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Tavern Talk #27: Vote?! HWJV?


Last month we talked about the role of religion and our Christian faith in American civics. This month, we addressed the specific question of voting. What does it mean to vote Christian? What is the Christian vote? Historically, churches have avoided the discussion, for the most part. And that may be a good thing. But nevertheless, people have assumed and presumed how Christians will vote and how they should vote. But what does it mean?

Our Christian duties are summed up by Jesus with the two great commandments: love God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and, love your neighbor as yourself. If these are our guiding principles, then how should they be applied when it comes to voting?

First, why might it be good for churches to avoid the discussion (besides the fact that our tax laws prevent charitable organizations from engaging in political activities)? Well, we should keep government out of churches and out of our religion. That is a founding principle of this nation. And with majority rule, it should lead to longevity for our nation state and our religions. And likewise, we should keep religion out of the government. You can’t legislate morality. And you can’t order people to love God. Even God, who could, doesn’t force us to love him.

Though loving God is difficult to do with or through the government and thus your vote, what about loving your neighbor? That’s a little easier. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving our neighbors through our government. In fact, that is our Christian duty.

If we choose to be Christians, to follow Christ, then we must do it every day, not just on Sundays, not just when it is convenient, and not just when it’s easy. So, when we go to our polling places, we can’t check our Christianity at the door. We must vote as Christians. And how is that? Consistent with our charge – with love. When you vote, think about what Jesus would do. How would Jesus vote? HWJV? That is how we should.

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