The government, the Apostle Paul said, is God's servant for good. When we subject ourselves to the laws of the government we are obedient to God and the opposit is true as well. Paul was writing to the Roman Church whose governing authority was harsh and repressive to believers, and yet he identifies that government as the instrument of God's goodness. Any ultimate wrath is to be left to God, and submission was to characterise the church. We trust government because we trust God.
The American founding fathers did not trust government. They believed it to be intrinsically bent toward corruption and needed checks and balances to keep its power under control. In writing a constitution that places the responsibility of the government in the hands of the govern, our founders placed the church in a difficult position. In Paul's day it was simple, the government made laws and the church obeyed. They had no recourse, no voice, no other option, and when the law conflicted with Christian teaching they submitted to the harsh consequence of conscience.
Today, however, the Church (as individuals) does have a voice and with it a responsibility. The difficulty is a system designed to protect the rights of the few from the power of the many, and yet maintain the voice of the majority, and vise versa. When America was young it was simpler because there was a consensus concerning spiritual and moral belief. And though one can argue whether the founders were Christian, humanists, or digests the reality is that they either had faith in or gave consent to the tenants of the Chrisitan faith. The Christian participated in government with an understanding that government didn't conflict with the fundamental doctrines of its faith, and in fact encouraged and supported it.
That is not true today. At every turn there is moral erosion, rejection of biblical symbols, and persecution of religious faith. The Church is no longer seen as the center of community and cultural life, but has been replaced by education centers and government handouts. The Church is mocked for moral restraint and conviction, and its community charity ignored. If a Christian runs for public office he/she is castigated as a moralistic hater and intolerant. The landscape of America has changed drastically over the past 238 years and we are called to be subject to it.
The difference between Paul's day and ours is that we have a voice. We might not be able to stop the tide of immorality that a cultural of tolerance has allowed, but we have a voice to slow it down. We are still called to be salt and light, beacons of hope in a dark world. We have a voice that doesn't stop at the pulpit or the polls. It is a witness born in every day life, seen by the world, shouted from the house tops, and empowere by the Spirit. We have a voice.
So, Christians shouldn't vote if:
1. They want to be disobedient to God. If obedience to government is being active participants then our vote is a righteous act.
2. They don't want to stem the tide of moral decay. Not every opportunity to vote centers around moral issues, but the people we vote for hold moral positions. Know if they line up with godly perspectives.
3. They don't care if the government continues its over reach of power. We the people are the government. This is often forgotten in the halls of power. If we do nothing then we deserve what we get.
4. They have no charity for their neighbor. Government (us) has a responsibility to the poor, the widow, and the orphan. It use to be the purview of the Church, but is now in the hands of the government, us. If we want to be responsible with the money that is used in our name then we need to vote for people who hold to our values.
There has never been nor will be a government that is perfect, until Jesus returns. Until then we have a responsibity and a previeldge that the Apostle Paul and other disciples never had, to be mover and shakers in our government. Thank you to all the Christians who have chosen to enter the political arena. May the Chruch vote for politicians who will uphold the righteousness of God. Now go vote! I'm just saying..