Historian David Barton reminds us that voting is a vital means to upholding Biblical principles in our nation.
Should Christians be active in civil government? The Word of God speaks very clearly on this issue. First Timothy 2:1–2 amp says, First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility.
Nowhere else in the Bible are we told to pray “first of all” for anyone. That tells us that God must think highly of government—so highly, in fact, that twice in Romans 13:4 rulers are referred to as ministers of God.
One of the most frequently quoted Bible verses during the era in which the United States was founded was Proverbs 29:2 kjv: When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
In many nations, this verse is simply a statement of fact—a country has righteous rulers or it has wicked rulers. But in the United States, this verse is a statement of responsibility. The only way the righteous can rule in America is for us—“we the people”—to elect them.
Both a privilege and a responsibility
For Americans, voting is a privilege because it gives us a voice that many people in other nations simply do not have. But voting is also a duty. It’s part of good citizenship. And for Christians in particular, it’s an important way of being the “salt and light” in our culture that Matthew 5:13–14 speaks of.
The well-known 19th century preacher Rev. Charles Finney talked about the Christian’s responsibility to participate in the political process. He said, “The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics…Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently…God cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground.” We as Christians can and should take every opportunity to help place and keep righteous rulers in authority in our country.
Your vote matters— spiritually as well as politically
Our political and religious forefathers clearly believed that Christians had a spiritual and civic duty to vote. Consider, for example, the words of Rev. Matthias Burnet, pastor of the First Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1803:
“Finally, ye…whose high prerogative it is, to raise up, or pull down, to invest with office and authority, or to withhold them, and in whose power it is to save or destroy your country, consider well the important trust and distinguishing privileges which God and nature have put into your hands. To God and posterity you are accountable for them.” The right to vote has been placed in our hands, and we are accountable for what we do with it.
The future is in your hands
James A. Garfield, a minister of the Gospel and the twentieth President of the United States, once wrote, “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”
There is a direct correlation between Christian voter turnout and the percentage of elected leaders who embrace and reflect basic Biblical values. In other words, if we want our government to be godly, we must play a role in making it godly.
The future of the United States is in our hands. As Christians, it is both our privilege and our duty to go to the polls on Election Day and vote on biblical principles. If we do that, I believe we can turn this nation around.