Government

How Then Shall We Vote?

From Theologically Driven. Posted with permission.

With the election hard upon us, it is a good time to be reminded that nothing we do can rightly be divorced from the sufficient governance of Christian Scripture. No pockets of neutrality exist in any sphere of life, including our politics. While the battery of issues facing voters today is exceedingly complex, one option always proves better than the rest—and it is safe to say that were the incarnate God to join us in the polling booth next week, he would be able, in his perfect wisdom, to discern in every case the best possible option in view of all the facts available.

Of course, we possess neither all the facts nor the wisdom necessary to perfectly harmonize and synthesize those facts. As a result, we Christians tend to vote provincially, and we do not all vote the same. This does not mean (necessarily) that one voting bloc is sinning and the other is not. Still, moral ought does exist in politics: there are some choices that are better than others, and some choices that are flat out wrong.

Most Christians will admit this, conceding that the Bible should inform our voting decisions at some level. We can’t vote for a platform of pure evil. But platforms of pure evil are rare: all candidates exhibit at least some common grace, and a goodly percentage of them are sincere in pursuing what is, at least in their best opinion, most advantageous to their jurisdiction or to the country. Read more about How Then Shall We Vote?

Defending Diversity in Our Unity

E pluribus unum! The seal of the United States bears this Latin motto meaning “out of many one.” It expresses our heritage as a free society. We form a unified nation comprised of citizens representing diverse ethnicities, languages, customs, values, and religious convictions. Our union is not achieved despite our diversity; our diversity strengthens our union, much as a compound of chemicals forms a stronger substance.

Achieving and maintaining unity amidst diversity is a delicate undertaking, particularly in the realm of religious belief. I offer here a few reflections on that project.

Since 1791, our government has assumed the role of protecting freedom of conscience in religious matters. The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights restricts governing authorities from enacting laws or wielding influence that necessitates or encourages religious conformity, and/or prohibits citizens from freely exercising any religious belief not employed as a cover for illegal activity. The government is to remain neutral on religion, while securing and protecting the freedom of all citizens to embrace any religion their conscience approves, or none at all.

In the history of nations, such liberty is a fresh concept. In ages past, nations viewed religious belief similarly to the way free societies view taxation today; namely, it was the duty of governing authorities to dictate terms to their subjects. When our government imposes taxes upon us, most of us dutifully comply without asking a lot of questions. Innocuous grumbling abounds, but we accept the necessity of taxation and the reality that nonconformity leads to prosecution. Read more about Defending Diversity in Our Unity

Can We Celebrate Independence without Celebrating Armed Rebellion?

First appeared at SI in July of 2011.

Something doesn’t add up. We refer to July 4 as Independence Day. We refer to the war that followed as the Revolutionary War. But if we viewed ourselves as independent of British rule on July 4, how could we have engaged in revolution after July 4? Revolution normally precedes independence. Either the day or the war is a misnomer.

For Christians the incongruity raises deeper questions. Given the response to government that Scripture requires, shouldn’t we oppose the whole idea of revolution, regardless of the circumstances? And if we’re opposed to revolution, can we rejoice in independence?

The Bible and revolution

Genesis 9 is understood by many to represent God’s re-founding of the institution of human government. The NT emphasizes submission to that institution as our Christian duty.

And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him. (Mark 12:16–17)

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work… (Titus 3:1)

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:13–15)

Read more about Can We Celebrate Independence without Celebrating Armed Rebellion?

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