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To vote or not to vote

Why do some believers choose not to vote?

In a related story, The Christian Chronicle reports on 21st century David Lipscombs who plan to skip the 2020 presidential election.

Here, more Christians discuss the Lipscomb approach:

“I do not vote in national elections, based on the teachings I see in the Bible regarding the nature of nations of this world. … The hope for the future of this world does not lie with politicians nor political parties. The world will try to convince us that every election is the most important, the most critical, the one that will determine everyone’s future. We need a broader view that sees God as being in control no matter who holds any particular political office. Our options are never limited to those offered to us by the world. That is, we should never feel forced to choose the lesser of two evils, for that is still evil.” — Timothy Archer, elder, University Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas

Related: Trump vs. Biden: How to keep politics from dividing Christians

“My grandparents in Nashville — Robert Loyd Scobey Sr. and Corinne Spence Scobey — never voted because they were adherents of David Lipscomb’s view. They were born in the late 1890s and lived until about 1980. They were founding members of the (now-closed) Chapel Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville. My parents and my husband, Ken, and I are actively interested in politics and vote regularly.” — Lindy Adams, member, Dayspring Church of Christ in Edmond, Okla.

“I am familiar with Lipscomb and his views. I am not sure I completely agree that all Christians should completely cease voting and involvement with civil government, but I have chosen a similar position for myself, and I certainly believe the church needs to have a more moderate view of politics. By that I mean that politics, although it perhaps can produce some good, is largely a distraction and negative influence on Christians and their light and has limited value for advancing the kingdom of God, and the church needs to recognize that.” — Clint Howard, Harrison Church of Christ in Arkansas

“I very much agree with Lipscomb’s views, and I find that viewpoint echoed in the Bible frequently. Satan is the ruler of this world, and his kingdoms coerce people with force.  Jesus’ kingdom is a kingdom of peace, not a kingdom of coercion. God uses the evil actions of the world’s kingdoms to bring about his will just as he used Judas and Nebuchadnezzar, but that does not mean that he ratifies their evil actions or will not punish them for those actions.” — David Blackstone, deacon, Broad Street Church of Christ in Mineola, Texas

Related: Abortion vs. character

“I choose to not vote as a form of protest. While I believe that the best reflection of the theology of church and kingdom supports non-participation, I’m not convinced it requires it. So a part of my decision to not vote is to protest the partisan politics and the coarseness of public discourse Into which our electoral system has degenerated.” — Johnny Melton, pulpit and elder, Nor-Dan Church of Christ in Danville, Va.

“The partisan nature of the parties seems to be at an all time high in my lifetime. I do not feel the parties are putting forth their brightest nor strongest leaders. An election in which it appears the accepted mantra is casting a vote against the other side is an election I feel my best response is not to participate. … While I am aware of Lipscomb’s stand, I have never deeply investigated his rationale for these views. As I get older, however, I am coming around to his basic conclusions about involvement with civil government.” — Ken Richter, pulpit minister, Soldier Creek Church of Christ in Piedmont, Okla.

“I believe that your vote is to help the community and fellow man in needs that sometimes the church cannot. … To vote is to stop others’ rights from being stepped on. Our voice in the church matters when we show up instead of wearing the truth on our sleeves.” — Diane Johnson, member, Imperial Highway Church of Christ in Downey, Calif.

“I decided in 2014 to no longer participate in the electoral process of this nation after realizing that my convictions and desires for what a Christian nation should look like or stand for were not being met by any of the parties. I then began to read my Bible closer and realized that when I was baptized I gave my allegiance to the King, the God of heaven and creator of all things. I consider myself an alien in a foreign land now and long for the day when I can go home.” — Clay Mason, founder of The Way, a Church of Christ mission effort in Trinidad, Colo.

Related: Elephant in the pews: Is the GOP the party of Churches of Christ?

“I would rather have someone be mad at me for not voting than think I am their enemy or opponent for choosing a side they disagree with, no matter the side. We are citizens of a kingdom much more important than the U.S.A. and, if for any reason I might have to choose between serving my king by making disciples or participating in government, I’ll choose my king and his kingdom every time.” — Jordan Shirley, member, North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tenn. 

“I’m less and less convinced that either political party is worthy of a believer’s vote and more and more convinced that the platforms they claim to believe in mostly take advantage of voters’ prejudices and fears to allow candidates to hold on to power rather than help those who are most in need of help in our world. God demands righteousness and justice from those in power so that those who are marginalized will be protected and so that society will be characterized by fairness and peace. Instead, I see candidates appeal to voters’ fears and preoccupation with their own rights, and even Christian voters are deceived by it. I’m starting to think it’s an abandonment of our witness to the power of the Gospel to ally ourselves with political parties, even by voting.” — Patrick Odum, elder and minister, Northwest Church of Christ in Chicago

Filed under: 2020 presidential campaign 2020 presidential race christians and politics David Lipscomb Donald Trump Joe Biden National politics President Donald Trump President Trump Trump Vice President Joe Biden voting

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