Jim Smith steps out of a voting booth after marking his ballot at a polling site for the New Hampshire primary, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Christians Have No Duty to Vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton

“To quote St. Paul, ‘Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’’ ”

I continue encountering people at church who tell me I have to pick between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Obviously, everyone wants me to pick Trump, knowing I would never pick Hillary. They just cannot seem to understand why I would sit out the election with so much at stake.

My first answer is that if our choices are Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s donor and friend, we are way beyond the need to worry about the loss of a Supreme Court and what it might do to Christians in the United States.

My second answer is that Christians are under no compulsion to ratify evil with a vote. We can sit this one out.

While you may certainly feel compelled to vote for Trump over Hillary, you have every right. But you should not expect me to go along with it. And I would hope you have the Christian decency to not declare Trump a good Christian or a moral person to justify your vote for him. This is a man who has repeatedly declared he has never repented of his sins, which is a basic, fundamental tenet of Christianity.

My view is pretty straight forward. We know that Paul was a Roman citizen. He used that fact a number of times in Acts to get himself out of various punishments or strike fear in those who had punished him. He appealed to the Emperor himself over time as a Roman citizen.

Paul talked about the government. He talked about the government as God’s hand for judgment and punishment on earth. Paul, like Peter, told us to submit to governing authorities. He told us to pay our taxes. He told us the governing authorities are God’s servant.

But Paul, a citizen of Rome, never wrote about voting. As a citizen of Rome, Paul had the right to participate in some assemblies and cast votes. He never wrote about that aspect. In fact, Paul did write in Romans

One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:2-4

He also wrote in Romans 14:23. “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

While both are about eating, I would suspect the same could apply with voting.

If you are fine voting for an unrepentant serial adulterer who has called for war crimes against innocent women and children because you think he is better than Hillary Clinton, go for it. But don’t tell me I should violate my conscience to join you. So long as you avoid justifying your vote for Donald Trump by claiming him a mighty warrior for the Christian faith, I’ll avoid passing judgment on you voting for Trump.

I’m passing through this world on my way to eternity. I have an obligation to leave it better than I found it as I go. I have come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are just two forms of evil. Just because Donald Trump’s evil has an elephant mascot does not make his evil more acceptable than Hillary Clinton’s. There are no perfect men. We are all sinners. But there are some who revel in their sins and of those we should be wary.

I take Charles Spurgeon’s view that between two evils, I should choose neither.

Christians are under no obligation to pick the lesser of two evils or judge between the evils of two lessers. We can withhold our endorsement by withholding our vote. We have the right to participate in the process, but just because we have the right does not mean we have to exercise that right.

I will not be exercising that right if my choices are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. For those of you who make the argument that not voting for Trump is a vote for Clinton, please be prepared to argument how, based on that logic, not voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump.

In “A Man For All Seasons”, the Duke of Norfolk implores Thomas More to join with him in accepting Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn in order to spare More’s life. They have this exchange:

The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

If my choices are between a woman who would allow the killing of innocent children and a man who would do the same abroad, between a woman who would take away our guns and a man who has supported her husband’s efforts to do the same, between a woman who praises Planned Parenthood and a man who does the same, between a woman who let men die in Benghazi and a man who endorses war crimes, and between a race baiter and a racist, I choose neither.

To quote Paul one final time, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” (1 Cor. 15:33)

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts