One week from today, millions of Americans will head to the polls to elect the 45th President of the United States. Among those millions of Americans will be a multitude of Christians wishing to make their voices heard. I know many Christians who plan to vote for Mr. Trump, and I know several who plan to vote for Secretary Clinton. Some Christians believe they most vote for the candidate who espouses conservative moral views—pro-life, opposed to gay marriage, and the like. Other Christians believe those moral issues need to be changed by preaching Jesus and feel quite comfortable voting for candidates that would make their fellow Christians cringe. How should a Christian vote?
I believe with all of my heart that Christians must vote as their conscience dictates. We dare not defile our conscience:
When Paul was before Felix, he said, “I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (Acts 24:16).
“Some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled” (1 Cor 8:7).
Timothy, Paul said, need to hold “faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Tim 1:19).
When you vote on Tuesday (if you intend to vote), make sure that you vote consistently with your conscience. Don’t get so caught up in the flashy commercials or empty promises that you vote for a candidate in violation of your conscience.
It’s not always the easiest thing to vote your conscience, I understand. Maybe voting for the candidate consistent with your conscience means supporting a candidate you know will not win. Maybe voting your conscience means casting a ballot for a candidate with whom you disagree on many political issues but with whom you agree on what you believe are weightier, more important issues.
I know from firsthand experience how difficult voting your conscience can be. In 2008, I could not vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama with a clear conscience. John McCain did not have a good moral fiber and he waffled on issues important to me, and Barack Obama supported a morality I simply could not stomach. Therefore, I voted for Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party’s nominee. Baldwin received just under 200,000 votes and came in at only 0.15%. Some would say that I wasted my vote because Baldwin had no chance of winning, but I do not see voting one’s conscience as a wasted vote. I see a wasted vote as one where a person fails to vote his/her conscience.
I fully know that consciences are not always the best guides; Paul, while murdering Christians, had a clear conscience (Acts 23:1). However, when we train our consciences according to the Word of God, they can prove valuable tools for navigating through this world. Paul, in a discussion of eating meat offered to idols, said that some violated their conscience because they did not have proper knowledge (1 Cor 8:7); if these weak Christians had known the Word of God, their consciences would not have been violated. If we know the Word of God, our consciences can indeed be trustworthy.
When you vote next Tuesday, make sure you vote according to your conscience. Tomorrow, we’ll think about some ways to train our consciences to make right decisions. Until then, God bless!