Why I’m Not Voting

In next week’s election, I do not plan on voting for any federal or New York State officials, obviously including President of the United States of America. I have been asked by a friend to explain my choice. To my best understanding, the reason he is asking me to explain is because traditionally we conservative evangelical types see voting as a civic duty. We have learned from when we were wee lads and lasses that voting in democratic elections is a near-sacred duty, wrapped in all the somberness and ritual of a religious sacrament.

And therein is my first issue with voting for federal and state office holders. As a Christian, my primary citizenship is in heaven, where Christ is. He is preparing the New Jerusalem—the eternal city of God—and He will bring that consummate kingdom upon His appearance and judgment of the living and the dead. You’ll notice I said “primary” citizenship, and that’s because of course we are also citizens of the nations on earth as we live here. In simple terms, Christians are dual citizens, and we have duties in each realm. And what is our most important duty in the civil realm of this age? It is to be salt and light—to stand out. We are to be a different, holy people, and we are to be the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go, and in all we do.

What am I getting at? Only that in all areas of our lives, we are to show our pagan and post-Christian neighbors that we have a better hope, a higher kingdom, and accordingly, a fearless posture toward the evil in this world. Now of course none of us does any of this perfectly, which is why we keep returning to the church gathering each week where we hear of our sin, the forgiveness we have received, and the promises of the age to come. We are often fearful, though our Lord commands “fear not.” We are often mired in the same idols as the Gentiles, though our Lord commands “come out from them and touch not the unclean thing.” I think many wonderful Christian people in America have succumbed to the fear of man, namely, the liberal and Progressive man, and are placing their hope in democratic elections as a temporal salvation. In a narrow sense it is true that good civil policy saves us from lawless men, so I understand the need for the State in our present world; however, I think the manner in which our politics have become all encompassing and overwhelming shows the idolatrous fear and rage intrinsic to this present system.

Today we can and should repent, re-form the line if you will, and face the world as a fearless, holy people.

And I believe abstaining from the vote is one of the more powerful means to do so right now. nopeAsk yourself what drives 90+% of the voting in federal and state elections today. You know what it is: fear. And not only fear, but jealousy, rage, insecurity, and tribalism/racialism (in all directions). Why are Christians blending in with this portrait of ungodliness? I’ll tell you what I think—I believe we’re in a rut of tradition that we can’t see from above. We think voting always helps secure liberty and justice for all.

We think it’s our sacred duty to cast our ballot because men shed their blood to give us this right. We think we owe it to the brave guys who charged the machine gun nests on Normandy’s beach, we think the 58,000+ who never returned from Vietnam cry out “go! Go to the voting booth and vote! We died in a jungle ditch so you could do so!”

We think we must make our voices heard.

And on that last point, I fully agree. We must make our Christian, fearless, faithful voices heard to those in power, and I propose our message be something like this:

We are not your slaves, and we are not afraid of you. Do what you will to us, but we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, promote His kingdom, and speak out against your ungodly policies. We will no longer be complicit in propping up this sham democracy.

This nation is captured by an oligarchy of lifetime politicians, corporate pirates, and usurious thieves on Wall Street, and voting has only distracted us from your injustices, as if we ever had a chance in a rigged game. We are tired of having our income stolen to propagate antichrist doctrines in the schools, violence in the womb, violence throughout the world in conflicts that are unjust and unnecessary, and general economic discord domestically.

We protest the system of credit and debt that is forced upon us, we protest the postmodern worldview of our leaders, and we refuse to participate in a system that fingers the wind in making law. Our vote will not save the United States of America, only mass waves of confession and repentance in the churches will begin to turn the tide of evil in this land.

We now turn to our families and to our churches to each show the way of confession and repentance, and to take responsibility for all the injustices that we have allowed in our name, and worse, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that to any longer participate in this democracy is to betray our profession of faith in the One who is able to protect, provide for, and to keep His people while in the valley of the shadow of death during this evil age. We will submit to the authorities as He has commanded, but we will no longer sign our names to the vile means and aims at work in the places of power.

Justifying this View

First, the old Christian republic has long since passed away, and the Enlightenment constitutional republic that replaced it is also long dead. We have been living in a straight-out democracy for a long time; we are at the mercy of the majority of voters, and the rule of law is a mere phrase in the imaginations of optimistic, flag-waving patriots. Ever since Lincoln denied the South the right to secede, we’ve all been living in a post-constitutional democracy, now fatally compounded by 1,001 unjust decisions by the Supreme Court and Congress.

