not be you. And in terms of the body of followers of Jesus, it would likely be sinful if we were all reaching the same conclusions on how to best love our neighbors, so theres plenty of room for a difference of opinion there. But if that is you, I have a few suggestions:
1. Look through your bible for a mandate that you must vote.
2. When you dont find one, listen to that conscience of yours. Thats what its there for, to be a guide and a red flag when youre making difficult and significant decisions.
What Im not saying: you should not vote.
What I am saying: if your conscience is seriously conflicted over both candidates, you are at liberty to not vote.
Part 2: Some Common Objections
Some would say that not voting is giving your vote over to those who seek to use the governmental process for evil. I would actually argue the opposite. By voting, especially when based on just one or two issues, youre giving your yes and amen to that partys entire platform, which likely goes far beyond the statement youre trying to make on these few issues. This is certainly more perilous and less nuanced than abstaining altogether. No party can co-opt a vote that isnt cast.
Others would say, Jesus said to render unto Caesar what is Caesars. Therefore we have a biblical obligation to vote. And of course Jesus said that. Thats why I pay my taxes and try to drive the speed limit. These are among the laws of the land. But my conscience doesnt belong to Caesar, therefore I dont render it unto him. Caesar cannot force me to violate my conscience. Voting is a legal right, like carrying a gun or having an abortion. And I can abstain from doing anything that I have a legal right to if it violates my conscience.
Some say that well never completely agree with the agenda or platform of a politician, that if we wait for a candidate that we line up with 100% well never vote. I completely agree. There are many issues upon which I can disagree with a politician that dont amount to a crisis of conscience. So there will always be necessary and acceptable compromises to make when engaging in the system of politics, but never when your conscience is on the line.
Which brings my to the last common objection: our forefathers fought and even shed blood so that we would have the right to vote. While theres obviously nothing in this statement that I would disagree with, there is a context to consider. Even greater than our forefathers sacrifices are those of our heavenly Father, who also shed blood in order to stir in us an allegiance greater than that of nation. We have an ultimate allegiance to our King and the Kingdom hes building in and through us that trumps all others.
In the early 1520s Martin Luther famously stood before a general assembly in Germany, at the beginnings of whats known as the protestant reformation. In his legendary speech Luther risked excommunication and death in order to keep from violating his conscience when he said, To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot, and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.
These matters of conscience are serious and should be considered at great length. I have many friends who have considered the issues of this current election in all their nuances and have chosen to vote for either Obama, McCain, or a 3rd party candidate, and I support them in doing so. Again, we are diverse members of one body in our following of Jesus. It would be suspicious if we all reached identical conclusions to such complex problems. So again, maybe there is no conflict of conscience for you in this election. By all means vote. But if there is, be at liberty not to vote.
Our ultimate hope is not in politicians or powers or governments, but in a day coming when all things will be made right. And our ultimate concern isnt success but faithfulness. So if you find it necessary to abstain from voting in this election because to do so would be a violation of your conscience, be at liberty to remain faithful and leave the worry of success or outcome to God. He, after all, created governments in the first place.
Derek Webb is a singer-songwriter based in Nashville. He is the founder of NoiseTrade.
| 2008/11/3 20:09||Profile|
| Re: How Shall We Then Vote?|
Thanks for this, Alan.
| 2008/11/3 20:56||Profile|
I have to say this... because this [b]is[/b] a matter of conscience. And I say this with love, and I dont want to know how anyone on this forum voted... but I need to get this off my chest:
If you don't care about the unborn... either don't vote, or vote for the one candidate who has stood for abortion.
If you do care about the unborn... the choice is clear.
None of the rest of the issues can ever be solved while our nation continues to murder the innocent.
We can sit here and argue whether Christians should vote or not, or who is the best candidate to fix the economy, or about socialism... but none of that matters as we continue to murder babies.
