A third option for president: Abstention

Campaign 2016 | Christians are not morally obligated to vote in this year’s presidential election
by Anthony Bradley
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2016, at 2:11 pm

Back in March, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, attempted to help Christians navigate the difficulties we now face in choosing between “two morally problematic” presidential candidates. Moore raised excellent questions for Christians to consider when voting for “the lesser of two evils.” While his commentary is helpful, the truth is that believers are not bound to settle for just one of the two options on the ballot.

There is a third option: Christians do not have to vote at all.

In fact, the Bible doesn’t instruct God’s people that they have an obligation, moral duty, or compulsion to vote in any particular election in a secular democratic republic like the United States. It is unhelpful, and potentially misleading, to bind the consciences of Christians to make them feel that they have such obligations or duties to participate in government activities not commanded in the Bible.

The Bible doesn’t instruct God’s people that they have an obligation, moral duty, or compulsion to vote in any particular election in a secular democratic republic like the United States.

When a person’s conscience is torn between two options, in American political thought and practice, voters have an opportunity to abstain. To abstain from choosing a presidential candidate in this year’s election is to fully participate in the process as one whose conscience is unsettled and conflicted. By contrast, it is profoundly unethical to use the power of the state—or the guilt manipulations of religious leaders—to compel anyone to participate in a political process against his or her will. Because Americans are not legally bound to vote in presidential elections, like North Koreans and Australians are, Christians, with a clear conscience, can make the willful choice to abstain.

Historically, Protestants have never compelled Christians to vote in democratic elections. In Chapter 23 of the Presbyterian tradition’s Westminster Confession of Faith, the Divines believed that Christians were obligated only to “pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake.” Article 37 of the 1801 edition of the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion urges Christians only to “pay respectful obedience to the Civil Authority.” Article 16 of the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, teaches only that Christians have an obligation “to obey their own magistrates and laws save only when commanded to sin.” That is, unless Christians are commanded to vote for a president in the Bible or by law, those Christians whose consciences are torn between choosing either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are morally free to make the volitional, participatory decision to abstain from voting for a president at all.

Civic engagement does not mean that, as a Christian, I am compelled to vote in every election during my lifetime. Civic engagement means I am free to participate in making society better in ways I believe are most helpful. Voting, therefore, is not a moral ought, and we are sinning against people when we present it as if the Bible teaches this when it does not.

ADDENDUM (3:58 p.m.): Seeking the welfare of the city in the Jeremiah 29 sense suggests voting in local elections, and Christian are free and encouraged to participate in those ways to bring about effective change, although the Bible does not require it.

Anthony Bradley

Anthony is associate professor of religious studies at The King's College in New York and a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

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  • Stephen Ford
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 02:32 pm

    One of the sad things is that many people who identify themselves as Christian have not voted in many elections.  In the current Presidential election, there seems to be one strong Christian -Governor Mike Pence.

    On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is an apologist for partial-birth abortion.

    Nobody is required to vote.  Hopefully everybody will vote including Christians. I encourage people to pray and vote strategically from local through national levels.

  • Borvoc
    Posted: Tue, 11/08/2016 11:08 pm

    ^This.

  • PaulaG
    Posted: Wed, 11/09/2016 02:15 am

    Thank you, spford.  I agree with you. 

  • Jim Venable
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 02:40 pm

    I believe voting in our elections as part of a democratic republic is covered in Jesus' statement of "rendering unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's"; part of our participating in a participatory government is bigger than paying taxes/

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 02:40 pm

    This is bogus advice - abstention will result in a crook as President who will hopefully at least be impeached shortly after she takes office. What a ridiculous assertion. Come on World!

  • Jeanne S.
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 12:26 am

    Yes and besides that, Bill Clinton was impeached and still remained president so we do not have a guarantee that impeachment will even prevent Hillary from remaining president (if there are not enough votes in the Senate)...

  • CL
    Posted: Tue, 11/08/2016 03:02 pm

    I just need to point out that being impeached does not equal being removed from office.  It's the process whereby a government official is officially brought up on charges that have the potential to remove him from office.

  • hawaiicharles
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 02:49 pm

    I had considered leaving the top of my ballot blank, but decided against it for one important reason.  I do not want to send the message that I am apathetic about the outcome.  That's why I'll be casting a vote for Darrell Castle.  He's certainly not perfect, but he's by far the best option available.

