How Do Christians Vote?

November 5, 2012

Romans 12:12

"Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you're in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

Some say that true Christians will vote for this candidate but definitely not that one; this political party but never the other one; or only this way on a particular ballot measure or referendum.

That is, some say there is a Christian position. Maybe, but I'm not so sure.

My thought about how Christians ought to participate in elections is this: with passion and with humility. In pretty much equal doses. Passion for life and passion for justice. Passion about the things and people we believe in. Passion for our nation and communities.

And humility - because none of us knows the truth whole and unimpaired. None of us - people of faith should be the first to acknowledge - know fully the mind of God. Humility that is able to say, "You may be right; I may be wrong."

Theologian H. Richard Niebuhr once advised, "Take your stand, and pray for forgiveness." Take a stand. You must decide. You must act. You and I must listen, pray for guidance, and then choose on the great and small issues of our day.

Yet, as we do so, we also pray for forgiveness because we know that none of us has the whole and absolute truth. We know, as Christians, that even our best acts are marred by self-interest.

How do Christians vote? I don't believe there is a Christian party or candidate and I would be wary of those that claim they are that. This doesn't, however, mean faith has no bearing on voting or politics. It's less a matter of what and who and more a matter of how. Our faith leads us to engage in life and elections in a particular way: with great passion and deep humility.

Prayer

As we prepare to vote tomorrow, give us both - passion for the things and people we believe in; and humility for all what we don't and cannot know. Amen.

About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.

Click to order Hark! Advent Devotionals 2012 from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.

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