Is It A Sin To Not Vote?

trump-hillaryIs it a sin to not vote? That’s a question I’ve been asked now twice in the last week.

I can understand why. This year’s presidential election has turned into a circus. A large percentage of the American electorate is frustrated with both major party candidates. Christians are appalled by moral flaws and lapses demonstrated by each.

More than any election in recent memory, voters are not talking about whom they support for president, but rather whom they oppose. People aren’t voting for, but against. A large portion of the country doesn’t want either to be president.

Hence the question. Is it a sin to not vote? The simple answer is no. Nowhere in the Bible does God command us to vote or participate in our nation’s political process. You are not obligated under any law – civil or divine – to vote.

But the answer isn’t quite that simple. Jesus does command us to let our light shine (Matthew 5:14). We are to pray for and support our government (Romans 13, 1 Timothy 2:2). “Love for our neighbor” means doing everything we can so that they are protected and provided for. That includes effecting positive change in our government when possible.

Presidential elections are especially important because human lives lie in the balance. The president has tremendous influence over issues like abortion, national security and wars. Generally speaking, we have a responsibility as children of God and citizens of this country to let our voices be heard through our vote.

But what do we do when we don’t feel comfortable voting for either candidate? Is it wrong to abstain?

It depends. Some people don’t vote out of spite or anger toward the government. That is obviously not God-pleasing. Some say their vote doesn’t make a difference, so why vote? Though it is only one of many, every vote is important. Imagine if all Christians, or even a large percentage, began to think like that. Soon we would have no collective voice.

Oftentimes we also forget that the two major party candidates are not our only choices. There may be a third party candidate whom you feel you could in good conscience support. Some say that is throwing away your vote. Yet, even if the candidate doesn’t win, you are still letting your voice be heard.

The issue with third party candidates we should always consider is that by voting for them, we may allow the worse of the two major party candidates to win. Sometimes it is to God’s glory to vote for the lesser of two evils.

If you think I sound like a politician, flip-flopping and not giving a straight answer, that is because voting is a complex issue for Christians. God gives us some guidance in his Word, but in the end, he gives us the responsibility of weighing all the issues and voting our consciences.

You are not sinning if you feel in good conscience you cannot vote for any of the presidential candidates. Please don’t let that keep you from going to the voting booth, though. Remember, there are also a number of important local elections as well. Many experts say that more change is effected by our voting in local elections than in national ones.

So study the issues. Pray about it. Ask God to guide you. Then vote (or don’t vote) your conscience. May God bless you as you do.

And God bless America.