     

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 05:15 pm

    I wrote in Castle as well. People voting for "issues" need only look at the Constitution Party platform to see this is what the Republican Party SAYS they stand for, and yet has done nothing to that end. At least by voting Castle, I am showing I do care about the election's outcome. Now, for the rest of the ballot, I had a spattering of republicans, libertarians, and even one democrat for sherriff. No longer will I vote for someone just because there is an R after their name. I left several blank as well. 

    I would very much like to see World report on the Constitution Party, but they missed their chance this election cycle.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 11/06/2016 11:58 pm

    If all Christians did as you did, we would end up with the worst choice as president- Hillary Clinton.  Does this really seem wise to you?  When I put the millions of more babies killed by voting for Clinton (or supporting a third party candidate or not voting) in the balance compared against Trump, sometimes an immoral man, I have no problem in seeing where my vote should go! My question for you is, "Why is your moral compass off so much that you cannot see this?"  Yes, I understand this is a condemning question, but I ask it in all honesty!  What exactly do you think I am missing? If you were a German and you were voting in the days of Hitler, would you abstain from voting because the other candidate was an immoral person? Would you vote for another candidate who had no chance of winning so you feel better, effectively giving Hitler the election? Again, what exactly am I missing?

  •  Neil Evans's picture
    Neil Evans
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 03:28 pm

    Anthony, are you suggesting that when Christians see someone supporting, enabling, and rewarding murder and have a legal opportunity to stop that person they are not morally bound to do so?

    While the Bible obviously does not say "thou shalt vote," it does say to pray for and submit to civil authorities, thus engaging us in the civil life of our community and country.  If both candidates were supporters of abortion I could understand abstaintion, but when we have the opportunity to vote against an abortion champion it IS morally wrong to not do so. 

    Actually, the Bible says nothing about a "secular democratic republic like the United States."  The Bible simply addresses how followers of God are to live in whatever culture they find themselves.  It is astounding to me that a Christian would choose to not vote to oppose abortion because they don't like the sinful character of the candidate who is on their side of the abortion issue.

    I have said before it is clear that Donald Trump misrepresents Jesus Christ and His Followers.  But it is equally clear that Hillary Clinton and ALL who surround her OPPOSE Jesus Christ and His Followers.  This IS a Biblically moral issue.  How many previous presidential candidates have we all voted for who actually misrepresented us?  I doubt if there are any previous candidates who we could agree represented Jesus and His Followers accurately and well. 

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 11/06/2016 10:54 pm

    Well stated. Thanks!

  • LG
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 03:24 pm

    Of course no one is forced to vote, but I do believe that Christians are morally obligated to, even when the canidates aren't as saintly as would be wished.  Saying that Christians shouldn't vote in this election if they feel uncomfortable with both options (who isn't!) will help to ensure that the greater of two evils will get into the White House.

    I still really like you guys, WORLD, but I very much disagree with you on this particular issue.

  • Trumpetly Speaking
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 03:38 pm

    I appreciate your saying this, Mr. Bradley.  Thank you for affirming the consciences of God's people.  I agree with you, but I do hope that more of us choose to participate in the voting process by voting down ballot, and possibly voting third party, if we can't vote for one of the two major party candidates.  Our country needs us to participate as fully as we are able. 

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 04:01 pm

    See Dr. Bradley’s addendum above.

  • SuperBoppy
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 03:48 pm

    I think it is a mistake for Christians to abstain from their God-given right in this country to vote. The promotion of a candidate and the worship of God are not mutually exclusive. I would dare say that many Christians justify their nonchalant attitude towards politics as being spiritual, and justify their laziness in not educating themselves or exercising their right to vote. I would argue that the Bible states otherwise. See Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:17. Even Jesus paid his taxes and was a good citizen. I firmly believe that we are living in the last days, as the Bible describes it. However, I think it most presumptuous to determine that time, or to relinquish our right to the political process on spiritual grounds. Amos warned the people about this attitude of actually wanting things to fail (Amos 5:12-15). Amos also exhorted in that passage to "establish justice in the gate" which directly refers to what we would call "poliitical action" in today's terms. We must be good Christians, and good citizens as well.

