As your pastor, I will not tell you who to support with your privileged of voting. As you pastor, I WILL tell you HOW to vote.
As a nation that is free to govern ourselves, we can only do so with great virtue, and virtue demands a strong faith. I suggest that the reverse leads us into the crazy, chaos we experience today. When we replace grace with tolerance and love with correctness we not only leave out the need for God, we also become slaves instead of servants.
Below are the voices of those who helped shape our constitution:
- “If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion,” Benjamin Franklin said, “what would they be without it?” 1
- “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being,” George Washington wrote, “and it is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being.” 2
- “We have no government armed with powers capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion,” John Adams wrote. “Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 3
- “Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance,” John Jay wrote about the importance of faith for virtue, “men are certain to shed their responsibilities for licentiousness and this great experiment will surely be doomed.” 4
- “The only surety for a permanent foundation of virtue is religion,” Abigail Adams wrote. “Let this important truth be engraved upon your heart.” 5
- “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are violated but with his wrath? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” 6
- “Is there no virtue among us?” James Madison asked. “If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks— no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government can secure liberty or happiness without virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.” 7
- “The wise politician,” Alexander Hamilton wrote, “knows that morality overthrown (and morality must fall with religion), the terrors of despotism can alone curb the impetuous passions of man, and confine him within the bounds of social duty.”8
Our task as people of Jesus Christ is to transform the world by making disciples of Jesus, living as the presence of Christ in the world, and call for the government to be blessed and shaped by our faith. This is our task in voting. This nation was not formed on the plurality of faiths; rather it is the diversity of voices within the Judaeo-Christian faith that leads to freedom to walk with God as know in the garden of paradise.
This election cycle that has been filled with the vilest and most corrupt journey of people who are begging to lead an enslaved, spoon-fed entertainment nation and at war over words, rather than working and seeking our highest values and ideas, lived out with all our neighbors.
Therefore, from the gutter of frustration, fear, and failure, I invite you to pray for our country. Pray for the influence we might have on all the world when we are strong in faith, virtue and freedom. Listen to God’s call for healing where we see suffering, joy where we see sorry and resurrection where we are hopeless. Pray for our leaders now and those who will be our leaders. We need to be great at working together. This is accomplished through God.
These are the questions that guide my voting in this wearisome time:
- How will God best be glorified by my actions of voting or not voting?
- No matter who is elected, God remains supreme no matter what the laws, courts or polls might indicate.
- I am I Christian, and I can only vote through the perspective of my faith.
- Who has the better opportunity to end government corruption? (For two years this has been the country’s greatest fear. https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/2016/10/11/americas-top-fears-2016)
- If I do not vote, I am still responsible for actions of those who do. (25 million Christian voters did not vote four years ago. The 2012 election was decided by only 5 million votes. Vote your heart in Christ. Not voting is not acceptable.)
- Prayerful and reflective voting that listens to God’s guiding is an act of faithful participation in shaping the entire world. You matter to God; your part is upholding that faith, that will shape the virtues, will determine if we are more or less free to live out our faith. It is not the government’s role to protect our faith; it is our faith that shapes our nation and the world.
“What of those who are not Christian in our nation,” some will say. I say, “live the love of Christ so that they find God’s strength, grace and unconditional love for them through you.
Other will say, “I do not want our leaders to be elected by voting against someone.” I reply, “None of us are perfect, and we all share a part in allowing the mess we now experience.” The remedy is not to run away, hide nor abstain, rather it is in the vacuum of virtue that our faith can more clearly step-up and lead.
So, go pray for God to guide you even if you don’t agree with God. God is not a politician. God is with us through the journey and the struggle. Take the lead in guiding others to God and then allow our path to follow God’s leading in all we do, including our voting.
You pastor voted this early this week. I hope you will do the same. Invite a dozen folks to vote. We are in this great work together. God will be with us, always.
1) Benjamin Franklin, “Letter to Unknown,” 3 July 1786, in The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 9, ed. Albert Henry Smyth (New York: Macmillan, 1906), 522.
2) George Washington, Maxims of George Washington (New York: Appleton, 1894), 341.
3) John Adams, “Address to the Military,” 11 October 1798, in America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, William J. Federer (Coppell, Tex.: Fame Publishing, 1994), 10.
4) John Jay, “Address to the American Bible Society, May 9, 1822,” The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 4 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1794) 484.
5) O. E. Fuller, Brave Men and Women: Their Struggles, Failures, and Triumphs, (Chicago: H. J. Smith, 1884), 42-43.
6) David Waldstreicher, ed., Notes on the State of Virginia, (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 195.
7) James Madison, “Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,” 20 June 1788, in Advice to My Country (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1997), 24.
8) Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1904), 277.