To whom are we Christians, as American citizens, accountable regarding our votes this and every November?
I raise the question because I’ve seen all sorts of contentions on the subject as November approaches. The legacy media is still desperately scrambling to hang onto their past influence–demanding that no one be elected whom they do not approve. The usual would-be prophets are still demanding our attendance on the “right” side of history. And I’ve see some pretty bonkers stuff, like claiming that whites need to justify themselves if they vote differently than blacks.
But who exactly do we need to justify ourselves to when we cast our votes? In other words, under whose authority do American citizens vote? There are answers, but they aren’t the ones we usually hear about.
This one is, of course, a no-brainer, but the things we take for granted are the things we’re most likely to forget, so here it is. We have been given a certain measure of authority when we vote. But all authority comes from God, and all who wield it are accountable for whether they fulfill the responsibilities that come with it.
To be sure, God does not give us a particular party or candidate to vote for each election. Rather, he calls us to excercise good judgment in a fallen world in which there are no perfect governments. Our goals is to do our best to establish a just peace in our nation. Like any parent, God knows that honest mistakes in such an endeavor are part of the cost of granting agency.
All the same, we are still accountable to him for that judgment, for he has given us wisdom and reason. If you vote in facilitation of the murder of millions of unborn children, genital mutilation for gender-confused children, riots, anti-Christian prejudice, theft, and such… well, then you need to account for why it was worth it to your Heavenly Father. Likewise, if you vote for someone who is kind of mean, relatively boorish, and might possibly be “racist” in the way that national borders are “racist”, then you will need to account for that as well. One of those is going to be harder than the other.
And don’t think any of the usual worldly slogans or virtue-signaling will avail you before the Almighty. We have been called to make sound judgments, not to parrot what the world tells us.
Our Household Authority
Beneath God Himself, He has established another authority to which Christians may need to answer for their votes: the father of their household. This question came up a few times after my article on submission. Does submission mean that wives should vote the same way as their husbands? In general, the answer to that should be yes.
The entire reason we have government in the first place is to create an environment in which households thrive. We need someplace with relative peace, trust, and responsibility in which we aren’t constantly being robbed, murdered, raped, and swindled by one-another. The authority our governmental institutions wield is effectively household authority that has been delegated en masse.
Now, in America, voting is the method by which that delegation is carried out. So in the end, voting is an exercise of household authority and therefore is a household decision rather than a personal one. Accordingly, wives should vote alongside their husbands rather than in contradiction to them–at least as long as it’s in line with God’s explicit commands, for we all must obey God rather than man. But politics is usually not a matter of gross ungodliness, but rather a matter of judgement calls (though there can be issues of open and gross evil like abortion that are different.)
And no, this isn’t supposed to look like the husband issuing a proclamation from on high which his wife silently and thoughtlessly awaits. As with all submission, the ideal is for all parties to find a way for everyone to actually be on the same page and genuinely agree on how to vote. That is what we strive for–not by endless political arguments in which we attempt to badger one-another, but by seeking to understand one-another’s concerns for the family and working together to find the best way to meet all of those concerns.
Even so, ideals are what they are, and this may or may not be possible every election. When it is not, then we must submit to the one whom God has placed in authority over the household–and he will have to account to God for the way that he directs it.
And by the way, this applies to grown children who still live with their parents as well. If your parents are still responsible for feeding, clothing, and sheltering you, then you are still under their authority in that household even if you are of voting age. And really, it just makes sense: If your lifestyle depends on their wisdom, skill, and labor in fruitfully directing their household, how can you blithely undermine them as they carry out that responsibility? When you establish a household of your own, then you too will need to exercise the responsibility and authority that they have. Until you accept responsibility, you cannot claim authority.
Previous Generations of Americans
We usually get this backwards today. When people insist that we put ourselves on the right side of history, they’re speaking of an unknown future–a speculative fiction born from their own imaginations. There’s little point in accepting such a dubious authority.
Instead, when we consider history’s judgments, we should be looking to the past. After all, our vocations as citizens did not spring up out of the ground when we were born. We did not create them ex nihilo. They were passed down to us by those who came before. There is no authority we possess which was not granted to us by our forefathers.
Accordingly, we have a responsibility to care for what they’ve left to us. While we need not do everything exactly the way they would have, we do need to respect their values and purposes so that we are guided by them. So are you voting in a way that will “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”? Do you even define those words in much the same way as our founding fathers did? If we want to kludge some kind of re-purposing of the government they left to us, then we must beware.
Nations and their governments are organic rather than mechanical, so they will naturally change over time. This is all well and good. Nevertheless, pruning branches to make room for new growth or even removing diseased limbs is one thing. Uprooting the entire tree to cast it into the fire is another. There may be times when such drastic steps become necessary for there are times when nations and government die. But when they die at our own hands, we are accountable for that choice.
If we deny and reject our past, then we also deny and reject the very authority we inherited. Take that away by trying to institute Year Zero and we cease to be citizens voting–instead becoming nothing more than beggars squabbling with each other over crusts of bread.
So Christians, as you prepare to go to the polls in two weeks, consider yourselves as ones under authority. Use your God-given wisdom to care for this nation and her people. Search for the best way to establish a just peace in America. Respect and care for our heritage, Submit yourselves to God and anyone He may have placed in authority over you.
But don’t give into the those who try to shame you into submitting to false authorities by throwing about meaningless labels and worldly indictments. There is no perfection in politics, but sometimes there is true evil. Don’t accept false equivalencies between the two. Remember the One you serve; and forsake the prince of this world from whom you have been freed. Pray to God that you would govern your families and this nation well.