In early November all Americans have the privilege to vote in not only for the current President of the United States, but also State legislators and other governing authorities throughout the nation. Voting is important as citizens of the nation vote for representatives to govern over their districts and cities and to promote order that would benefit the citizens of the counties, states, and country they represent. However, there has been much growing tension across the United States as there are some in the country who are convinced the the President of the United States currently is a danger and threat to our nation (there were even some who regarded the President as an enemy of the State). On the other side there are citizens who believe that the President promotes the values of America and has done much for the citizens of the United States. On the hand there are others who believe that the current candidate Joe Biden representing the Democrat Party would be an alternative to the current President. This may cause angst and confusion on who to vote for what candidate would best promote the ideas of America. How would one know who to choose? What would be the standard to guide an individual on who to vote for and what policies to vote for?
The United States of America is guided by a document known as the United States Constitution, (the ratification of this document was in 1788) It is the document that details the role of the authorities and how they would govern, which is outlined in the introduction below:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, 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 ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The government of the United States was established for several purposes: to establish justice (for the governing authorities to do what is just and equitable for the citizens within the country), insure domestic tranquility (to promote peace and civility within the borders of the country) provide for the common defence (to protect the citizens from enemies internal and external) and promote the general welfare (to seek and serve the citizens from any evil or destruction) and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity (to protect the a person's ability and right to pursue their own interest for the benefit of their fellow man and for generations to come).
A document that was added to the Constitution four years later was the Bill of Rights (which were ratified in 1791). This particular document detailed the rights of the citizens and how the government's power is limited, endorsing the goals that were outlined in the introduction to the Constitution. The amendments of the Bill of Rights include, but are not limited to the following: The prohibition of a State religion, the government's restriction to prohibit the worship of religion, and the right to peacefully petition the government for various grievances (First Amendment). The right to self-defense and preservation of one's existence (Second Amendment). The right not to quarter soldiers during peace time, which promoted the idea of private property (Third Amendment), and the right not to have a citizen's home and property seized without probable cause (Forth Amendment). The purpose of the government, as outlined by the founders of the United States, was to promote good activity of its citizens and and punish evil.
When it comes to Biblical Christianity and voting there are two things to keep in mind. First, one should be reminded that who a person elects to be a governing authority should not be a determining factor on whether a person is a Christian or not. Christianity is not determined by who a person elects to govern, but if a person is convinced that Jesus was who he said He was and what He has done for humanity (John 3:16-17; 1 John 2:1-2).
Second a person's personal life, depending not the situation, may not automatically disqualify them from being elected. Biblical Christianity understands humanity is under the born with the sin nature (c.f., Romans 3:23), and that those who do not have the Biblical worldview, even those who demonstrate a moral and ethical dispostion still conduct themselves according to the nature of the evil one (c.f., Ephesians 2:2-3). Furthermore, Biblical Christianity instructs that believers, if they are not careful, can exhibit conduct that is not consistent with their new identity (c.f., Galatians 5:16-26). The standard a citizen should use to determine whether a person is qualified to be a governing authority in the United States should be the founding document of the county, which outlines the responsibility and rights that the official should be promoting and upholding.
In addition, when it comes to voting for governing authorities one should always vote their conscience. This is a right and an opportunity a citizen has in the United States of America. However, one's conscience alone does not guarantee that a citizen is informed in their voting. An individual should vote with an informed conscience by referring to the founding document of the country, coroborrating thier philosophy of governing with the Constitution. A citizen should not use a preferential lifestance that becomes the standard to vote for an elected official and not the objective document of the country. For people who adhere to a Biblical perspective the most important quality that a person should look for in a person who is seeking to govern is if one has a strong concept of justice (c.f., Rom. 13:1-7).
If the Constitution is to be the standard by which the citizens of the United States are to measure those who are seeking to be governing authorities this also requires the citizenry be personally responsible to be informed on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This includes the document's history, the motivations for why it was drafted by the Founders, and the overall purpose of the document. The reason why this document has been preserved over the centuries is those who established this country were not expecting only those who were seeking public office to know the document, but were expecting the citizens who vote for the canditates to be knowledgable of the Constitution.
The United States of America, whether you like it or not, is a unique country with a unique form of government. Never in the history of the world has been a government where the citizens of that country get to elect their governing authorities. Never in the history of the world has there been a process established where the citizens of the country have within their founding document the ability to peaceably assemble and speak publicly against their own government, or even for the citizens to be able to defend themselves against a government that seek to terrorize and enslave its citizens. Never in human history has there been a check and balance of powers within the branches of government so if one of them fails to live up to the standard of the principles enshrined in the country's document the other branches can inhibit their power.
What if a person running for office is a new candidate? The citizens of the country should examine the candidate's personal philosophy of governance against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights before they earn that person's vote. How about if the candidate is already holding an elected office? The citizens should review their voting record, and this should be examined against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. What about an official who is already serving in public office is not promoting the ideals the founding document? The citizens should excercise their rights enshrined in the Constitution by which the citizens can remove them.
The grace of Christianity, found in the pages of Scripture is not about political platforms and politics, but in the work of God to atone for the sin of humanity, and offer reconcilition to God through the good news of Christ for all human beings. Furthermore the Scriptures do not discuss the idea and process of voting for governing authorities. However, when it comes to those who cast their ballots and choose candidates, ones philosophy does play a role in this activity, and believers ought to be guided by who will promote justice properly, which is consistent with the word of God and the U.S. Constitution. The Founders established the Constitution and passed it to the citizens to preserve and use as a guide to examine candidates for public service. From the office of the President, Senate, and Representatives, and even a seat in the city council. When one informs their conscience in this manner, one can vote with a clear conscience knowing they are acting and thinking in the way the system was intended to function.
Until next time...
Soli Deo Gloria!