It Is Not a Sin Not To Vote

And it may be a sin, to vote.

I say this because of just a few comments on Facebook which have me thinking. I stated on one feed that I would not vote for anyone other than Ted Cruz. The immediate response I got was that I better get use to living with Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States. When I let it be known that I was writing a blog on the subject, one commentator wrote:

You should title your post – “Blah Blah Woof Woof I support Hilary Clinton” – because a failure to vote for her opponent, whomever, is a vote for Hillary, though yammer you may, and clothe yourselves in the brightest of smug self righteousness, I’m afraid your actions will speak louder than your words…but you’ll have plenty of company selling your country down the river of socialism – I realize Trump is not your plan, nor mine, but could it be God’s plan to eliminate PC? If a buffoon, speaking plainly can be elected president, perhaps it’s time we all started speaking plainly? ‘Plainly’ containing more truth than the euphemism of political correctness? It wouldn’t be the first time God had to move surprisingly and powerfully to get the message through to his stiff necked people.

I was touched.

Another acquaintance wrote:

That is a vote for the other party, Hilary or Bernie. Just my opinion. I have voted in every election since Goldwater, and have been lied to more times than I can count, but I think it is our responsibility as in supporting our government as the bible teaches us. We live in a nation founded on God’s laws and we have a duty to do whatever we can to preserve it.

Of course, the implication in all these statements is that it is all on my shoulders if either of those two get elected because I didn’t vote. Wow, I never realized I had that kind of power.

Just allow me to say that the God of all Creation of heaven and earth has not granted me, or anyone else, that kind of power. That kind of power belongs solely to Him, and He isn’t sharing it with anyone, thankfully.

My point simply is that it is not a sin for me not to vote, and it could be a sin for me to vote. First, nothing in Romans 13 compels me to vote, or says that I have to vote, or makes the claim that it is my responsibility to vote. People who imply responsibility to vote from Romans 13 are guilty of bringing that to the text. Remember who Paul was writing to in the first century. The people of Rome had no concept of 21st Century politics and a democracy as we have formed it. They were dealing with dictators and a system which gave them absolutely no say in the matters of politics. When we come to Scripture, we cannot in good conscience add to it what it does not say, and Paul is not telling us that it was our responsibility to vote, or else tragedy would befall us. If our trust is in man, I don’t expect you to get this. But our trust is to be in the LORD, not fallen politicians.

What Romans does say is that I have to submit to the government over me, pay my taxes and be a doer of good, not evil. So I am relieved of the responsibility of making a decision about the next president of the United States. I have to admit, this is good news. I’m growing tired of all the civics lessons I get from people about my responsibility to start a grassroots movement in order to regain what this country once was. That is not my calling at all. I would rather serve my King, the one who redeemed me from the mass of humanity, in building His kingdom. It’s much simpler and more lasting to take this view. It’s simpler because He is the One who actually builds the kingdom, not me. All I have to do is remain faithful to what He has called me to be, and He does the rest.

This comes from the view that God is actually… God, and we are not. We are not captains of our fate, or any of that ego-boosting garbage. We are merely His creation, and new Creation if we are in Him, called to be faithful and honoring to Him.

Secondly, it may actually be a sin to vote for a particular candidate. Whatever is not of faith, is a sin. So how can we vote for a man who was for killing babies in the womb, fully behind gay marriage, supporter of Democrats with lots of money in a big way for years, and won’t hesitate to take us to war? The fruits of this man are evil by even the easiest standard found in Scripture, yet so many want to cast their lot with him.

I don’t know how many Christians I’ve heard who said that they would hold their noses and pull the lever for the lesser of two evils (I did the same in the last election. Also, how do we know Trump is the lesser of two evils? He could actually be the greater of two evils.) Let’s just think about that for a moment: are we saying it is OK to vote for evil? Are we saying it is our responsibility to cast our lot with evil? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it would be better for us to be still, and know that God is actually God, for as Romans 13 does actually say, “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” So whatever candidate we end up with as our next president, we must rest in the reality that the next president is there by God’s appointment, not ours. That is the danger of our political system, it too easily causes us to think that we make the appointment. We do not. God does.

