If we are called to be a nonpatriotic people, one of the questions that logically flows out of that is...do we vote? Should we vote? Should we be part of the governmental process?
The world would love it right now if I said no. They would. They would love it if Christians would just retreat into our little theological bubbles and leave "America" alone. They would love it if we would "stop trying to legislate our morality" because "you can't make everyone Christian by force of law."
And the world would be right...and the world would be wrong.
As Christians, we do have an imperative to vote. God wants us to be part of the country and culture where we are living. It's okay to want to shape our society in ways that we know help to bring about life and life abundant. Remember, God told His people to pray for the peace and prosperity of Babylon, and He even implied that they should work for it. He told them to build their homes there and set up their lives and plan to stay awhile. And that means, it's okay to be part of the fabric of Babylon.
As long as we remember that Babylon is not our home; it's just where we're living for a little while.
Praying for the peace and prosperity of the places that we live necessarily means acting for the peace and prosperity of the places where we live. James said that faith without works is nothing. The Bible tells us that if we see someone hungry and naked and in need, and we just tell them that God wishes them well, it isn't enough; we have to offer them food and clothing and provision, or else, we're just windbags.
If we live in America, but don't attempt to meet her needs and help her navigate her challenges, we're just windbags. So yes, we vote.
And the world says, okay, you vote, but stop trying to legislate your morality. Stop trying to make laws based on your Christian understandings. Stop voting Christians into office to represent you. That's not the way politics works.
Except that's exactly the way that politics works.
Everyone who votes votes out of their own conscience, and therefore, they vote out of whatever guides their conscience. For Christians, that is God. (At least, it's supposed to be.) For the world, that's "science" or "humanism" or even hedonism. But the fact remains that everyone has a foundational understanding through which they view the world, and even if it's not on the basis of God, everyone who votes is attempting to legislate their morality.
It's the morality of the world that women should be able to use abortion as a form of birth control, that babies should be legally aborted for no other reason than that the mother doesn't want them. It's the morality of the world that homosexual marriage should be legal. It's the morality of the world, in an increasing number of places, that certain illicit substances should be legalized. It's the morality of the world, a certain segment of it, that healthcare should be free for all. And the world will even tell you that for them, these are moral issues.
And in the very same breath, tell you that you don't have a right to vote your morality. For no other reason than because your morality is rooted in a God this world is tired of being convicted by.
Can you imagine if you didn't vote your morality? If you didn't vote according to that internal compass through which you see the world? How could you possibly vote at all? How can you cast a vote if not on the basis of something that you believe in? It doesn't make any sense. The world doesn't expect itself to do that, so there's no ground on which they can reasonably expect you to do it.
This is the cultural tension of our time, and it's growing. The world is so at odds with the ways of God that it is seeking to shut them down entirely, to tell Christians they have no standing in the public square - that their beliefs are the only ones not welcome here. The world's feathers are ruffled when a morality that is against its prevailing tides, that grounds itself in something different, gains even a little ground, despite the fact that voting still shows that we are a country roughly half-and-half - that is, half of this country doesn't buy into the world's prevailing notions, but the world keeps continuing to write them off.
One of the arguments that the world keeps using in trying to tell us that we shouldn't vote our morality and that we have no standing in the public square is the idea of the "separation of church and state," which is written into our very foundation as as a country. But is that legitimate?
We'll wrap up our political discussion by looking at this idea tomorrow.