In the 2016 election, only about 61 percent of voting-age Americans cast a ballot. The percentage of self-identifying Christians who voted, both evangelical and non-evangelical, was pretty similar. In other words, though faith does seem to greatly influence the voting decisions of American Christians who vote, it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in whether or not American Christians vote.
Of course, if our faith should make a difference in every aspect of our lives (and it should), it should shape how we think about and live out citizenship, too. To put it bluntly, Christians have both a civic and a Christian responsibility to vote. As my friend Tim Goeglin, vice-president of external and governmental relations for Focus on the Family, put it recently, to vote is the beginning of our civic duty of Christians.
Here are three reasons why:
First, voting is an act of obedience. Both Jesus and St. Paul described our responsibility to defer to the governing authorities and to “render to Caesar” what is due to Caesar. Both Jesus and Paul navigated the realities of the various political authorities they faced differently, depending on the nature of their political authority and their rights as citizens. For example, Jesus never went to Rome, but He often confronted Jewish political powers and structures. Paul claimed and appealed to Roman citizenship when he was arrested.
In our context, the people are the political authorities. We don’t submit to political authority; we grant political authority to the representatives we elect. So, in our context, voting is the most fundamental way there is to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
Second, Scripture describes sin not only as doing wrong, but also failing to do the good we can. Voting is an opportunity to do some good. Christians should see voting as an opportunity to steward what is good.
Finally, voting is a way to fulfill both what Jesus called the greatest commandment and “the second one like unto it.” To love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength means, to some degree, loving what God loves: justice, righteousness, truth, and hospitality are all things that God loves, and they can be reflected in law and policy.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet