Jason Micheli

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12 responses to Do Christians Have a Duty to Vote?

  1. Well thought out, Jason. I believe that thoughtful voters have an obligation similar to a doctor’s Hippocratic oath–“first do no harm”. I am not voting today.

  2. Jesus was always on the side of the poor and oppressed. Therefore, as a Christian, I am personally obligated to do what I can to relieve poverty and oppression. As this blog clearly states, voting does not excuse me from this obligation. However, political, social, and economic issues involve making moral decisions. Therefore, as a Christian and a citizen, I feel obligated to support the candidate that most nearly reflects the moral choices I would make that affect the greater good. And I did vote today.

    • Juanita–I respect your decision but my understanding is that Jesus kept politicians at arms length. The Roman Emperor giving citizens bread and circuses could be considered a humanitarian. My guess is that is what he told his followers. I believe that Jesus wanted us personally to relieve the plight of the poor and disadvantaged–not to leave to government.

      • I said above that as a Christian I am personally obligated to do what I can to relieve poverty and oppression and that voting does not excuse me from this obligation, so there is no disagreement on this issue. 🙂 I do, however, believe that government has a role to play. It does not have the only role. I understood the blog as criticizing folks who think that they have done their duty by voting but are not engaging in the obligation to make a difference by their personal actions. That criticism is just.

      • According to Bread for the World, if the government gave up providing for the needy, every congregation in the US would have to add $50,000 a year to their budget to pay for dried up government support. That’s Meals on Wheels for homebound elderly, school lunch programs for kids, food pantries that help families stretch to the end of the month, etc. All of those programs right now are often church-state partnerships. Right now, one in 24 dollars spent on hunger relief comes from churches or other non-profits. If you’re going to “personally” take care of the need, you’re sure gonna have to roll up your sleeves. (By the way, I’d sure like to know in what verse Jesus told them not to leave it to the government. That was hardly an option then. He didn’t tell them to get flu shots either, but most of us have decided that isn’t a bad idea.)

        http://www.bread.org/ol/2013/engagement/downloads/churches-and-hunger-fact-sheet.pdf

        Are you prepared to tell hungry children right now: “Sorry, Jesus didn’t want us to feed you with any tax support. You’ll just have to stay hungry uh, until we get around with the peanut butter sandwiches?”

        • I agree on voting in general. I have concluded that my vote in the Virginia election would not be helpful to the people of the Commonwealth. I would expect that programs to feed and care for the needy in Virginia will continue without interruption.

  3. As a citizen of a country where I am privileged to be able to vote and that right as been protected by the precious lives of those before me, I consider it my obligation to vote. In some cases, it is voting for the lesser of two evils, but I cannot complain if I don’t exercise my right to vote.

    • In a free country, one of our options is not to vote. Think of all the countries around the world where people are required to vote–North Korea tops the list.

      • How about Australia – I like that comparison better. 🙂 Here’s a quote: “Australians have been required to vote in federal elections since 1924. Concerned that voter turnout had dipped below 60 percent, parliament enacted mandatory voting after only 90 minutes of debate, and it’s gone largely unchallenged ever since. Polls regularly show 70 percent to 80 percent of Australians support mandatory voting. Lisa Hill, a research fellow at the University of Adelaide, explains it this way: “We’re quite happy with some forms of coercion that others may not be happy with…” …”Actually, the voting part of “mandatory voting” is a misnomer. All Australian citizens over the age of 18 must register and show up at a polling station, but they need not actually vote. They can deface their ballot or write in Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (Australia’s version of Lassie)—or do nothing at all.”

        • Coercion is the key word. Should it be a requirement that all people turn out for church on Sunday because it is good for them?

          • No, of course not. My point was that North Korea was not the only country to demand turnout for elections, that a democracy did, also. Okay, no more blogging for me. I have Cambodia Consultation work to do. And I’ll need your help. 🙂

  4. Gotta say, I don’t agree with much that I read here.

    Of course voting isn’t the only thing a responsible person does for the good of their society. But I can’t imagine a small act that is more crucial.

    How can Mr. Hunter blithely say: “There are no political solutions to the problems most people care about?” Seems to me that only an upper middle class, healthy, employed white man with plenty of family and friends would dare say something like that. And even then, its a stretch. Most of us care deeply about having safe food and medicine, and a decent education for our children. We like that our bridges mostly don’t fall down. We care about clean water and air, and having wild places we can visit. We care about having an uncorrupt police force. You’ve got to have a heap of money to remove yourself from the benefits of a working polis. Can you afford to pay for a private education for your kids, and live in a gated community with privately paid protection?. If you’re black or female, aren’t you pleased that there is recourse if you are denied employment, or somebody threatens to lynch you?

    Mr Hunter should spend some time in Tijuana or Port au Prince, or anywhere else that has little or no functioning government.

    Will voting today bring in the kingdom? Of course not. But are you really happy with the politicians who just reduced food stamps for the most needy? I’m annoyed at Christians who think that in a perfect world, they’d supply everybody’s needs. They never have, and right now some kid is sitting in class with a stomach ache he wouldn’t have if we had politicians who voted their consciences.

    I want to say to some Christians: let us know when you have fully funded mental health clinics, juvenile detention centers, food monitoring programs, and your own bridge-safety inspectors. By all means, when you are ready to educate every child in America, including those with special needs — we’d be glad to turn the project over to you. In the meantime, pony up and join your fellow Americans, –nearly half of whom don’t share your religious beliefs, in addressing real needs. Vote for the best people you can, the best policies you can, and pay your darn taxes. And be grateful you can breathe the air here. You can’t in Bejing today.

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