VOTE: A Guide for Christians in The Strange Place - A Post Christian American Election Cycle
The 2020 election cycle is officially upon us. Over the next 17 months, people are going to be talking a lot about who our next president will be. Christians should avoid both the tendency to avoid politics or to over-spiritualize politics. People have long looked for a messiah among political leaders. This was true of Obama in 2008, it is true among Trump supporters today, and it will be true of the Democratic candidate tomorrow. The problem with this type of thinking on both sides of the political aisle is that it tends to deify the political leader that you may be for and to demonize the political leader that you may be against. What Christians must realize is that no political leader can save them or the country and that no party line holds up against the Kingdom of Christ. When Jesus came, he was hated by both the left and right, but both sides also began to follow him. They saw in Jesus a new way, a new King and Kingdom, that was bigger and truer than anything that the most ardent Pharisee or the most pagan Roman had to offer. As Christians, we have been called to this Kingdom and to be more committed to our citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ than we are to any otherworldly citizenship.
Christians in America, however, have been given an amazing responsibility to elect political leaders and even (for some) to become political leaders. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters through the history of the Christian faith would be amazed at the kind of voice and the kind of freedom that our country allows us to have. Considering this responsibility that God in his good providence has given to American Christians, as we begin this election cycle, I think it is important to keep in mind the job of the presidency, i.e., what does the president do? Now obviously the president does many things, but as you consider your vote, consider these seven roles that our constitution gives to the president of the United States and then honestly ask yourself which candidate would do the best job at each other these roles:
The president is to be the chief citizen; in other words, he or she is to be a model citizen for every other citizen.
The president is to be the chief of state which means that he or she is the leader of the country. In many ways, the president is the chief teacher of the country, and in many ways, he or she sets the pace or the morale of the country. He or she has the enormous potential to either unify or divide our country.
The president is the chief diplomat of the United States. He or she is our global representative, and most of the world will view our country through the lens of our president.
The president is the commander in chief. He or she has the responsibility to oversee the military in keeping our country’s citizens safe, but the president also has the almost incalculable responsibility of commanding the strongest military force in the history of the world.
The president is the chief executive. When you elect a president, you don’t just hire one man or woman; you hire 10,000 people who will move to Washington to make up the executive branch of government.
The president is the chief legislator. He or she works with both houses of Congress to pass new laws for the citizens of America that can drastically change our culture and day-to-day lives.
The president has significant influence over the chief justice as he or she appoints the men and women who make up the judicial branch of the federal government. This, of course, includes justices for the Supreme Court and all other Federal judge appointments. In his first term as president, Donald Trump has made 2 Supreme Court appointments, and in the next four years, the president will likely make 2 more appointments.
In considering all of these seven responsibilities, and as we go through the election, vote for the candidate whom you believe will fulfill these duties in the best way.
There is so much at stake in this upcoming presidential election as is the case in any election, and in God’s good plan, he has given you this wonderful responsibility, the vote. It is easy to talk about this election, but it is much harder to own this responsibility that God has given you and make a decision that will have lasting consequences. My hope is that the Christians of this country would be thoughtful, biblical, and humble as we engage in the political process over the next year and a half. I am praying for myself, for my family and friends, and for my fellow Christian citizens of the United States that this wouldn't be a time of panic or discouragement. I am praying in this time that God would grant his church great wisdom, grace, and gratitude as we take hold of the weight of electing our leaders whom He has graciously placed in our hands.
This article is an updated version of an article published on Think Through It in 2016