[b]Deuteronomy 30:19[/b] [i]I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: [b]therefore choose life[/b], that both thou and thy seed may live...[/i]
If you dont want to choose a president, or a congressman, or whatever... at least go to the polls and [b]choose life[/b].
| 2008/11/4 8:36|
After reading Krispy's reply I felt led to write back. As a matter of conscience and faith I am not voting today. I know you may not understand my reasons but please allow me to share them with you anyway. In every other election I and my husband have voted. In 2000 I stayed up all night praying and reading the news head lines to see if Bush had won. And when he did I was relieved and thankful. Then again in 2004 I prayed and obsessed that he would win again, stayed up all night worrying and hoping for Bush to come out the winner. The next morning when Kerry congratulated Bush something different happened. I wasn't happy, relieved or thankful. I felt convicted in my heart for the sin I was in. I had allowed myself to get caught up in the things of this world, to put my faith and trust in what a man could do instead of trusting in my heavenly Father. I was so sure that Bush was going to change things that he was going to make this a better place that I had taken my eyes off of the Lord and the fact that He alone can bring about change. I knew that day that I would never vote in another election for the rest of my life. I knew that for me Jesus is my King and the only one that I will ever want or need.
I know your feelings on abortion,your heart ins genuine in this. I just wanted to share that I understand the pain and anguish better then most having been an unmarried pregnant teenager myself and coming very close to ending my baby's life. I know what it is all about, the pressure and confusion. If I may though, let me share with you that it wasn't a law, or a congressmen, or even a president who stopped me that day from aborting my baby. It was a nurse...she had an abortion when she was young. She talked with me and shared with me her story and of the pain and sorrow she felt year after year on the day that precious baby would have been born. How whenever she looked at her children she had now she would wonder and cry over the baby she had done away with. She told me no matter what anyone says it never leaves you, that sadness is always there. That was what stopped me from killing my unborn child. I truly believe God used that nurse that day to speak to me and I am forever thankful that He did. So please do not assume that because some of us choose not to vote that it means we do not care about life. We do very much care we just feel Fathers leading to demonstrate that in His will for us as we walk it out daily.
Dear brother Krispy I know you have said on Sermon Index many times that you believe "Bad things happen, when good men do nothing" For a few days that has really been on my heart as I seek God and ask Him am I right not to go and vote and it has been an agonizing time but just over the past few days He showed me that at one time in a garden there where about 11 decent fellows who stood by and did nothing while Jesus was crucified... and all of mankind was saved. Sometimes Gods ways are not always clear to us. As my son pointed out God does not need us to accomplish any of His plans here on earth, He does choose to use us, but He does not need us. I am learning that in my walk there are times when as much as self screams for me to take action, that still small voice within, my Heavenly Father speaks to me and tells me to wait, to trust, and to have faith, that He is in control and for me I need to have faith regardless of what happens in this world around me.
Anyway that is just what is on my heart dear brother, I am not trying to persuade you in anything. I will ask that you please pray for me today as I walk out what Father is showing me and I will pray for you as you walk out what you are being shown. In the end may Jesus be lifted up and glorified, because in the end He still remains faithful to see us through and He still sits on the throne no matter the outcome of this election.
God Bless you
| 2008/11/4 11:20||Profile|
| Re: How Shall We Then Vote?|
Choosing to vote does not indicate one's hope in "man and not God."
[b]Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.[/b]
1 Cor 10:31
Our goal should always be to bring God glory.
We all know that government is a God thing (see Romans 13:1-7). It is appointed by God.
One could say, I don't need to vote, God will do what He wants. But that is like saying, I don't need to pray, God will do want He wants.
We are called to be the light & salt of the world (Matt 5:13-16). One would say He was talking about "winning the lost." Well, there is nothing in the sermon of mount that indicates Jesus is talking about winning the lost(Matt 5:1-7:29). But throughout it, its about loving God & loving others. Being in right relationship.
Again, Jesus said that we are the light & salt. We are to be His influences in the world.
In Ohio, we can vote on allowing gambling. I can vote 'yes', 'no', or "I don't care & I'm not voting.'
