How Do You Vote? Voting our Conscience as Christians

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Voting our conscience as Christians includes the potential conclusion that God might have us refrain from voting. The lesser of two evils, unfortunately, still has us voting for evil. In the event that none of the candidates satisfy our thirst for justice and hunger for righteousness, than not voting could be a viable option.

But a more important point about our vote should be made: our “vote” is just as important the day before and the day after Election Day. Our everyday actions are votes for and against things: what we eat, where we pursue education, and how we care for our bodies are all political actions that vote for some things and against others. Even our money that does not go to a candidate or their many Political Action Committees (PACs) has a political significance.

Therefore, “Who did you vote for?” is the wrong question to ask. Instead, the real question is “How do you vote?” since voting is on-going, not restricted merely to Election Day, but also to the work day, Veterans Day, and every other day of the year. What Francis of Assisi said of preaching is equally true of voting; do it without ceasing, and do it on Election Day only when necessary.

Related: The Impossibility of Being President and Following Jesus

I am not saying that our electoral vote is worthless, but it is not as ultimate as campaign ads would have you believe. How you voted yesterday and how you will vote tomorrow, is just as important. What products, ideas, and activities you sanction before and after you fill that little circle in or pull that lever are every bit as politically significant.

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Here is where it gets even more tricky. One of the most direct passages that deals with how Christians will be judged is the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 31-46). The sheep are surprised to be called good and faithful servants. The goats, on the other hand, expected to be saved and were not. The difference was not in what the goats did, but what they failed to do. Even our inactivity is a vote, as it indicates what is underneath the surface of our characters – it points to the orientation of our hearts. If our hearts are right, it takes no thought to do good, as it is part of who we are, to be good is in our very nature. But if our hearts are weak, if our character is not very strong, we overlook things that we are commanded by God to notice: the widows, the orphans, the sick, the imprisoned, the vulnerable.

How you vote everyday reflects your character and how it has been formed. If you think voting has more to do with a pencil or a lever, I urge you to pause and consider how else you might vote your conscience, on Election Day only when necessary.


Logan Mehl-Laituri is an Iraq veteran and a student in the theological studies program at Duke Divinity School, where he is a founding member of Milites Christi. He also acts as the Executive Officer of Centurion’s Guild and is the author of Reborn on the Fourth of July (InterVarsity Press, 2012).

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Logan Mehl-Laituri

Logan Mehl-LaituriLogan Mehl-Laituri is an Iraq veteran and a student in the theological studies program at Duke Divinity School, where he is a founding member of Milites Christi. He also acts as the Executive Officer of Centurion's Guild. Logan is the author of Reborn on the Fourth of July (InterVarsity Press, 2012). and, most recently, For God and Country (In That Order) (Herald Press, 2013).View all posts by Logan Mehl-Laituri →

  • Frank

    Did you vote Democratic in support the killing of over 21,000 unborn innocent lives this week,, mostly for reasons of convenience or did you vote to stop it?

    • Drew

      You don’t care about abortion otherwise you’d stop trolling and do something about it. Faith without works is dead, and trolling is not works.

      • Frank

        Yawn. When you have something relevant to say let us know. And if you think I have nothing relevant to say feel free to ignore my posts. I won’t lose sleep over it.

        Meanwhile over 21,000 unborn innocent lives this week were killed, mostly for reasons of convenience or did you vote to stop it or are you complicit?

        • Drew

          Stop trolling. Faith without works is dead. If you read your Bible and worked to reduce abortion, instead of trolling, the world would be a better place, and you would be a better Christian.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeepNarcosis William J. Green

    This election is NOT about the “lesser of two evils.” It is about good vs. evil. NOT absolute good vs absolute evil — that’s God’s sole purview. But the difference between LIFE (Romney) and DEATH (Obama) because the former opposes filicide and the latter loves it, going so far as to refer to his prenatal grandchildren as “punishments.”

    It is about LIBERTY vs Tyranny, and we are Creator endowed with the right to Liberty, as we are to Life. Obama wants to tyrannize people of faith and conscience with a TAX (actually 21 taxes) that forces people to contribute to evil behaviors that God forbids, not the least of which are abortifacients and ABORTIONS; Romney opposes these, Obama has staked his entire political career upon them.