  •  FreedomInTejas's picture
    FreedomInTejas
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 04:01 pm

    "He has told you, O man, what is good;
        and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,[b]
        and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 ESV

    Can voting FOR or AGAINST (or even abstaining) a candidate or measure, when we have the capability of doing so, further the fulfillment of that requirement? If so, and in order to be consistent, should we apply that same litmus test to every race and local proposition up and down the ballot?

  • HC
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 04:22 pm

    Yes!! Fantastic article!! To vote OR refrain from voting is a matter of conscience. Say no to "conscience binding". 

  • nomoreidols
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 05:30 pm

    Amen and Amen! this should have been said at the outset. but this magazine and most churches presented it as a Biblical mandate.  i could be cynical and wonder why now,  but instead i will be glad that truth has finally been spoken.  for an inspired take on this, listen to John Piper''s sermon Freedom and Joy. 

  • JW
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 06:16 pm

    Many believers leave the political realm due to "religious convictions". By doing so we as believers have played a major part part in the moral decay of society.  How can we expect government to retain its Judeo-Christian roots if we choose not to participate?  My Savior is not a political figure. I think a society 2000 years ago made that mistake. My choice between the two legitimate candidates comes down to the pro-life issue. I know without a doubt where one party and candidate stands. I will not withdraw and will do what I can by not voting for her. 

  • DeclineAndFall
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 06:50 pm

    This has become a sick magazine...infected with....I don't know, but they're working in a subtle, devious way for the aging harpy....

  • Laura W
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 07:52 pm

    Please, ad hominem attacks will not further your point.

  •  HeJets's picture
    HeJets
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 08:07 pm

    Whew! A second Bradley column that is as irresponsible and all but absolutely irrelevant as the first one. I guess AB's idea of "taking a stand" is to "sit down." What a shame.

    The naivety it takes to suggest that we could possibly ever vote for a human that is as ideal as our personal vision of a utopian candidate.... That is a person that can never 'vote their conscience.'

    And, just like last week, not a mention of any issue whatsoever. How irrelevant and irresponsible of postion can you take? Oh my gosh, World.

  •  HeJets's picture
    HeJets
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 10:48 pm
  •  HeJets's picture
    HeJets
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 08:01 am

    It seems that Franklin Graham has heard of similar calls to abstain.

    <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.faceboo..." width="500" height="256" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

  •  Neil Evans's picture
    Neil Evans
    Posted: Fri, 11/04/2016 10:25 pm

    Followers of Jesus can agree to disagree, even very strongly.  But, we cannot agree to not love each other.

    Paul and Barnabas had very serious disagreements but we never read of them calling each other names.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 12:12 am

    I am confused as to whether Mr. Bradley means to say that staying home is okay.  While the presidential race is disheartening, there are good candidates for Congressional, state, and local governments.  The low quality of the presidential candidates makes the other elections doubly important.  While I agree in principle with Mr. Bradley's assertion, I believe that staying home is a dubious choice.

    The broader point is very important, though.  Too many Christians are making mincemeat out of the principle of freedom of conscience by trying to browbeat their brethren into voting for one or another candidate.  Pastors, theologians, and other powerful Christians have endorsed candidates when they should have maintained public neutrality.  I am sure that these endorsements were meant in good faith, but they actually added to the rancor by making those who are truly struggling with their consciences feel disregarded.  Dr. Grudem's waffling was particularly embarrassing to watch.  Sometimes silence is best.

    I understand why one Christian would vote for Trump; I understand why another would vote for Clinton; I understand why another would vote for someone else.  Hopefully eventually we will all turn to God.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Mon, 11/07/2016 01:12 am

    I don't understand why a Christian would vote for Clinton!  She is pushing homosexuality, hate crime legislation that could well shut down godly churches,  transgenderism, socialism, and the division of society through multiculturalism (e.g. black lives matter).   Her foreign policy (and Obamas) was such a mess that we are seeing the breakdown of many nations and the deterioration of our freedom to travel due to all the unchecked terrorism.  She even sold out the US Foreign policy to enrich herself, where foreign donors gave money to the Clinton Foundation, in exchange for special treatment at the  State Department.  Also, the Clintons were paid vast sums of money to give speeches, which was intertwined with all of this.  Furthermore, she tried to hide all her corruption by building here own server to prevent here emails from being seen by the appropriate government officials. National security was compromised, with all this showing that Clinton is unfit for the office of president. 

