Vote! But bear in mind what your vote really does.

God’s kingdom is not a democracy.

True, when we talk about repentance, turning to Jesus, voluntarily following him, and our free will, it sounds like our choices have a lot to do with Jesus’s reign as king. And they do… for now. ’Cause for now, Jesus lets humanity choose sides.

Once he returns, it’s to take possession of a world he’s already conquered, and finally run it right. People at that time will no longer have the final say about their rulers; Jesus will. And they definitely no longer get to choose the man in charge: Every knee’s gonna bow to Jesus. Pp 2.10-11

If that sounds disturbing or terrifying to you, it’s probably because you don’t know Jesus. Don’t worry; he’s awesome. We his followers suck, and definitely don’t represent him properly. And his partisan followers, of every political party round the world, are the very worst of us.

Every election year, these partisans try to get out the vote. Everybody tells us to vote. Even churches who absolutely won’t endorse candidates (and rightly so; that pulpit is to promote God’s kingdom, not earthly ones) will still endorse the act of voting: “Christians need to get to the polls and vote our values.” We’re encouraged to vote for all the candidates which “stand with God.” We’re told our votes make a difference; that when we Christians vote, we’ve contributed towards making our country more Christian.

But once again: God’s kingdom is not a democracy. And God doesn’t endorse any other ruler but Jesus.

Christians will point to the bible and claim God did so endorse human rulers, like Abraham, Moses, the judges, certain kings, and certain head priests. But we fail to recognize God’s leadership structure is entirely different from our democracies. When God appointed or backed a ruler, it was with the understanding God’s the real ruler, and this human on the throne was his employee. (All things considered, pretty messed-up employees too.) But in democracies, our rulers work for us. They’re to do as we want.

This belief our democratically elected leaders will work for God, is pure campaign rhetoric. They will not. Even the most earnest of ’em will work for what they think God wants… which conveniently seems to be exactly what the party wants, which means they’ve been projecting an awful lot of their politics upon God. So whenever we get a politician who claims to be on God’s side, we’ve either got someone who doesn’t really know God, or is a giant hypocrite. The non-hypocrites in politics will recognize from the very start, “I work for you.” (Now, whether that “you” is the voters or the lobbies, is another thing.)

Unfortunately many Christians have totally fallen for the hypocrites. Remember when Jesus talked about fakes fooling people?

Matthew 24.24 KJV
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

I used to think, “How are they ever gonna fool us Christians?” But Christianist politicians fool us every election year. Fooled me for a lot of years.

So am I telling you not to vote? No. Vote. It’s your civic duty to vote for leaders who will do the most good… or, as it typically happens, the least evil. And as Christians who are called to love our neighbors, vote in the national interest; don’t just vote for your own interests, as far too many always do. Much of the reason for our messed-up culture is because it’s based on selfishness instead of selflessness, and our votes reflect this all too well.

But don’t delude yourself into thinking your vote, your candidate, our leadership, and our government, is our salvation. We have one savior, and it’s Jesus. Put your hope in him, not whichever yutz the electorate picks this time around. And if your particular yutz loses the race, stop acting like the world’s gonna end! It was always gonna end. But Jesus makes all things new.

Voting and the Christian’s civic responsibility.

For too many Christians, we get the attitude all we need do to make our country more Christian, is vote. Vote for Christians, or pro-Christians, or people who are no Christian at all yet will nominate conservative Supreme Court justices. Rejoice when they’re elected, as if they’re the best hope for our country. Then, till the next election, sit on our behinds and complain about how, even though we voted for plenty of pro-Christians, our country is somehow still going to hell… so next time we need to really push for more pro-Christians in office!

It’s a ridiculous spiral. But it sucks many an unwitting Christian into partisanship: The delusion that change will come through this system, instead of through the Lord. That we can use the system, and politicians, as tools of the Lord.

But politics is the pursuit of power. And power corrupts. It’s corrupted many a Christian. Even the best of us. The late Billy Graham actually took money, which Christians like me had sent him to preach Jesus to the lost, and spent it on political ads to promote one blackguard or another.

Democratic governments are based upon human power, and our votes are simply forms of collective human depravity. That’s why our governments, even the best ones, are inherently opposed to Jesus. It’s why he has to overthrow them when he returns. Our governments will not, and never will, make nations or humanity any more Christian. Whenever they try, they just create legalism instead of Christians.

Only the Holy Spirit can revive a nation. And the few times he uses government to further this, it’s because he has to manipulate the system. More often he triggers a revival in the people, and the government (for once) follows the people. But it means if you want the nation to follow Jesus, it ain’t gonna happen through government, or politicians, or votes. They won’t do that. Will not. If you put your hopes in civics and voting and government, you’ve put your hope in the wrong Lord.

Government is a necessary evil. So, when we vote, we’re voting for the lesser of two or more evils. What every Christian should be doing, is recognize our duty in minimizing the evil in this world, and in our government. That’s why Christians oughta vote: Not because government’s gonna ever further God’s kingdom, for it doesn’t. We just gotta keep it from furthering hell.

Neither should we foolishly pin all our hopes on the outcome of any election. No election is “the most important one you will ever vote in.” For our hope is in Jesus. Nothing else.