Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Didn't Vote

I didn't vote.

For some people this is probably not a big deal. For others, it is almost blasphemy.

What once was considered simply a right in our country has now been transformed into some sort of "civic duty" or "responsibility." For example, at Baptist Press, I just read an article entitled, "Vote -- it's your right and responsibility."

I didn't vote because I couldn't think of anyone on either ticket that I wanted to vote for. While I certainly did not want Barack Obama to be elected president, I did not find John McCain particularly appealing either. Additionally, I'm tired of the "lesser of two evils" argument. I simply did not want to vote for either evil (if Ron Paul had still been running for president, I probably would have pulled the level for him.)

Regardless, I find it increasingly disturbing how many Christians in this country basically equate love for God with love of country. This is the view of some sort of "Christian America," as if we have inherited the promises of God that He originally intended (and still intends) for Israel.

The bible is clear that for Christians, our citizenship is in heaven. We are to be exiles, aliens, and strangers while on this earth. We are never to feel too comfortable. This world ought not ever feel too much like home. If we always feel as if we just don't quite fit in here, and that we are longing to be somewhere else, this is a good thing. We should be longing to be home - in heaven with God.

Voting ought to be viewed as a matter of Christian liberty and conscience as opposed to a Christian responsibility.

As exiles on this planet, let's not retreat from the culture, but rather engage the culture with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. While we do this, let's remember that our primary focus is to be the Kingdom of God (Jesus' favorite topic), not the Kingdom of the United States of America.

17 comments:

Justin Nale said...

Eric,

Considering how few Christians throughout history have actually had the opportunity to have a voice in the political arena, I have to disagree with you. I think it is our responsibility as Christians to try and have a voice for the gospel wherever and however we can. That seems to be the spirit of Paul in 1st Cor. 9-10, and we are called to imitate him (11:1)

That said, I agree with many of the other things you said. A vote for McCain is no more a vote for the gospel than a vote for Obama. You mentioned, however, that if Ron Paul had stayed in the election you might have voted for him. Perhaps you should have joined thousands of other Christians who voted for the guy Ron Paul endorsed: Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party candidate. He had no chance of winning, of course, but the more votes this party gets means more exposure for candidates who are not only pro-life, pro-marriage, etc., but especially pro-gospel. I can't help but think that millions of Christians are wasting their votes on people who do not share their faith instead of supporting candidates who travel around unashamedly declaring the Bible as God's Word and declaring its teaching as worthy of our faith and obedience. Just my two cents. The goal isn't "winning" an election - the goal is trying to get the gospel out in as many ways as possible. Our political process gives us a unique opportunity that I think we should take, but take wisely.

J. R. Miller said...

i can respect that brother

Bethany W. said...

Eric,

We seriously prayed about a write-in! We really considered writing in Ron Paul!

Bethany

Eric said...

Justin,

Thanks for commenting.

I completely respect your position. I also agree that Baldwin is a much better option than either of the big-party candidates.

I think if a Christian wants to vote, then that is completely fine. I just don't see it as a responsibility. However, I also admit that I am wrong more often than I would like to admit and could be on this issue as well

Thanks again.

Eric said...

J. R.,

Thanks!

Eric said...

Bethany,

That is a possibility that I should have considered.

I sure hope Paul runs again in 2012.

Alan Knox said...

Eric,

I didn't vote either. And, I'm not wringing my hands or pulling out my hair over the outcome either. My responsibility as a follower of Jesus Christ has not changed since yesterday.

There are many burdens (often labelled duties or responsibilities) that believers put on one another that do not come from Christ. Voting is just one of those.

-Alan

Eric said...

Alan,

I agree. We are all probably far too good at being Pharisees about a great many things.

Lew A said...

Eric,

You and I definitely agree about this :).

I didn't vote either, for apparently some very similar religious convictions.

God's Glory,
Lew

Eric said...

Lew,

Sometimes I think the church in this country would be far better off if the government began active persecution of believers in Christ.

Brian said...

I guess I disagree that voting is a "right and responsibility" - it's not a right but a priviledge granted by Congress.

Eric said...

Brian,

I agree with you completely.

J. R. Miller said...

Brian, voting is a right of citizenship guaranteed in our Constitution. Amended in 1870 to include blacks and then again in the early 1900's to include women.

Where did you learn that it is a privilege granted by Congress?

Eric said...

J.R.,

I think what Brian is emphasizing is that voting is a privilege as opposed to a responsibility. Voting is also certainly a right.

J. R. Miller said...

Eric, I thought your original post was good, but your defense if Brian is misplaced.

Brian said, "voting is NOT a right"

He is incorrect.

Brian said voting is granted by the power of Congress.

He is incorrect.

Since you agree 100% and Brian is silent, maybe you can help me out. Where did you learn that voting is NOT a right but a privilege granted by Congress?

Eric said...

J.R.,

I should have been more precise in my language. I do believe that voting is a right. We can all be thankful for this.

Voting is also a privilege.

What I struggle with is when voting is deemed a "responsibility."

J. R. Miller said...

Eric, and the clarification you just wrote is what came across very clearly in your original post and I thought your wording there was very well done.

I also agree with you and your post should give all Christians something to think about in how we have melded our faith with politics.