You may have heard the old adage that there are two things you just don’t talk about in public; religion and politics. While discussing these two topics can cause tension amongst friends, family members of co-workers, I don’t think that a Christian who is on mission and fully engaged with the culture can abide by this “rule.”
I have a friend who boasts that he doesn’t even bother to vote anymore. He’s a pastor. He says that his vote doesn’t matter and that politics are so corrupt at this point that one vote doesn’t change anything. I absolutely disagree.
Our governing system, as corrupt and frustrating as it is, is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Simply put, if we don’t like the policies or the decisions or the direction of a current administration, representative, or city council, we have the freedom to replace them. And we get a chance to vote every two years (rotating the four year cycle of Congressional elections and Presidential elections).
You could say that a single vote doesn’t really make a difference because we belong to the Kingdom of God, not an earthly Kingdom.
I would suggest that is precisely because we belong to the Kingdom of God that we have a responsibility to not only vote, but to influence our local and national communities for good, primarily through the church, but also through political awareness and involvement. Whether it’s the Schoolboard Chair who wants to increase teachers pay, the Senator who wants to stop corporate or Congressional waste, or a President who wants to strengthen the economy, we elect these people. And if enough Christians had the attitude of my friend who refuses to vote because “one vote doesn’t count,” we abdicate our responsibility to influence the society we live in, for the good and the flourishing of humanity, by staying home on Election Day.
Our culture is changing, and fast. Marriage is being re-defined before our very eyes. Poverty is capturing millions of children in repeating cycles of dysfunction and destruction. The global threat of terror is growing by the moment as ISIS attempts to establish a caliphate from which it can do damage that makes Al Queda look like rookies. And whether we like it or not, America has more influence over world affairs, at this point in history, than any other nation. What we need is competent, compassionate leaders who care more about doing what is right, both here and abroad, than just getting elected and re-elected.
Remember, Jesus lived under the thumb of the greatest political and military empire that had ever existed. In the face of the Emperor of Rome, Christ claimed to be the Son of God (a title that Caesar used) as well as King of Kings (another Roman title for the Emperor). Jesus once held up a coin with the face of Caesar on it. He said, “Give to Caesar what is his, but give to God what belongs to God.” Our allegiance, affection and loyalty are to Christ, but we have a responsibility to study the facts, know the issues, research the candidates, and vote according to our Christian convictions. Every vote counts. Just ask Al Gore who lost the Presidency in 2000 by less than 600 votes.