Second, what is left of law and order in this society is rapidly being folded into the tyranny of a man-centered foundation for law and justice. From the time merchants began arriving on the heels of the first Puritan pilgrims, the law of man (unjust and ghastly in any society) has been warring with the law of God for the central place in American law. We have always been a flawed, inconsistent nation whose lust for happiness has led to countless crimes against God and man (think chattel slavery); yet there has also been a remnant of the Christian instinct to hold our society to the standards and mores of the Scriptures. Now in 2016, this instinct has been suppressed and defaced to the point of utter mockery—we have pretty much fully embraced a culture of corruption, radical subjectivism, and self-serving. Sure, there’s a remnant of Christian and civil people who wish no harm to their neighbor, but we’re outnumbered, and we have almost zero representation in the halls of power.

Even where decent men and women inhabit an office or two somewhere in Washington DC, the system as a whole is oriented toward injustice at every level. There is no saving it. There is no political solution left in these United States. Let’s read that again. There is no political solution left in this nation, or in our individual states. We have been given over to the full measure of our wishes, to have the riches and blessings of freedom and liberty become the slaves of our lusts and evil desires. The only outcome possible for such a people is total slavery and war.

And so let’s talk about what it means for a Christian to vote in 2016. When we vote for federal and state officials, we are explicitly stating with that vote:

–          I believe that participation in this democracy will somehow promote justice and equity under law.

–          I believe that choosing new individuals to occupy these specific federal/state offices will create better representation for me, my family, and my clan of people.

–          I believe that by my vote I am securing my right to redress of grievances, representation in legislation, and financial entitlements.

–          I believe that without my vote I am somehow made responsible for the injustices of the tyrannous majority.

–          I believe that voting pleases my Lord.

And I do not agree with any of these points. I hesitate to attempt to fully bind other Christians’ consciences with this same conviction, so I will simply state how I see things, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you as He does in me.

We are Samson with his eyes scooped out, pushing the Philistine grinding wheel. We have been with the Philistine prostitutes, and our Christian souls have clung to them under the sheets of comfort, entertainment, career, prestige, cultural acceptance, and academic clout. We have been fooled—we have been fools. In this last hour of the American experiment in democracy, I would wish for us to press the pillars of the Philistine temple, to bring down the weight of this corrupt nation upon its head… but unlike with Samson, I am not wishing for the death of our enemies, but only for the end of their sin against our holy God. The only way this world will see its sin is for the church to be the church, and that will require a great cost be paid by us, as it was by Samson in his last act.

If all true Christians in America quit voting, within a short while we would be standing in the place of greatest influence of all people, even while the roof of prosperity and comfort was falling on our own heads. The voting booth is a substitute for Christian courage in this day of moral anarchy.

If I am wrong in my framing of the issue, you are welcome to bring a loving rebuke in the comment section.

In Christian charity,

Adam

 

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Voting

  1. Zach

    Adam…

    I am nearly in total agreement with you on all this. For many of the reasons you’ve stated I will also not be voting in today’s election. I will probably not vote at all, as I am not pleased with my local choices either.

    One area of minor disagreement I would put forth is the following statement from the piece:

    “If all true Christians in America quit voting, within a short while we would be standing in the place of greatest influence of all people, even while the roof of prosperity and comfort was falling on our own heads.”

    Even if we, as the Church situated in these United States, started doing the “right” thing, there is never any guarantee of temporal glory or adulation. It is unfathomable for me to believe that the Church, while in this earthly realm, will experience any form of influence among the peoples. That is a theology of glory that does not have a scriptural foundation. The Church’s theology ought to be one of the cross.

    But… yes, a hearty amen to your view of how Christians should be approaching this election.

    May Christ have mercy on us all…

    Peace of Christ to you,

    Zach

  2. Michael

    I have been struggling with the decision to vote because of what I feel are two very sad choices. I believe that we get the leaders we deserve and that we choose the leaders that best reflect who we are. This is why our present choices are sad to me; because they reflect our own present, corporate spiritual condition. We gave up our ability to vote for the only constitutionally conservative candidate (most closely representing a statesmen) during the primary. I have been delaying my decision, because I had time to do so and so that I could gather as much information as possible prior to making it. I have decided (for reasons I will outline below) that I will be participating in the state and federal elections this year.

