According to exit polls and voting records in this country, seventy-five percent (75%) of self-identified Evangelical Christians don’t vote! Less than fifty percent of Christians in America are registered to vote and only fifty percent of those registered have any voting history. I am shocked by that statistic!
One would think, based on Christian doctrine and the most rudimentary understanding of biblical principles, that Christians above all others, would care about the culture, would care about the nation’s direction, and would care about the quality of our leadership. But voting statistics don’t reflect that. Why?
Citizens who don’t bother to vote are seen by most voters as irresponsible, immature, and stupid. This is why a non-voting Christian seems to be such a paradox; because most Christians are not seen in those ways, otherwise. The New Testament even addresses the Christian’s responsibility to abide by the laws of the land in which he/she resides, in the 13th chapter of the apostle Paul’s letter to Rome. Christians are doctrinally and traditionally called upon to set a good example for all—to be Christ-like. Shirking the civic responsibility to maintain our system of government by voting seems, clearly, to be a contradiction of the philosophical and moral code of Christianity!
Many Christians who don’t vote hold strong views about the moral character of those holding political office, for example, when politicians address the abortion issue. They are glad when professed Christians run for political office, believing them to be better qualified leaders because of their professed adherence to Christianity’s moral code. Therefore, to not support those candidates, by failing to participate in voting, makes no logical sense.
A Clue to Why So Many Christians Don’t Vote
This paradox has kept me awake at night since I first heard these statistics. Then, recently, an email from my granddaughter, in which she made a casual comment about her Sunday school teacher, suddenly shed some light on the subject. She wrote, “He also said Christians weren’t here to be too much in politics.” Her sharing of that teaching was a revelation to me. I think it is a clue to why so many Christians don’t vote. Some churches believe and teach that God will “take care of everything” no matter what man does. The Bible does not support that fatalistic view. God is certainly sovereign in the outworking of His plan for His creation, but He chooses to work through “means.” For example, He could save those He intends to save with a word, but He uses other believers to preach the Gospel to them, presumably to give them a chance to participate in the process. Likewise, He could make America a godly nation by simply speaking, but He chooses to use the means of those He has saved, one life at a time, because He wants us to love Him and obey Him as a choice we make.
Mind you, I don’t think political activism is a substitute for Christianity. The historical effect of Christianity on society prior to the present post-Christian age and the decline of society since, is testimony to that. The salvation of souls is permanent, whereas, the improvement of society by one political party can be wiped out by another political party. But, we live in a nation in which individuals
are supposed to govern themselves. We the people (voters) are the fourth branch of government and because we hold ultimate political power and the responsibility to oversee our elected representatives, we are clearly the most important branch. In a republic such as ours, the people who work the hardest and vote the most faithfully, are going to have laws that reflect their values. It’s as simple as that.
Therefore, any teaching in churches that holds that we don’t have a responsibility to 1) remain cognizant of the social and political issues of our nation, 2) strive to nominate and elect godly representatives, and 3) to oversee the work of those representatives, makes those churches enemies of the nation. For Christians, the interpretation of Scripture they receive in church is one of the most important parts of their lives. It, therefore, behooves bible teachers to consider seriously how they interpret the Bible and what they teach.
Christian leadership played a decisive role in the birth of this great nation and most of our Founding Fathers were mature Christians. Wouldn’t it be ironic (yea a sin) if this nation, given birth by the principles of the Bible, were to be destroyed by misinterpretation of those principles?!