A Voice... Too Little, Too Late

I realize today is Election Day. 

I realize folks in most states, particularly those with mail-in ballots, have already voted.

I realize much of what you will read below chimes in as too little, too late.

Yet, I also realize I have a voice.  I have stirred quietly in the margins for the last four-ish months with my lips buttoned tight watching my social media feed and listening to voices far and near.  

I have noticed the fighting.
I have noticed the frustration. 
I have noticed the fear.

I have read or skimmed many of the same viral news posts as you.  I have viewed many of the same political commentaries as you.  I have heard the well-known voices; evangelical and otherwise, plead with Americans to vote.  Tactics vary widely…

Don’t waste your vote.
Voting is your moral obligation.
Vote for policies, not personalities.
Vote for the lesser of two evils.

None of these are compelling to me. 

I have prayed a lot over this election season; the candidates, the issues, the stakes (as high or as low as they are).  It doesn’t seem as though I’ve had any special revelation.  But, below are a few bullet point thoughts and ideas that have occurred to me as I have prayed. 

I’ve mulled these thoughts and ideas over and over and tried to make sense of them.  You may or may not make sense of them.  You may or may not agree with me.  You may or may not be offended.  No matter though, here you go…

·        First, a passage that has lingered in my heart and loomed in the election:

26 "So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 10:26-33 ESV)

·       A wasted vote is the one cast in opposition of your conscience.

·        The freedom to vote for whomever one may choose is a God given human dignity.  We just happen to live in a county that affords us the right to express that dignity.  Choosing to buy the lie that you have only two options (Republican and Democrat) and thus your vote is best cast for the lesser of two evils only stirs the polluted waters of partisan politics and waves your freedom to vote your conscience. 

·       I will vote for the candidate whose moral principles and proven values will affect right policy.

·        God already has our president picked.  This is not to say my vote is wasted or doesn’t count.  It is to say, however, my vote counts most fully before God first, and then before men.

·        I have heard much from those aligned with evangelical Christian values that I have a “moral obligation” to vote.  These folks, though well-meaning I’m sure, are so immersed in the political culture that the voice of reason seems to cry louder than the voice of God.  Somewhere along the way their pursuit of being on the winning team and fearing the failing moment of loss has summoned the perceived voice of God to pronounce on me an obligatory burden of moral proportion!  I can’t recall ever reading in my Bible that not voting is a sin.  In fact, I see very little, if any special revelation in the Bible that might presume a moral obligation to vote.  (I am not sure I even see evidence of a form of government in the Bible that promotes voting.)  If none of the candidates align with the moral standard I value and seek after, then isn’t my moral obligation, based on conscience, to not vote?  Folks talk equally as much about being held accountable to what we vote.  Yes.  I agree.  This is precisely why I am very careful not to cast on with a party or a policy or a position.  These things don’t uphold or maintain an ethic.  The politician upholds and maintains the ethic.

·       You can’t vote for a policy and not a personality.  Every policy is enabled by personality.  Personality, inherent in which are morals and ethics, stands in the way of every policy...including judge appointments.

·        My moral obligation is to cast my vote for him or her who aligns most fully with God’s law.  Where no one or nothing aligns, I am not obligated nor compelled (internally or externally) to cast a vote for the “closest option” in an effort to disempower the “furthest option.”  This is a wasted vote.

·        My understanding is voting is a right protected by the constitution.  By “right” we are talking privileges and at best responsibilities.  But by no means are we talking moral obligations.  I must take the rights afforded to me as an American and determine individually, based on my moral principles, what is right and wrong.  Just because it is my “right” or privilege, doesn’t make it right from wrong.  I have the right to an abortion.  I have the right to protest teacher low wages.  I have the right to buy and carry a weapon…  Drive a car, marry another man, build a horseshoe pit, etc.  Just because it’s a “right” doesn’t mean I take it up and use it without first careful thought of moral right and wrong. 

·       Who has given us this freedom we enjoy?  Him who has granted me/us these freedoms is in who my allegiance and devotion remains.  His moral standard shall be my recourse. 
·        Voting itself is not my moral obligation.  Voting for what is right in accord with God’s law is my moral obligation.  If I can discern less right then wrong or less good than evil in this election then I am morally obligated to abstain or be held accountable.

·       A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote that counts for evil none-the-less.

·        What are we doing in even calling out the particular party candidates in question as evil?  Whose is it judge?  Mine?  No thank you.

·        To consider the policies and issues at hand, and subsequently vote for the individual most closely aligned with them is not a good enough reason to vote for an individual.  The candidates do not stand as representatives of policies and issues anymore.  Politics is too far removed from public service.  We must vote for an individual, not a policy or issue in hopes the individual will represent that policy or issue well.    

·        I have no arrogant interest in making my vote count before men first.  I will make my vote count before God first.  He is my highest authority, morally and otherwise.

·       Who, at the end of all things, will decide if your vote was wasted?

·        Voting for the lesser of two evils takes just as much faith if not less than abstaining my vote on the moral principle of not giving voice to evil and entrusting the vote to Him who has the power to destroy all evil in a single breath.

·        I have been disappointed by the large number of evangelical voices propagating the lie of voting for the lesser of two evils and therein stealing the voters’ freedom to vote in accord with the conscience, even if that vote may rest beyond popular party lines.  Let us have more faith than this.

Yes, I did!
Well, there you have it.  Just a smattering of my thoughts and ideas over the course of this election season.  On the off chance that you emerge from these thoughts wishing you had voted otherwise, I am sorry.  My intention is never to sow guilt or regret.  My encouragement to you would be to press into God and seek forgiveness where there may be conviction.  However, I’m sure you stand confident in your vote, and I doubt these scribbles could weigh enough to sway that confidence.


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