Monday, November 03, 2008

What Would Jesus Vote?

Jesus, of course, did not live in a liberal democracy, and therefore never cast his vote in an election or on a ballot proposition. But Christians across America will have the opportunity to do so tomorrow and may well wonder if Jesus would have them vote for anything beyond their own self interest. I believe that, although the Bible does not specifically address elections, it does communicate certain responsibilities God expects governments to care for. Based on these, I've identified three things Christians should consider in making their voting decisions.

A Christian vote is a vote for:
  1. Freedom Of Conscience (Dan. 3, Rev. 13) - Issues: freedom of worship, civil liberties, torture, homosexual unions
  2. Just Institutions That Protect Life And Property (Rom. 13:1-7, Amos 5:15, Matt. 22:21) - Issues: defense, peace, abortion, death penalty, handgun control, police, judges, budget, child protection
  3. Care Of And Opportunity For The Disadvantaged (Lev. 19:9-10, Lev. 25) - Issues: welfare, health care, debt relief, environment, workers rights
These three may seem like obvious social goods, but a careful look at the issues may make certain voting decisions less clear to you. For example, voting on homosexual unions one way could threaten freedom of conscience by imposing traditional values on homosexuals, yet voting on the issue the other way could threaten freedom of conscience by imposing secular definitions of homosexual rights on religious organizations. And when voting for a candidate, there's always a gap between what they say they'll do, what that actually want to do, and their ability to implement their agenda or even govern effectively.

Yet this should not cause us to shy away from voting altogether (although actively abstaining may be the right thing to do). Jesus told a parable about a master who give his servants talents, and it was the one who took no risk with his talent that was condemned (Mat. 25:14-30). In democracies around the world God has given Christians the opportunity to vote, and they must thoughtfully consider how they will use that gift, not for their own self-interest, but to help God's "deacon" (Rom 13:4), the government, accomplish its God ordained task in this world.

Is Christ lord of your vote?

1 comment:

  1. Well said Dave. It is hard to figure these things out when they conflict with each other. I've enjoyed reading your views and comments. How are you finding Andrews so far?