Obama or Romney: Who Should a Christian Vote For?

Once in awhile someone asks me or implies that Christians should vote for one particular candidate over another. I vehemently disagree with this point of view in almost every situation I can imagine. Rather, I would say all citizens, including Christians, have a responsibility to be as informed as possible about the issues and to vote. Their decision should be based on their best effort to determine the issues, and to listen to their consciences. Unfortunately, too often, the most responsible vote requires choosing the lesser of two evils. Nevertheless, choose we must.

I value prayer as part of the discernment process for me, not as an infallible guide but as a resource to help me to sort out my own thinking and values. We have to be careful not to identify one or two issues as the whole measure of whether a candidate is acceptable to Christians. Rather, our responsibility is to vote for the candidate and party that, on the whole, will best serve the interests of our country at this time, under the current circumstances.

Then, from the perspective of faith, we must also put our hope in what God is doing—not to elevate one candidate over another, but to produce the kinds of changes needed at a deeper level within individuals and society. One of the students at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, where I am currently teaching, sent me a link to a very interesting essay written by an Asian-American pastor on Christians and voting. In it he urges Christians to look beyond the candidates to God, the one who is continually at work for good in the world, no matter who wins. Looking to God is not instead of voting, rolling up our sleeves, or otherwise working hard to alleviate suffering and provide better governance. Praying and seeking God’s help is acknowledging our limitations and our dependency on God to change our hearts and minds in ways we don’t seem to be able to do very easily on our own.

Our country and world are in mess, but that is not exactly news or a modern phenomenon. Since the beginning of human history, we have been continually in a struggle to make the world a better place amid so many destructive forces both within us and among us. We need to do all we can to address the plethora of challenges facing us, but no American politician is going to be the Savior of the world. That role belongs to Jesus Christ, and no matter who wins the election, we are going to need all the help we can get from him.

Jesus at Saint Suplice, Paris

May God give each of us the ability to be a good citizen at this critical time, and to increasingly let the love of Christ flow through us to others all the time.

A Prayer from the Apostle Paul

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” —Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV)

7 Comments

Filed under What Will Make a Difference?

7 responses to “Obama or Romney: Who Should a Christian Vote For?

  1. Bob Kimberly

    Tim, I agree with your basic message that a vote, especially a prayful vote, is important and nescesary. I do feel that in this case who one votes for will make a difference and that is what one’s vote should be based on. I’m not talking about the man, but what the man stands for. We need to determine what we want America to look like for our children, and then vote for the party that will come closest to getting us there. In this election the two futures of the country are quite different, and therefore the outcome will be very different.

    • Jean

      In other words, Bob, our Christian responsibility is informed and intelligent discernment concerning those two different futures…right?

  2. Tim Linton in Door County

    Amen, Tim. Your words echo my own thoughts and help me to realize our focus should always be on God’s ultimate power. We still need be informed of the issues, ask God for discernment, pray, pray, pray again, and no matter what the outcome of the election is we always want to share God’s love with others.

  3. Dan Bowles

    Tim – Right on. (Nonetheless, you probably know for whom I plan to vote.)

    God bless, Dan

  4. Thai Luong Quoc, Vietnam

    your country has two parties for the presidency.
    you do not have another option. So to me, let’s consider the background of that candidate: who has the heart for God and His fruit of Holy Spirit, then Christians should vote for.

  5. Richard

    Tim,
    Good article! if I were an American, I will vote the candidate who will work with God.

    Richard,
    MIT

  6. “Our country and world are in mess, but that is not exactly news or a modern phenomenon. Since the beginning of human history, we have been continually in a struggle to make the world a better place amid so many destructive forces both within us and among us. We need to do all we can to address the plethora of challenges facing us”

    So true!
    Thanks for you insights Tim!

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