The Christian Voter’s Guide

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice:
but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

~ Proverbs 29:2

As Christian citizens, we sometimes wonder what the extent of our involvement with the civil government of our country should be. Usually, election time sparks a renewed interest in this issue. In this article I would like to consider especially one aspect of civil involvement—voting. Voting is one means by which we may be involved and help to elect leaders that will cause “the people” to “rejoice.”

Our text makes it obvious that we have a certain interest in the government of our land. The people can be made to “rejoice” or “mourn” by those in authority. Our government can affect us positively or negatively. In fact, our leaders have a profound power to impact our lives morally, socially, and economically. They can affect us as citizens, as churches, and as families. The government can encroach on our freedoms through expansive government, complex regulations, and burdensome taxes, or we may enjoy more liberty with a small, limited government that stays within its proper jurisdiction.

In America, we have a representative republic. The magistrates are elected to office by the citizenry of this country. This means that every adult citizen has the privilege of voting in elections. In light of our text, it would be foolish not to vote because of apathy or irresponsibility.

Perhaps, some do not make use of this privilege because voting can seem to be such an overwhelming endeavor. There are so many candidates and offices and it is hard to find reliable information. We can simplify things somewhat when we consider that each voter elects roughly about sixteen key candidates to public office on the national, state, and local levels combined. The overall number may vary given a person’s exact location, e.g. if a person lives outside of an incorporated city, he will not vote for a mayor, city councilman, etc.

We can elect five candidates on the national level—a president, a vice president, two senators, and a congressman. We can elect about five candidates on the state level—a governor, a lieutenant governor, an attorney general, a senator, and one or more representatives. Depending on the place of residence, we may elect about six candidates on the local level—a mayor, a city councilman, a city attorney, the school board, a county supervisor, and a sheriff.

These are the key public office holders that we may vote for. We elect them and pay their salaries with our taxes. They are supposed to be servants of the public and representative of their constituency. They should especially represent us morally.

When we consider the number of offices that we are responsible for, it is not such a large task to be informed of this small number of people. This brings us to the question of how we are to determine a candidate’s suitability for office. Is there some reliable guide by which we can make determinations of how fit a candidate is for the office he seeks? Yes, there is such a guide; the Bible is the best Christian voter’s guide.

Let us now look into our guide and see if we can find help for the voting dilemma. Let us consider two main questions and as we proceed, I will also try to address some common questions and difficulties we meet with as Christians trying to vote with a clear conscience.

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