To Vote, Or Not To Vote
In the scriptures, we find no mention of Republicans and Democrats, but in the United States these two political parties play major roles in governing our nation. The New Testament reveals a similar party system among the Jews; the Pharisees and Sadducees. It probably isn't difficult to see similarities between Pharisees and Republicans, and between Sadducees and Democrats. Interestingly, the Apostle Paul called himself “...a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee,” in Acts 23:6. Paul was one who was always focused on adhering to the commandments of the Law. In Acts 26:5 Paul identified the Pharisees as the “strictest sect of our religion.” So, could we not say that Pharisees were the conservatives of their day and Sadducees, who did not believe in spirits or the resurrection, the liberals? I will get to the voting part soon.
Liberal politics, in very recent times, has, among other things, led to marriages among homosexuals (nothing “gay” about it), and the continual defense of abortions, making infanticide appear less offensive than using plastic shopping bags at the grocery store. There should be no doubt that liberalism, in our nation's politics, is leading us on a downward spiraling path of moral degradation.
Are conservative politics any better than liberal? Do we think that Pharisees held more closely to matters of the Law than Sadducees did? Well,...yes, but also no. Jesus, who judges the hearts, told His disciples, in Matthew 16:6, to “...take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Our Lord, in Luke 11:1 defines “leaven” as hypocrisy, and in Matthew 16:12 the disciples come to understand that “leaven” is the “doctrine” of both parties. It should not go unnoticed that Jesus called the Pharisees, and Scribes, hypocrites seven times in Matthew chapter 23. As if seven were not enough, Jesus, in Luke 11:44 says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them." After reading this verse I have a renewed sense of caution, even with politicians who claim to be conservative. We truly have no idea what we are “walk(ing) over.” But we can beware of their leaven (hypocrisy and doctrine).
So...what are we to think about politicians and those in authority? In truth, the authorities that exist, including the systems of government, are in place according to God's will (Romans 13). In Matthew 23:3, Jesus instructed the Jews to “...observe and do...” “...whatever they (scribes and Pharisees) tell you to observe.” He didn't leave it at that though. He also instructed them, “...do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. So, it would always be good for us to “observe and do” what those in authority instruct us to do, but not to get caught up in their hypocrisy. We should also abstain from their “doctrine” if they abuse their authority and make laws that violate the higher power of God.
What about voting? Should we, or shouldn't we?
Our government is a republic and our leaders are chosen through a democratic process of elections and voting. Since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Romans 13:1), then we must logically conclude that voting is the method by which God is appointing leaders in this country. If Mathias could be selected as an Apostle through the casting of lots (by the eleven existing apostles), then surely God can appoint leaders in the United States through the people voting.
Another consideration about voting comes up when we observe that several people in political circles have suggested that we vote with our conscience. As Christians, we must give heed to our conscience because it is a gift from God for guiding us in life's decisions. If in our thinking we have determined to only vote for the perfect human being, then our conscience will always tell us not to vote. The reason for this is that Jesus was the only perfect person who walked upon this earth. So, realistically we must realize that any person we vote for is going to be very far from perfect. I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can vote without violating my conscience is to vote for the best option rather than voting for the best person. The Apostle Paul adds clarity to my decision as he gives reason for why we should pray for those in authority. He writes to Timothy, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (I Tim. 2:1-3) So, in conclusion, my voting will always be for the “option” that I see is best to provide the atmosphere that Paul described. I do so with prayer and hopefulness, as I am only a human who knows that God's will is the true determining factor.