Does the Bible address whether a Christian should be involved with politics? Would God rather us be Republicans or Democrats? What is the biblical perspective on the parties and how we should vote?
God is a Republican
I have actually seen a bumper sticker that said “God is a Republican.” My thought was, was He a registered? I thought that bumper sticker was a bit presumptuous. God is not a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent. The very fact that God is sovereign over all of mankind makes it ludicrous to believe that He is a follower of either party. The fact is that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov 21:1). Truly the king’s heart is in the hands of God and so even the worst of the politicians can not prevail in swinging things in this world in a way that God does not allow for in His sovereignty. Let me say that when I was younger, I tended to be a Democrat because I saw the Democrats as helping the poor and the working population and my view of Republicans was that they were pro-business and supported the rich segment of society. I was making generalizations however that were not totally accurate.
How Would God Vote?
Again, this is something that I had heard evangelicals actually ask; how would God vote? It’s not as ridiculous as you might think. Here’s what I mean. I tend to vote more with the Republicans today because they are more conservative. Many Republicans for example are pro-life while the majority of Democrats are pro-abortion. I choose to vote for candidates for their position on the sanctity of life. If they support a ban on abortion (save for the life of the mother), then I usually vote for them. God is pro-life because He is the Author of it. He alone has the right to decide when a person is born and when they should die. I vote my conscious. I do not vote on the candidate with the best platform like lower taxes. To God, there is a sanctity to life and I believe we should vote to protect those who can not protect themselves.
Render Unto Caesar
Do you remember when the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus by showing Him a coin? This amazing account is recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In Matthew 22:15-22 “Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”
Jesus was clearly saying that those things that belong to God we should render unto God but those things of Caesar, we render unto him. The word “render” means to give, hand over, deliver, present, or submit, as for approval. Therefore what can be gleaned from this I believe is the fact that we are to render unto those, for example in the political sphere, our approval of a person in a particular position of authority. There is clearly power in voting. When someone is running for office and they seem to reflect more godly values we should submit our approval in the form of voting for that person for political office.
I get so many emails these days that are bashing the president. Although I didn’t vote for him, I delete them and do not forward them. Many of these emails about our president are highly distasteful and completely disrespecting of the office. Some of these I get are from people that didn’t even vote and so what really gives them the right to complain if they didn’t vote to keep him out of office. Those that do vote are those that have more of a right to complain but never in a smear tactic or one that is insulting to the man or the office. What would Paul think of us degrading the man or the office of the presidency?
Romans 13 is the chapter that deals with those in authority. Read what Paul thinks Christians are obligated to show to those who are in authority in Romans 13:1- “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Notice what Paul commands. We are to respect those over us. Give them what they are due. They are in office by God’s sovereignty and not by the will of man necessarily. Whether we like them or not is not the point. Paul knew that Caesar was a cruel and brutal leader and that he set himself up as a god but Paul never spoke evil of this man nor did Jesus.
Vote Your Conscience and Not Your Party
Sadly, less than half of the population doesn’t vote and then most of those same people complain about the politicians. It seems to me that unless they vote, they don’t have as much right to complain because they did nothing to prevent the candidate they are railing against from getting into office? Even though I am a regular voter, I do not insult or disparage the politicians. Obviously they are not all fully trustworthy and they often make decisions against the public’s interest and are more concerned with their own welfare than the public’s, but they are in power because God still reigns over all of the nations. The politicians may not even realize it or they may not even believe in God, but God places those individuals into positions of authority as it pleases Him.
No purpose of God can be thwarted by mankind (Job 42:2). God thunders from heaven, “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another” (Psalm 75:6-7). God’s sovereignty is unaffected by men as even Pontius Pilate and Herod “did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” (Acts 4:28). God is never caught off guard or by surprise. He knows the future and it is all under His divine knowledge. Indeed, David proclaimed “the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain” (Psalm 21:1). Isaiah the prophet understood that “All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless” (Isaiah 40:17).
God is not a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent. He is God and He reigns supreme over all the earth. He allows Satan to do just as much as He allows and not one bit more. Mankind might like to think they reign but “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:8) “for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28), and as David proclaimed, “For you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth” (Psalm 67:4). This does not mean that we should not vote. I believe since we have the power and freedom to vote, we should. We should vote for those who uphold godly values and moral character befitting a leader but we should not be insulting those who are God-ordained in authority over us.
We should be praying for our leaders, whether we like them or not. As Paul said, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” (1 Tim 2:1-3). That I say amen too and I hope that you can agree, for it is written in the Word of God, the Bible.
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