  • PaulaG
    Posted: Wed, 11/09/2016 02:29 am

    I will add to the previous comment that Clinton is so extremely pro-abortion that I cannot imagine why any Christian could in good conscience vote for her rather than against her.  Many voted Trump not as much for him, as to vote against her, to try to stay worse evil. 

  • DCal3000
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 12:13 am

    I plan to vote on Tuesday, and I have disagreed with several of Dr. Bradley's previous columns.  But speaking as someone with a strong interest in political philosophy, I would note that Dr. Bradley's column here is consistent with biblical teaching.  We simply are not commanded, anywhere in the Bible, to vote in every election.  Dr. Bradley, who can always be counted on to challenge our minds, is absolutely correct here.  I would urge people to vote, but I cannot tell them that the Bible issues a blanket command to do so in every election.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 10:08 am

    You should examine this more closely Anthony.  First, what year was the Westminster Confession of Faith written?  Exactly what form of government did they have back then?  I can imagine them walking on down to their local precincts to vote for their next King!  But in all seriousness, throwing out this option of "not voting", as though it is moral in the normative sense is just plain wrong, especially when the lives of hundreds of millions of babies are on the line. The Westminster Confession of Faith, in the Larger Catechism, says in question 136, "What is forbidden in the sixth commandment? A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, ...,the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life...". First, our failure to vote could well result in hundreds of millions of more babies killed if Hillary has her way, by the power of her pen (vetoing pro-life legislation) and appointing rabid pro abortion judges who will reject pro-life legislation for years to come. Trump gave an eloquent defense of life, highlighting the horrors of abortion in the last debate, and declaring his pro-life position. Second, there are many other candidates, besides just the presidential race, that a Christian should vote for to prevent evil from becoming law and the good from being rejected. Also, to glibly equate Trump with Clinton, shows me your moral compass is upside down, so I challenge you to rethink your position on this election, for Christians should not vote only in the rarest of cases (e.g. Being too sick to vote, having an emergency out of town, etc.).

    Also, one may choose to not vote in individual races should those running be morally equivalent. There are five elements here that we need to look at: the personal integrity of the individual candidates; the policies, positions and laws which the candidates will advocate; the quality of the people that the candidates will appoint (personal integrity and policies they advocate); how the church will be protected and benefited; and the ultimate sum total of good or evil that will result.  Rarely, if we are diligent in applying this standard and doing our homework, will we find the candidates the same.  Certainly, we need to allow some Christian liberty in applying this standard, but the basis for this evaluation is the Bible so there should be some commonality in the result. If we apply this standard in the presidential race, I believe there is a clear winner - Trump!

  •  Neil Evans's picture
    Neil Evans
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 01:01 pm

    Very well said!

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Tue, 11/08/2016 05:18 am

    Honestly, for all the ranting about how "you have to vote for [completely disgusting and immoral] Republicans because they are opposed to abortion!" nonsense you hear from conservative Christians, it seems like everyone just forgets that it was only about a decade ago when the Republicans controled all three branches of the government and did nothing to reverse Roe v. Wade. So maybe we should all just wake up and realize that the Republicans are just playing us all for fools by pretending to care about this issue when all they are really trying to do is buy your vote by sticking this position in their party platform and ignoring it. Also, for what it's worth, abortion rates have gone down under Democratic presidents and up under Republican presidents for several decades running now.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Tue, 11/08/2016 09:52 am

    Hans, so you are going to vote in Clinton who has spent her life supporting abortion and who would block pro-life legislation by her pen and by her judicial appointments?  Compared to Trump this could easily mean hundreds of millions of more babies killed!  When the Republicans held both houses and the presidency there were still many Republicans who were not fully pro-life, since many were in very liberal districts where strong pro-life candidates have difficulty winning.  This is part of the challenge of defeating abortion, for we need to win the hearts and minds of the people so strong pro-life candidates can win.  I don't blame the Republicans for this, for many fought tooth and nail to stop abortion but in the end they just did not have the votes. The challenge for Republicans is to win by such a majority that they can push the legislation through. This will require us to have president who is pro-life and a Supreme Court who will not overrule it. If Clinton gets in, her judges she will appoint will effectively block pro-life legislation for years to come!  This is why it is critical to go out and vote Trump!

