Honor, Privilege, Duty

Americans are blessed to have a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But democracy has one key requirement: our participation.

The most basic democratic participation is voting, yet it can also have the most profound impact. When you vote, you help determine who will lead our nation, make our laws and protect our liberties.

More than a right, voting is a privilege that millions of people in other parts of the world can only dream about. Still, many Americans choose not to vote.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as many as 35 percent of eligible Americans are not registered to vote – that’s 45 to 65 million people! Less than half of the voting-age population actually votes in any given election.

What’s worse, Christians often vote at an alarmingly low rate. It is estimated that about 50 percent of evangelical Christians actually bother to vote in any given election. When people of faith fail to vote, is it any wonder that policies are enacted that are contrary to believers’ core values?

The Influence of Faith

Our faith in God should influence our values in life, and includes the political arena. We shouldn’t be bashful about injecting notions of right and wrong into public debates. These ideas come from moral standards, which help prevent a free society such as ours from sliding into social chaos. People of faith, grounded in moral truth, must be prepared to discern those candidates best able to uphold moral values.

As Christ’s representatives on earth, we are under a mandate to be “salt and light” in our culture (Matthew 5:13-16). Dr. James Dobson has said, “We live in a representative form of government where we are its leaders. It means that every citizen has a responsibility to participate in the decisions that are made, and that includes people of faith using their influence for what is moral and just.”

Voting Your Values

Here’s more sobering news: Many believers fail to consider their biblical values when voting, often choosing candidates whose positions are at odds with their own beliefs, convictions, and values. A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions.

The Ministry of Voting

That’s right. Your vote can be a form of ministry. After all, when you vote, you are directly and indirectly impacting people’s lives. By the people you select and the ballot measures you support, you are making a practical difference – for good and bad – in the lives of:

  • unborn children (abortion policy)
  • impressionable youth (pornography laws & education policy)
  • husbands and wives (marriage & divorce laws)
  • hurting souls (religious freedom laws)

And that’s only the beginning. So this election year, prayerfully resolve to:

1) Be registered
2) Be informed
3) Vote your values

(Source: Why Christians Should … VOTE, Focus on the Family)