I’ve cast a ballot in every election for which I was eligible since turning 18. But this year, I’m choosing not to vote for any of the candidates running for President. Here’s why . . .
- Hope for the future.
The campaigns talked a lot about the future. Each candidate would have us believe that the surest way to a safe, prosperous future is to cast our vote in his/her direction. Voting for the opposition, on the other hand, is a supposed death knell to freedom and security.
None of them can deliver on the promise of a safe, prosperous future. None of them. The President is not the hope of the future. Nor is America. The hope of the future is Jesus.
God will take your vote, your best intention, and work it into his purpose. But don’t confuse that with thinking that God needs you to cast your vote in one way or another. God doesn’t need your vote. God doesn’t need a particular party to be elected into office. God doesn’t need any of that because God is complete without those things. God will accomplish his purposes in spite of, not because of, the choices we make individually and corporately. That will be true regardless of who is elected now, or in the future.
- An exercise in freedom.
I’ve had some say to me that choosing not to vote is an affront to all those men and women who died to secure that right. I disagree. Choosing not to vote is an exercise of that very freedom.
As a white male, I’ve never been disenfranchised. I’m keenly aware of that, and mindful of the great lengths that women and people of color have gone to in order to gain the right to be heard and counted. Sometimes my privilege is a blinder and I work quite hard to see around it.
Part of freedom is the ability to choose from a variety of options. When it comes to voting in a free election, there always exists the choice to NOT vote. Compulsion to vote voids freedom.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve observed a growing sense of urgency to get people to the polls. This happens every election through phone banks and door-to-door evangelists of both candidates. Yet this year it seems that Christians and churches on both sides of the political spectrum amped up their efforts to compel people to vote out of religious duty.
Voting is not the kind of worship God desires. There is nothing you can do at the polling place that will make God love you any more, or cause him to love you any less. Nor will he be disappointed with you if you choose not to vote.
- Relationship with you.
Few things seem as divisive to relationships as politics (and religion!). I have friends and family who believe strongly in the platforms of both major parties. During an election year especially, these platforms end up becoming a lens through which they evaluate their relationships with others.
I want you to know that I’m not for you or against you because of which way you choose to vote. I’m for you because I love you. Our relationship matters more than any administration.
By choosing not to vote for President, I will be unable to say that “my” candidate won or lost. There is great freedom in that. None of the candidates are mine, nor do I belong to any of them.
As the election results come in, I will watch with interest. A great drama is unfolding on a national stage. It is hard not to pay attention. But regardless of the result, I know that God’s purposes will be accomplished. He will bend and twist even these most visible and contested threads into his great tapestry.