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Tue, 11/08/2016 11:00 am

    No, I abstained from gracing either worthless candidate with my vote. They didn't earn it; they don't get it. It's as simple as that. But I admit, it was a decision between Clinton and nobody, because I am desperately hoping that conservatism loses this battle in order to save its soul for another day.

     

    But I am not going to be a tool of the right and give my vote to a completely immoral and incompetent nationalist because he pretends to have had a moral awakening about this issue only when he decided to run for President and then use that one issue to ignore the gaping holes in his qualifications and competency, not to mention the dumpster fire of his personal character. I am saying that it doesn't make sense to be a one issue voter for a party that has never taken advantage of the chances it had to undo RVW, and Trump has one of the least credible pro-life records out there--all we have is his word, which means less than nothing since the guy can't keep his positions straight to save his life (or campaign). Here is a little bumper-sticker quote from The Donald to make you feel better: "I am very pro-choice" (MTP, 1999). But somehow we are supposed to vote for him because when he decided to be a politician he had a change of heart. He is the embodiment of the death of conservativism.

     

    But one thing certainly has come out of this election season--I will never believe another evangelical who votes for Trump and then tells me that character counts when they are trashing the Clintons. I will never trust the judgment of conservatives who instantly believe every allegation against the Clintons but dismiss all allegations against Trump as mere political mudslinging or gold-digging just because "it hasn't been proven." I will also never believe another evangelical who claims to care about the decline of our country's sexual morality after they voted for a strip club owning pornographer with a decades long relationship with Playboy. But hey, Trump did promise that he would make people say "merry Christmas" again, so I guess we Christians should all line up to vote for him.

  • PaulaG
    Posted: Wed, 11/09/2016 02:47 am

    Hans, I agree with you that we had no good choice of a person of proven good character for presidential election.  It was, for me, a choice of the lesser of the evils, and I chose to vote in order to do what I could.   What a shame.  My 16-year-old said today, "All the people in the United States, and THOSE TWO have to be our presidential candidates?!"  Also, many people do not vote in the primaries, so they do not do the least they can do to help get good candidates into the main election.  I appreciate your sharing your thoughts here.  It is good for us to work to understand each other, so thanks.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 08:05 am

    Hans,
     "But I admit, it was a decision between Clinton and nobody, because I am desperately hoping that conservatism loses this battle in order to save its soul for another day."

    So you are saying you voted for Clinton?  I hope not for it would reveal a real vindictiveness!  "If my 'godly' candidate doesn't get the nomination, then I will burn the whole country down so I can feel better!"  It sounds more in tune with Jonah than with the scripture where we are supposed to use wisdom and godly love.  

    Using your rationale, then we could never support any unbelieving leader, but what does the Bible say about this?  Titus 3:1 says, "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, ...".   The point here is that scripture tells us to support unbelieving civil authorities who rule over us, even with their sin.  Certainly, we don't support the sin, but we do support them as our leaders.  So it follows, that we can support unbelievers even with their sin, though we don't condone it and in the process our souls don't become tarnished!  But would this too apply to candidates running for office?  Should we not pick the candidate who will most benefit the church and our country and support them even with their sin? I Timothy 2:1,2 says, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."  So as our goal in prayer is that we are to lead godly and holy lives in all peace, the same should be our goal in voting for candidates.  In other words, we should vote for the candidates who will enable the church to advance and thrive in the place where we find ourselves.  In some cases we may have a believing candidate, but others we may not. In the case of unbelieving candidates, we should vote for the candidate who will most enable the church to survive and thrive.  In some cases, we will vote for the "lesser of two evils".  It is only rational that we exercise our right to vote, for the best possible viable candidate since this honors our Father in heaven.