    First, you touched on how voting is thought of as a civic or nearly “sacred” duty and spoke to the psychological underpinnings of “how and why” that thinking evolved. You spoke to our dual citizenship and duty to be salt and light. You also spoke about the idolatry of our government both in and outside of the Church.

    I agree with much of this. However, I believe it IS our sacred duty exactly because of our primary citizenship. We are citizens of Christ’s kingdom and hence have been assigned the duty of being salt and light in the world. I suppose this is where we part ways…on the “how”. I think you might be making a leap and/or generalization when you ascribe fear ‘en-masse’ to our motivations. While fear is a legitimate challenge for many people (it is after all the currency of the day), it is not true for me, it is not true for you and I think it is not the motivation for a larger number of people than you think. I agree that the hope of many can be found in the idea of restoring a constitutional, democratic republic and that is certainly a problem in and outside of the church but it is not where I am placing my hope and I know it isn’t where you and a vast number of other Christians are placing theirs. I agree that our problems are spiritual and won’t be solved through more/better legislation etc.
    I also think you may be making a bit of a leap by describing our democracy as a “sham”, our election process as a “rigged game” and our leadership as “oligarchy”. While you certainly can make arguments for these conditions-(as many others have) and while we have definitely been headed in that direction for some time now, one can also argue that we aren’t quite there yet. For instance- we have many poor, corrupt leaders in local, state and federal government but many of them are also voted out of office on a regular basis. This voting is also typically representative of a very small percentage of engaged constituents.
    Like you, I disagree that the primary motives for voting should be to maintain personal peace, comfort and safety (although these things are not bad in and of themselves). Since I do not believe that our hope is in government, Judeo-Christian or otherwise, I do not look to the election to solve all of our problems. And while I fully acknowledge the extent to which our government has run amuck and is full of corruption, I also don’t think this necessitates an all or nothing approach. I do believe incremental changes and improvements are possible and beneficial. For example, one candidate may protect religious freedom and one may actively suppress it. I’d take the former over the latter. One candidate may promote our national sovereignty and another may sell it to our enemies. I’d take the former over the latter. One candidate may promote all forms of infanticide and another candidate may agree to it in some instances. I’d take the latter over the former. If one life was saved, I’d say that is incremental change worth working for.
    Not voting or maintaining “neutrality” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do, could just as well be interpreted as “I don’t care” as it could be a revolt against fear and oppression. If God in his sovereignty placed us in this culture in this time, I think a strong argument can be made that we have been entrusted with the responsibility to vote so that our voices might be heard. It was the deafening silence of the Christian pulpits during WW2 that emboldened Hitler and accelerated the loss of life for both Jews and Gentiles. It is the absence of Christian influence in the world of art, music and film that has left us with so much ugly art, music and film and it is a poor understanding of what that Christian influence should look like that has left us with an unfortunate parallel stream of almost equally ugly “Christian” expressions in these mediums. I do not believe that Christians withdrawing from the political process -namely the vote- will have the positive impact that you think it will.
    I think the primary impact from that will be that we lose our place at the table, lose our voice and diminish our influence which is contrary to our directive. I also think it is difficult for anyone to divine the motives of others so I believe it may be asking too much to expect other voters to understand the reasons behind the absence of the Christian vote.
    Additionally, if the passages from Jeremiah are not being ripped out of context, then we agree that we should be seeking the welfare of the city where we have been placed. I believe this extends beyond local government to the state and national level as the three are related and I also see this as inconsistent with the “Samson approach”. What would their cultures and political systems have looked like were it not for the influence of Daniel or Joseph? What would have happened to Gods people were they not being salt and light at the highest levels of [wicked] government?
    Unsurprisingly, our system is imperfect. The more “Christian” a nation is the more free and wonderful it will be, as evidenced by our history and current prosperity. While we are going the way of most empires, our heritage and the Christian wisdom of our founders made us the most free and prosperous nation in history and that prosperity combined with a Christian ethos has been used to do more good in the world than any other previous nation or people group. I’m under no delusion about what this election may mean for the future and my hope is in Christ’s imminent return not our national future. So with ‘eyes wide open’ I will vote for the candidate who will be most likely to protect and promote individual life and liberty. While there are serious risks involved with voting for the candidate most likely to move in this direction, there are negative guarantees with the other. With the looming judicial appointments on the horizon, and a candidate who has been surrounding himself with political influence that skews more conservative than progressive, I’ll vote hoping for positive, incremental change. Then I will bathe our future in prayer and trust in Gods sovereignty to accomplish His will in our nation, the world and His bride.

    Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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