I hear the lament often from conservative Christians as I travel the country. “How can I vote for either of these candidates with a clear conscience?” Increasingly, many Christians are choosing the stay-at-home option (or throw away their vote with a write-in candidate option) as a way to maintain their integrity. Frankly, I understand the appeal of such a choice. But there are three reasons that not voting is not an option for a Christian.
1. Voting is a God-given privilege and responsibility.
Many times I’m challenged by Christians who wonder why I am involved in politics. “After all, didn’t the apostle Paul instruct believers to simply ‘pray for kings and all those who are in authority’?” But remember, in biblical times, citizens of Rome or Israel did not have the option of doing anything about government leaders except to pray for them. You didn’t get to vote for the king or emperor.
But as John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and co-author of The Federalist Papers said, “God has given to our people the choice of their leaders . . . of our Christian nation.”
2. Voting is a primary way for Christians to stop evil.
Imagine you saw an elderly woman being assaulted by a mugger and you had the ability to stop the assault, but walked away. Although you might not be legally culpable for the attack, you would be morally culpable.
Every year more than one million of the most defenseless in our society – the unborn – are being murdered through abortion. Since the legalization of abortion by the Supreme Court, more than 50 million children have been killed.
Donald Trump has pledged to nominate Supreme Court justices who will either overturn Roe v. Wade or at least curtail late-term abortions including the horrific practice of partial birth abortion.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton has pledged to nominate justices who will uphold abortion. Additionally, she refuses to place any restrictions on abortion, regardless of the reason for or the timing of the abortion.
The war against religious liberty will escalate under Hillary Clinton, who is resolved to nominate Supreme Court justices who embrace an expansionist view of the Constitution. She will push for continuation of Obama policies of transgenger rights, as well.
3. Voting is about endorsing policies, not personalities.
Ronald Reagan was a known womanizer during his days in Hollywood and would be the first divorced president in history. Yet, in 1980 evangelicals overwhelmingly supported Reagan over a Baptist Sunday School teacher named Jimmy Carter, who faithfully married one woman.
By supporting Reagan, evangelicals were not supporting womanizing or divorce, but they were endorsing Reagan’s policies.
I’ve been amazed at the number of conservative evangelicals who have developed a case of selective amnesia when it comes to their support of previous candidates with imperfect pasts, whether it be Reagan, McCain, Bush, Gingrich, or a host of others.
There are no perfect politicians – just as there are no perfect pastors or voters. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. But the fallibility of both candidates in this election – as in every election – is no excuse for not voting.
I will be the first to admit that the sanctity of life and the preservation of religious freedom are not even among the top ten concerns for most voters. But those issues should be of primary concern to those who call themselves Christians.
About the Author
Robert Jeffress is the Senior Pastor of Dallas’ historic First Baptist Church. He is also a best-selling author and frequent guest on Fox News.