    "But one thing certainly has come out of this election season--I will never believe another evangelical who votes for Trump and then tells me that character counts when they are trashing the Clintons."  Character does count and just because I vote for Trump does not mean I condone all of his behavior. But I do think Trump is far more moral - even with all his shortcomings- compared with Clinton.  Especially, on the issue of abortion, the Westminster Confession says we have a moral imperative to protect life, which is based on the Bible.  I don't think anyone is a "one issue voter" but the issue of abortion, is so weighty that it dwarfs most all other issues. Ending a persons life, without a just cause, is even worse than slavery for the slave has the ability to enjoy some things in life.  Even if Trump was lukewarm on supporting pro-life issues - which he has not been - the difference could still be hundreds of millions of babies.  So if you put those babies on a scale and compared it to rude and disgusting comments, how many comments would Trump have to make to have it even out? Even assuming the worst in Trump - which I don't think is true - how many acts of X would he have to comment to equal the babies? Here the X means you fill in the blank with whatever Hillary and her demons have tried to allege. And I should remind you that Hillary has many years of experience in covering up Bill's infidelities and rape, which is well documented.  The allegations against Trump have some glaring holes, which should be noted. Certainly, we are not naive in this, but we try to use wisdom, especially when we see the allegations coming out a few weeks in advance of the election in a perfect political strike against Trump which politicians typically use. 

    "I will also never believe another evangelical who claims to care about the decline of our country's sexual morality after they voted for a strip club owning pornographer with a decades long relationship with Playboy."  

    Again, this is simplistic reasoning. We don't support Trump's endorsement of Playboy and many other things, but compared to Hillary, Trump is far better so we vote for him.  He will not dismantle our religious liberties like Hillary will.  Less babies will be killed with his appointments to the bench.  The world will be safer with Trump at the helm, enabling missionaries to work more effectively.  Christians will better prosper financially enabling more good to be accomplished.  It doesn't take a genius to figure this out! 

  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 04:57 am

    I guess where I would take issue with the line of reasoning in this article is that it seems highly unlikely that the things we are instructed to pray for in our government (Romans 13, for instance) are not also things that we should work to bring about when given the opportunity. (There are many, many aspects of modern life that the Bible does not speak to directly, but that does not mean that it has no guidance for us in those issues.) However, given how complicated this year's election is in terms of ethics and overall political strategy, I don't think it's good to be dogmatic about our position either, whatever it may be.

  • CA
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 06:36 am

    The editors publiched a front page picture of Donald Trump calling upon him to step aside - "Unfit for Power" I believe.  No such picture or lead story is being published about Hillary Clinton.  My respect for World and its editors has diminshed greatly by their double standard.  

  • Leeper
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 07:11 am

    I could not disagree more to this artical. Just look at one issue abortion. Trump against Clinton for. Every Christian should vote for the protection of life.

  • williamson
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 08:05 am

    With respect to explicit wording in Scripture to the effect that God's people must vote Bradley may be correct. I would argue that there is in the language of Scripture strong inference to the contrary, including Jer 29 referenced by the author. Particularly in our 2016 scenario. 

    Neither major party candidate in this election is qualified for the presidency. Both are strongly objectionable. The critifcal difference between them is that Clinton, barring Divine intervention, is as close as a fallen creature in this fallen world comes to being an ironclad guarantee as to the policies she'll pursue. Trump's key selling point is that he's a complete unknown in elective office & thus as to his policy direction. 

    No thinking person with even a modicum of objectivity can doubt that infanticide will proceed & continue to grow unabated under a Clinton presidency. The LGBT agenda will make further gains in a Clinton Ameirca. This may be true under a Trump presidency also, but none but the living God knows before the fact. 

    Also barring Divine intervention, the reality is that not partcipating in this election, or voting for a 3rd party candidate or doing a write-in, is effectively a vote for Clinton. My conscience is at peace voting against a certain evil by marking my ballot for the uncertain outcome of an unknown to elective office. 

  • PaulaG
    Posted: Wed, 11/09/2016 02:50 am

    Thank you, Williamson.  You said it better than I could.

  •  Greg Mangrum's picture
    Greg Mangrum
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 09:10 am

    Dr. Bradley, I respectfully but heartily disagree that abstaining from voting the top ticket in this election is a moral choice. I agree with those that come down on the side of life. There are two imperfect candidates (the other two are quite imperfect as well), however, one comes down strongly on the side of life--a biblical and moral issue--and the other does not. In fact, she seems to think that murder is a "right" and constitutionally guaranteed.

    Watch any Holocaust movie and then tell me that abstention is a conscientious act.