    And then there’s solemnized homosexuality under the guise of God-given marriage between a man, who will leave his mother and father, and cling to his WIFE, and the TWO will become ONE FLESH.

    And it is about the pursuit of HAPPINESS which can NOT occur APART from LIFE and LIBERTY. One must make it out alive from the womb in order to LIVE, and one can NOT be constrained against one’s moral and religious conscience and convictions and enjoy Liberty. Obama governs NOT based upon what the Constitution MANDATES him and Congress as contained in Article I, Section 8, otherwise known as the Enumerated Powers, but based more upon “emanations of penumbrae” — what’s NOT actually found within the text but what mostly Godless or unGodly judges found HIDDEN in the unwritten shadows of the Constitution which are no more real than ghosts, goblins and zombies.

    In short, this election is about either “Voting for love of country” or VOTING for REVENGE, Romney and Obama’s closing arguments, respectively.

    Do you know for WHAT and AGAINST whom Obama wants you to vote for REVENGE? Especially after the venerable John Adams, our 2nd President, adjured us:

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, REVENGE or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

    Vote in favor of our CREATOR endowed unalienable rights to LIFE, LIBERTY, and the unfettered by BIG, immoral government pursuit of HAPPINESS!

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4968912860246&set=a.1247528587965.2038630.1221949455&type=1&theater

    BUT, thank you for your service to our nation. Much obliged. We are in your debt!

    • Jonathan

      Fundamentalists always make it a “black and white”/ “either or” issue, and I’m not talking about race. “the difference between LIFE (Romney {White}) and DEATH (Obama {Black})”
      —-
      One of the most fascinating aspects of Jesus’ ministry is that when people tried to force him to weigh in on either-or issues, he always managed to point out a third alternative — the kingdom alternative.

      • Frank

        There is nothing about abortion that is part of the Kingdom of God. So if you are interested in bringing about the Kingdom of God abortion must be a non-negotiable.

        • Jonathan

          True that abortion is not of the Kingdom, but it is not as black and white as voting for Romney equals life and voting for Obama equals death.

          • Jonathan

            My point is fundamentalists on either side push it to such extremes.

          • Frank

            One candidate is of a party that at worse celebrates the ability to choose to kill the unborn and at best is ambivalent about it. So it seems pretty black and white to me.

          • Jonathan

            Just because you believe that people should be able to choose, doesn’t mean that you hope that people do.

          • Frank

            Hope does not work. Action does.

          • Jonathan

            I always wind up in semantic battles with your type. The only extreme i s a failure to see another side.

          • Jonathan

            Semantic diversion tactics come off as patronizing and self important.

          • Frank

            The other side has abortion on demand in their platform. The other side keeps trying to convince me that there are more important issues for a Christian other than upholding Gods gift of life. I have seen the other side and I think I’ll stay on this side.

          • Jonathan

            Exactly.

          • Jonathan

            Maybe not that there are more important issues, but they aren’t the only 2 issues (gay marriage and abortion). Maybe we just don’t believe you have the lock on all the answers to “upholding Gods gift of life.”

          • Jonathan

            Do you think that people who vote for Obama or vote Democrat don’t care about life?

          • Frank

            Its hypocritical and disingenuous to say you support life when you allow over 21,000 unborn innocent children to be killed each week mostly due to reasons of convenience.

          • Drew

            Frank makes two errors. The first error is that he loses sight of the fact that people can have the same objective but different ways to get there. The second error he makes is that he firmly believes that voting every four years and internet trolling is the pinnacle of Christendom; he confuses inaction and inadequate action with real, substantive action. When Frank tries less to troll and demonize, and tries more to get off his butt and get involved with pregnancy crisis centers and other ways that are proven to help reduce abortion, he will be a better Christian. In the meantime, his inaction and worship of the Republican Party (TM) over Christ is troubling.

        • http://twitter.com/covjack Jack Brown

          Your statement seems to imply that voting is how we “bring about the Kingdom of God.” The kingdom will not emanate from Washington…it begins in the church.

          • Frank

            I agree! And any Christians who voted Democratic are complicit in the over 21,000 innocent unborn lives killed each week mostly for reasons of convenience.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000699994198 David Reynolds

            Frank, I totally disagree with you, and I am against abortion.

