As Election Day draws nearer, our country’s political parties begin to ramp up their campaigns. Each respective side sling sound bytes and semi-slanderous campaign ads. In the middle of this political battlefield lie the voters. Some already know which party to side with and emphatically rush to join them, some are weighing their options, while others sit in their foxholes, waiting for the dust to settle. But what do we as Christians do in this presidential firefight? What would Jesus do?
Jesus was asked his opinion on politics, in a way, when the Pharisees confronted him on whether or not they should pay taxes to the Roman government. They showed him a penny with Caesar’s face and name engraved on the coin and Jesus replied, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21 KJV).
Now this verse has been taken a hundred and one different ways but I want to focus on Jesus’ way of responding. It is dismissive. What does the government want? Your money. What does God want us to render to Him? This question is answered a few verses later when Jesus says “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37 KJV). Clearly politics was not Jesus’ first priority.
Now I’m not saying don’t vote, we live in a (mostly) free country here. Exercise those rights! Rulers in Biblical times were decided (mostly) by shedding some blood or by sharing a bloodline. Now the common masses (mostly) get to decide the next leader of this nation, so let’s use this privilege.
It is said baseball is America’s pastime, but our second-favorite game has to be “let’s hate the person in office.” According to Paul in Romans 13, that is not the greatest attitude to have. He says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1 KJV).
“Joe, you mean to tell me that I’m supposed to respect that vile, Bible-hating, freedom-bashing, Philistine of a president?” A concerned citizen cries.
Now I’m not saying one must take them out to a nice, candlelit dinner and tell them their hair looks nice – just respect the office is all, because God put them there. David respected the position of the King of Israel when he refused to slay Saul in the cave, why should we be any different?
“But Joe, how do we vote?”
Let me answer that by telling you how I myself vote. I choose whichever candidate best ensures my right to serve Christ openly is maintained and whichever candidate best supports my Christian worldview. Do they seek to constrict my freedom as a Christian? If so, then they probably won’t get my vote. Simple as that. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “Take up thy cross and vote republican,” or “Go ye therefore and make democrats of all nations.” A lot of prospective presidents love to pander to the “Christian vote,” but do they really mean the words they say?
Above all, let’s just agree to “obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29) ok? Whoever takes the stand as the next president is going to be a flawed and fallen human being like the rest of us. He isn’t going to be our savior or our champion, he’ll be a man. We weren’t called to worship him, so let’s respect his title, give him what’s due and move on to serving God.
So whether you are voting republican, democrat, or flying meatball monsters from Mars, know that our sovereign God decides the true outcome. Although I would be wary of voting for the flying meatball monster party, they tend to lean hard to the left.