Which one brings glory to God?
Which one is best for my neighbor whom I am to love?
The ungody, & uncoverted don't have the mind of Christ. Then who should be trying to be influenence our government? Shouldn't it be the Christians?
[b]Maybe voting isn't in the bible because maybe voting didn't occur by the average person in those days.[/b]
| 2008/11/4 12:33||Profile|
MJ, I appreciate and respect your thoughts on this. I must say tho that I agree with what the poster between your post and this one had to say.
You said the following, MJ:
For a few days that has really been on my heart as I seek God and ask Him am I right not to go and vote and it has been an agonizing time but just over the past few days He showed me that at one time in a garden there where about 11 decent fellows who stood by and did nothing while Jesus was crucified...
I have to take exception to this statement. Comparing Jesus allowing Himself to be crucified as a fulfillment of God's plan from the beginning of time to not voting pro-life is... well, it's wrong. You're comparing apples to oranges. The one has nothing to do with the other.
But I love ya... I respect your feelings about this even tho I disagree with you.
| 2008/11/4 12:41|
Choosing to vote does not indicate one's hope in "man and not God."
In my post I was only sharing that for "ME" at one time it did just that, not that is the case for everyone. I agree that if you feel led to vote then you should obey and go out today and vote, to do otherwise would be sin. But for me to go out today and vote it would be sin on my part and that is why I am not doing so. It does not mean that I do not care, I care very deeply. In fact been praying for both men to repent and see how desperately they and this country need Jesus. That is my heart for today as I am sure it is yours that we would see our need for Christ.
God Bless you as you go and vote and keep you safe in His care. Perhaps you will even be given a chance to share with those in line with you about who Jesus is and the price He paid for them.
| 2008/11/4 12:43||Profile|
I was blown away by your post! I was also once a unwed pregnant college student who visited a crisis pregnancy center while away at college. (my daughter is now a beautiful on-fire Christ-follower) But as you said, it was a single person (a young counselor) who God put in my path at the center who helped me seal the decision not to end the life of my daughter. It was not a law, or anything the government could say or do.
My mouth was agape as you wrote
Quote: Wow, what an incredible statement!
He showed me that at one time in a garden there where about 11 decent fellows who stood by and did nothing while Jesus was crucified... and all of mankind was saved. Sometimes Gods ways are not always clear to us.
I think we all know that just because McCain says he opposes abortion does not mean that he opposes all abortion-- ([url=http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/2008/11/4564.aspx]Vision Forum blog[/url] and
[url=http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/ballot_box/sen_john_mccains_position_on_a.aspx]McCain's Position on Abortion[/url]
In Him, Chanin
| 2008/11/4 13:03||Profile|
Thank you for your words. Yet I felt entirely different following the election in 2004. I felt a relief...that righteousness was chosen above unrighteousness. It isn't that I thought that Bush was [i]righteous[/i], but that many of the things that he was proclaiming were (especially compared with the loud promises made by John Kerry regarding abortion...and gay marriage...and homeschools...etc...). The outcome? President Bush fulfilled his promise and appointed two very conservative pro-life justices to the US Supreme Court. The state of South Dakota has a proposition on the ballot that calls for the abolition of abortion in the state. If it passes, it will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court. It is possible that the Court would rule in favor of the State (allowing states to limit or prohibit abortion -- like before Roe v. Wade)...or they could rule that unborn children are indeed alive and that abortion is thus [u]murder[/u] and a violation of EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW.
In this election, the choice is even clearer than it was in 2004. Our choice is Obama...McCain...a third party statement...or not to vote at all. I feel the liberty to share my voice...my vote...in tnis election. I am not ashamed to say that I will vote for McCain. It isn't at all that I have any allegiance to Senator McCain (not at all, really). It is, however, a matter of conscience in that I want to do what I can (pray, speak out and vote) with what I have (my faith, my voice and my vote) in order to prohibit unrighteousness to be legislated by nominated fellow citizens of my temporary citizenship.
