Being only 25 years of age, the year 2016 presents me with only my second opportunity to participate in a U.S. presidential election. If I have learned anything, especially in the past few months, it’s that this presidential election is a validation of the claims of Paul in Romans 1. I excerpt verses 28-32 and add my own emphases below:
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
The emboldened words above are the items in the checklist that at least one of the two candidates have checked off in one way or another, either once or on regular occasion.
The underlined portion of the text above is to me the fascinating commentary applicable to the 2016 presidential election. Whether it be politicians, or once-respected political radio hosts/commentators, or people in your personal sphere of influence, it is evident that there are people who, for one reason or another, have bowed the knee to one of the Baals and serve either as attack dog or public advocate. Dear reader, it’s one thing to pinch your nose, close your eyes, and vote for a lesser evil, yet it’s another thing entirely to bow in full support and promotion of one of these moral black holes. If you pledge allegiance to Christ, seriously consider whether your allegiance can/should simultaneously be pledged to an anti-Christ.
My intent in this post is to address those who have witnessed the vile and dread voting for one of them. This category is the one in which I formerly found myself, until my consciousness started burning and I decided to abstain from voting in the presidential ballot. This doesn’t mean I will not be visiting the booth on Nov. 8th (rather, mailing in my ballot beforehand), instead, the circles on the page listing the names of Trump and Hillary (and Johnson and Stein) will not be penned in. I give the following argument for why I am not going to vote for a president this year in hopes that the consciousnesses of readers of my blog might become settled knowing that the abstinence option is the best one.
1. Until Christ reigns on His throne during the millennial Kingdom, choices between any governing authorities are always the lesser of evils.
In the 2012 presidential election, I remember on numerous occasions attempting to convince fellow Christians to vote for one candidate who I felt was the lesser of evils. However, in the last year something I realized is that there are, and will be, no candidates who will rule like Christ will rule. Psalm 97:2 says about the coming King Christ that “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne”. And not only will His reign be that of righteousness, but “The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” when they experience His judgments (Isaiah 26:9). In this great Kingdom, people will work with gladness for their provisions, there will be no crying, and disease will be severely restricted (Isaiah 65:17-23). Poor people will be taken care of, and the great King will rescue those who are oppressed and suffer violence (Psalm 72:12-14).
Dearest reader, be not fooled when politicians promise what can only be done when Christ is King. Even your most ideal presidential candidate is still a son of Adam, stained with sin and its effects. Even a follower of Christ, though no longer a slave to sin, still succumbs thereto and, by self admission, is nothing the ruler Christ will be in that great millennial Kingdom.
In some elections, it is easy to identify a lesser evil. In this election, it is my opinion that a lesser evil is a non-starter. For when dealing with the type and depth of depravity presented us in this election, choosing the lesser one is like being at a grocery store and seeing only 2 apples left, both of which are rotten to the core, and purchasing the one that maintains a slight shade of red. In both the real and the hypothetical, it is better to abstain.
2. There is no moral obligation to voting for a president
I have heard the oft-repeated argument by like minded fellow believers that a “government by the people”, like our great country is, requires dutiful citizens to vote for the proper exercise of their authority. Being the servants of God that rulers are, it is their obligation to exercise their authority, but also do it righteously (Romans 13:6). I agree with this sentiment, however I would draw a clearer line as to the extent which a vote-wielding citizen is actually a governor in a constitutional republic. Specifically, the extent is to that which the citizen is a legislator.
What I mean by this is simple – a governing authority in a constitutional republic is one who legislates, or passes laws. We, as Americans, are blessed to do this in a direct fashion in state and local elections, voting yea or nay on “propositions” of new laws. However, this authority is not so easily paralleled in the federal elections, wherein we vote for representatives to act on our behalf as governing authorities, as opposed to voting for the purpose of exercising our own authority as “We, the people”. In voting for representatives, we yield our authority to those who convince us they will govern in a way we most would like to be governed. Yielding authority is not a duty that should be taken any less light than exercising direct authority, but I am persuaded that unless a candidate representative is good enough, he or she is not worthy yielding our authority to.
Briefly contrast our situation with the citizens of North Korea, who are obligated by law to vote. In that situation, I believe it would be a violation of Romans 13:1-2 to not vote. But we in the United States have no such law, and thus, are not under the same obligation.
3. Therefore, it is better to abstain than to vote for a lesser evil
Some might counter my claims by saying “not voting for X is a vote for Y”. To which I agree to some extent, but I argue is a non sequitur in the context of this argument. No matter whether I vote for X or Y in the presidential election this fall, one of the two blithering, unscrupulous, sinful candidates will win and be our next president. One of the two moral black holes will be our representative governing authority, which is an expression of evil if I have ever seen one. So why would we compound evil with another evil by yielding your authority to one of them? Whether we vote for them or not, we as believers will have to submit to whatever new laws they enact, so why add your name to the millions who willingly yield your authority to them?
In other words, we are going to be pushed off the plank anyways, why jump? Why not enjoy the fresh sea air just a bit longer before suffering the suffocating taste of sea water? Why willingly pinch your nose and vote for one of these cesspools and instead enjoy the clean air while the putrid has not overtaken it? Why not choose to remember the hope we have in Christ and His coming Kingdom, and realize the futility of voting for our representatives in government who can’t fulfill any of their promises?
With two last things do I plead with my readers. First, listen to your conscience in this election. It was certainly my hope to better inform your conscience, but if your conscience remains unchanged, I would hope that you still listen to it. God gave us our consciences for a reason, and it is not wise practice to ignore it when it serves as our internal indicator of right and wrong. If we silence that voice, it will not be able to serve its purpose anymore. Second, hope and pray for the return of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. If anything, it should be agreeable that our present situation should cause us to turn our eyes to the future Kingdom, where righteousness will reign and evil will be greatly subdued. It is my hope, that if nothing else, the reader walks away with a longing for Christ’s return, and chooses to live life in light of the reality of His imminent return.