  • RJ
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 10:06 am

    If not voting would guarantee that neither candidate would be elected, this might work.  But ONE of them WILL be elected.  And, fortunately, it's pretty easy to distinguish which one upholds more of God's truths, as found in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, Cyrus "did not acknowledge God," but He still used Cyrus for His glorious purposes, by moving Cyrus' heart to do good.  He can do the same with our President.  Not voting can open the door to the candidate who flaunts her anti-Christian values, rhetoric, corruption, & actions.

  • infohighwy
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 03:44 pm

    Yes, I suppose that one has a right to not vote, just like one has the right to sit on the football field's sidelines during the national anthem. However, my late dad, who fought in World War One might say to me today (if he was alive), "son, I did not fight and risk my life in a world war so you could plant your fanny on the sidelines either during the national anthem, OR in voting!" And he'd be right, as usual! Actions have a funny way of speaking much louder than words, and our Savior made that perfectly clear in so many examples and parables. So I have voted because, like the poster might typically say, "it's all about the Supreme Court, silly!" The legacy of a Surpreme court can last for decades, both good and bad, even when today's millennials are in their forties and older. What type of world do we want them to have then?

  • Hans's picture
    Hans
    Posted: Tue, 11/08/2016 07:13 am

    You make a great point about Cyrus. So I assume that whomever is elected--including Hillary (which seems very likely at this point)--you will recognize that it was God's will and that he will accomplish his purposes through Hillary. It's not like God was on pins and needles as he observed the succession of Persian rulers hoping that his guy Cyrus would get to the top so that God's will would have a better chance at being realized.

     

    So actually, your point about Cyrus is not a good application of Scripture at all. It doesn't tell us to vote for Trump as opposed to Hillary. All it says is that God is in control no matter the outcome of our pathetic election cycle. And actually that's some comfort.

  • beep523
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 02:50 pm

    World has been a moral compass in a cesspool of secular thought for many years. But this year's election opinions expressed by the magazine has done damage to that image. The progressive onslaught of putrid information against Donald Trump has been unrelenting while the same people excuse the wrongdoings of Hiliary Clinton and the entire Clinton family. Yet World calls for Mr. Trump's resignation. Now World is calling for Christians not to vote! It seems to me that such thinking is self righteous and condenscending. No, we are not obligated to vote for either candidate. But there are many issues that are on the line in this election: abortion, Supreme Court appointees, support for Israel, to name just three. We know where both candidates stand on these issues. To NOT vote is immoral. We cannot shut out the world around us and think that it doesn't affect us. Please, VOTE!

  • Thor
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 11:28 am

    While it is true that abstaining is an option, one must come to understand that it is the worst option. Votes and abstentions alike have consequences and your action or apathy will affect not just you, but your family, church, friends, and country.  I do not blame World writer Anthony Bradley for promulgating abstention as an option, but as a sanctioned author of World magazine and professor at King's College, he should know better.

    I will be voting for Mike Pence (and consequently Donald Trump).  I do not know what the future holds and it is possible that Pence will somehow become the next president.  A third party candidate or write in, as we all know, is a waste of a vote.  You might as well stay home and "abstain".  Write-ins do not send a statement, neither do abstentions.

    I will be voting for the next Supreme Court Justice, Healthcare, religious freedom, government appointees, etc.... all by voting for Mike Pence over Hillary Clinton or Tim Kaine who are vehement enemies of religious freedom, a free society, and God in general.

  • LG
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 12:36 pm

    Oh please,.... this breaks my heart. Get out and VOTE!  The Bible is silent on many things, but Christians must stay in the public square.  Believers need to look at the issues, pray, and then vote.  Don't stay home with your head in the sand.  Our next president could nominate up to 5 supreme court justices! Liberal justices who will not follow constitutional law and take our religious freedoms right out from under us!
    Flawed candidates?  Yes! But look further behind the presidential candidates to see their administrative plans and staff.  Trump is the more conservative, flaws and all.

    Voting is a privledge! Be informed and Vote!

  • AR
    Posted: Sat, 11/05/2016 01:08 pm

    If it were possible to hear the voices of the millions upon millions of those who have been aborted, to hear as one pleading voice their cry, what would one think it would be........death or life? Should we then vote or not vote?

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