After the last election was over, it hurt to hear people speak against abortion...or homosexual marriage...or commercial pornography as free speech...etc...who simply didn't think it was bad enough to warrant casting an opinion...a decision...a vote. Yet they want to entangle themselves with their voice?
Many of these same people pay their taxes, drive on government-funded streets, accept their tax rebates or refunds, choose to educate their own children at home, preach on the internet and in the streets, go to government-funded hospitals, attend "tax-exempt" church fellowships, and live in a nation that is protected by a Constitution and government-funded military. They wear clothes from companies of questionable repute (Levi's Jeans is the largest single contributor to homosexual activism, Nike employs slave labor, etc...). We eat food that is regulated (thankfully) by the FDA. We visit doctors who are licensed and regulated by the government. We even only consider marriage valid if it is recognized by the state. Yet we don't vote. It is as if we want all of the perks...but none of the responsibility.
My allegiance is first to my God, Savior and Friend, our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet I Corinthians 7:33 tells me that I have a responsibility to consider the "affairs of this world" regarding my wife. I must take care of my neighbors in this temporary county. I must consider the hurting, the hungry, the downcast and the helpless. Yet some say that I shouldn't vote and affect the outcome of abortion? It is a matter of [u]righteousness[/u] rather than politics! "Righteousness exalteth a nation..." It isn't that McCain is entirely righteous or that Obama is entirely sinful. It is that Obama is proudly proclaiming sin...as if it were a good thing. He seemed so proud when he rightly said that America is no longer a "Christian" nation...as if it were a good thing. Obama said that he would use the Presidency to promote homosexuality as a "normal" and perfectly acceptable lifestyle and even elevate gays to a protected minority status...as if it were a good thing. While I don't really agree with Senator McCain on every issue, the matters of righteousness are exceedingly clear. I could certainly vote for a third party who has no chance of winning, but that would be pretty much the same as not voting, wouldn't it (other than by making a statement that will not affect legislation or righteousness).
Forgive me as I sound so political (as others have sounded). Yet I don't mean to sound that way. This, as I pointed out, is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of righteousness and unrighteousness. I just find it so hard to ignore the millions of unborn children who might be saved by a single vote on a nine seat Supreme Court where each member is appointed by a President. Clinton chose two extremely liberal activists for his appointees. Bush chose two very conservative pro-lifers for his choices. I can't help but wonder who McCain or Obama would select? I do know that the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activists are sending out literature that says to vote for Obama due to the possible outcome of a single nominee on the US Supreme Court.
Oddly enough, many of the believers who have been persecuted in other lands have urged Christians to write to our elected officials on behalf of the persecuted Church. Richard Wurmbrand even testified before Congress and removed his shirt in order to expose the deep wounds from long years of torture. Nearly every issue of Voice of the Martyrs contained ideas on how to contact the US government on behalf of the persecuted church abroad. Corrie ten Boom spoke about all of those German believers who did nothing to thwart the rise of Adolf Hitler.
We live in a government of consent. We are free to choose which of our fellow temporary citizens make the decisions for this nation. Yet we remain silent with that freedom? I close with the words of Benjamin Franklin's speech to George Washington and the other founders at the Constitutional Convention:
In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?
In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection.
Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. [b]And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.[/b]
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? [b]We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel[/b].
[b]We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.[/b]
I therefore beg leave to move -- [b]that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning[/b] before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
| 2008/11/4 13:11||Profile|
Quote:There are many websites that indicate McCain's stance on the issue that are quite different from the ministry's that you shared. However, the abortion question is literally "black and white" in this election (no pun intended). One candidate boasts that he will promote it. One candidate promises to limit it.
I think we all know that just because McCain says he opposes abortion does not mean that he opposes all abortion-- (Vision Forum blog and
McCain's Position on Abortion
...just something to consider.
| 2008/11/4 13:14||Profile|