Finally, the question must be asked: why not vote for Trump? I will not vote for Trump because I don’t believe there is a smattering of difference between him and Hillary Clinton, other than that Trump is a male, and Hillary is… a female. I know that many are voting for Trump because he checks all the right boxes. But that should cause more alarm than comfort. Trump is saying only what is necessary in order to get elected. He had no qualms with changing his positions right before he announced his candidacy for president. Yet, these positions are not what drives him. Just like Sarah Palin, he is saying all the right things, but is not fundamentally a conservative. He has all the soundbites, but none of the convictions. Therefore when the pressure is on, and it will be if and when he arrives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., he will revert back to his normal positions of expediency.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump nominated Hillary as his running mate, and Hillary nominated Trump as her running mate. That is how close they are ideologically, theologically, and politically to one another. So unless God shows us some grace and gives us Ted Cruz to vote for, I’m going to work on the next election day, and not bother myself with casting my lot for evil, be it the lesser or greater kind.

If Hillary gets elected, or Trump gets elected, my vote and hope is in the LORD, for as a Christian, I will need Him to be my shield and buckler for the years to come. But please don’t tell me that I have to vote for some godless candidate because he/she checks all the right boxes. I do not, and will not.

For more thoughts on Trump, read David French’s article Donald Trump is No King David.

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7 thoughts on “It Is Not a Sin Not To Vote

  1. Shirley Jessome

    You would vote for Ted Cruz???? You do know he is a Canadian!!!!!! Aw, but so what, Obama isn’t American. I don’t vote, period, no one has enough character for me to mark a ballot.

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  2. Greg

    Excellent commentary Tim. We live in a time where Christians have grandiose visions of the USA as some great theocracy; never has been, never will be. With you, my hope lies in Him

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  3. You know I was thinking the same thing. I’m still going to vote for other offices but skip the options among the presidential candidtates if Trump is the Republican candidate and its Hillary and Sanders on the other side.

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  4. I’ve been doing this dance over at my blog the last month or so. To vote or not to vote. Is it a biblical obligation to vote? Is it a sin (as some have suggested) to fail to vote for the Republican candidate? (Seriously, some have made that argument.) Is it a sin to vote? Oh, and most recently my reasons why I cannot tell if Sanders, Clinton, or Trump is “the lesser of two evils”.

    One problem with your commentary on that aspect — voting for “the lesser of two evils”. You posit that it might be sinful to cast a vote for evil. That is problematic. If it is true, then you have sinned every time you voted. Because there is not a single candidate (or even possible candidate) that is not evil to some degree. If it is a sin to vote for less than perfect candidate, all voters are sinners.

    May I suggest (as long as you haven’t actually arrived at the conclusion that it is indeed a sin to vote at all) an alternative to not voting at all? How about voting for whomever you’d like to be in office? A non-Democrat-Republican candidate. A write in. A failure to vote doesn’t say anything meaningful. Voting against what is offered might.

    (Oh, and in case you missed them, I’ve written recently on whether or not to vote (along with one of the biggest strings of comments I’ve had in awhile), Bernie Sanders and Christianity, what happened to conservatism at all, some wrong ways to think about voting (which included some biblical reasons why it might be a good idea), and most recently why I won’t be voting for Trump (hint: because I cannot see how he’s the “lesser of two evils”).

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    1. Greg

      I have voted the last several elections for independents or libertarians. My well meaning Christian friends always inform me that I’m “throwing your vote away”. I firmly believe that if I am voting according to conscience, and not “the lesser of two evils”, that I have done what I could in doing right. We’ve ended up with a lot of injustice by being hung up on a 2 party locked system.

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