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Theological Grounding on Voting

In Matthew 6:10, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray, “May your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In a democratic society where elected leaders are decided through a free and fair electoral process, casting a ballot is one way to see God’s will done in our communities (on earth) as it is in heaven. Non-participation in the voting process is not a matter of salvation; however, it is an issue of stewardship. It is an opportunity to demonstrate care for one another’s well-being and safeguard the common good in our society, a calling that is just and holy. 

As Christians, we hold fast to our belief in the imago dei, that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. As such, we believe that all people are equal and should be treated with dignity, including within the laws that govern our nation. Isaiah 10:1–2 is one of many biblical warnings against unjust laws and God’s displeasure with those who take advantage of the most vulnerable: “Woe to those who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, to make widows their spoil and to plunder orphans!” 

Sacred scriptures teach us the imperative of protecting and caring for the most vulnerable and looking out for our neighbors. In Matthew 25:42–45 we read that whatever is done to the “least of these,” whether good or bad, is being done as if to Christ. In a democracy, voting is an important way Christians can demonstrate concern not only for the most vulnerable and marginalized among us, but for the good of all. Voting is a way to bear witness to our faith in the public square.


Voting has at times been equated with having a voice in government and with elected officials: Our vote is our voice. Elected leaders determine the laws, policies, and direction of the country. Therefore, Christians have a responsibility to vote for those who support our values and interests in the common good, even if they do not share our faith. 


As a part of our stewardship in a democracy, Christians have an obligation to make the most educated decision possible about who will represent our concerns on the local, state, and national levels. The voting booth is how we can participate in making sure there are leaders who will enact laws for the common good that do justice and love mercy; care for the most vulnerable in our society; ensure, to the extent possible, that our government lives up to this nation’s ideals by the people and for all the people; and, perhaps most significantly, hold leaders accountable. 


Civil rights leader, ordained Baptist minister and 17-term (34 years) Congressman John R. Lewis once said, “The vote is precious, it is almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society. And we have to use it.”

This election year, and in every election, may it be so.