            1. When has a Republican president ever repealed an abortion law? Why weren’t they all repealed in Bush’s term…as an example. If they do not, then the Republicans are not only pro abortion, they are lying about being anti-abortion. I suggest that this is more evil, and more pro abortion.

            2.There is an abundance of evidence that suggests that making abortion illegal has nil (maybe even negative), effect on abortion rates. What happens in countries where abortion is illegal is that underground abortion clinics open up, often run by criminal syndicates. These clinics are often unsafe. So now, we not only have the same number of abortions, but we are now risking the lives of women, scarcely pro life, and we are supporting crime. I can’t come at that.

            3. There is an abundance of evidence that among factors that do effect the rate of abortion, socio-economic circumstances and the confidence of a safe supportive future, rank highly. Ergo, if reducing abortion is honestly important to you (and not just a poorly disguised flag to fly at the head of your Republican nonsense), you should be looking at providing a long term, safe, secure environment for parents, especially single moms. They should know that they have lifetime access to healthcare, food, shelter, support and education…..regardless of their personal economic circumstances.

            If you truly wish to reduce the abortion rate (I honestly have my doubts), then this is the course that we know will work. Legislation we; a. know doesn’t work and b. is just angry men trying to force their morality on vulnerable women.
            Think about it before you post your next knucklehead response.

        • http://twitter.com/NativeSonKY NativeSonKY

          President Obama has very little to do with whether or not abortion stays legal. That is a state issue and is dependent upon the Supreme Court for the most part. Also, President Obama has NEVER owned a company and made money off of abortions as has Mitt Romney and Bain with their investments in Stericycle, a company that disposes of aborted fetuses. So, at least Mr. Obama hasn’t put profit before principles as has Mr. Romney. Single issue voters seem to be a lot more uninformed than others.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      William, when will you stop setting up politicians as substitutes for Christ? Trust not in men, nor in the princes of men. Claiming that Romney would have saved us from the terror that is now due to us is the sign of poor theology and a soul that is stuck in worldliness.

  • Athena

    Just because you may not agree completely with either side doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote. We have the priviledge in America to be able to choose who we want to run our country – a priviledge shared by few others. To not exercise that power is to disrespect all the sacrifices and effort our predecessors gave to give us this opportunity. I would hope that as Christians we are able to be leaders, and that we strive to make informed choices at the polls today. No candidate will ever be perfect, but it is always possible to make a choice based on what you believe to be most important.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeepNarcosis William J. Green

    “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

    – Alexis de Tocqueville

    Filicide and demanding Christians pay for it; solemnized homosexuality under the rubric of God-given marriage; annual $1 Trillion deficits; $16 Trillion dollar debt scheduled to hit $22 Trillion under Obama; $1 Trillion spent annually by federal and state governments on welfare, food stamps, and Obama Bucks & Fones; paying for women’s IUDs, abortifacients, and abortions is NOT moderation. It is exactly what our framers forbade and Alexis de Tocqueville followed up and warned about. We have devolved from a Rule of Law Republic to a morally and fiscally bankrupt Democracy and democracies cannot last. Without national repentance our implosion is near certain.

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” — John Adams

    It is NOT that our founders were wrong it is that by our moral and fiscal profligacy we’re proving them RIGHT; our nation moved, not them.

    Listen again to de Tocqueville above and learn our fate, and then consider Jefferson:

    1. A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.

    2. Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

    3. I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.

    4. I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

    5. It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.

    6. Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society.

    7. My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

    8. Never spend your money before you have earned it.

    9. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    10. To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

    11. When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

    12. That government is best which governs the least.

    13. But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years?

    14. I place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.

    15. We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds…[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers… And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]… till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery… And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000699994198 David Reynolds

      Mr Cut and Pasty strikes again……I nodded off half way through the second paragraph. How did it end?

  • Redpalacebullsox

    Remember to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. We are part of a community called the United States of America. this community relies on the full participation of its citizens in order to ensure that all who live within her boundaries have,,,”that all are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pusuit of happiness.” For an American citizen, voting is both a right and a responsibility that is ll to often taken lightly. I would also point out that Article VI does not recognize a conflict between government and religion, they are to be kept separate. Its third paragraph, second clause reads, “…but no religious Test shall ever be required for an office or Public Trust under the United States.”

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