That’s about as loaded a question as you can ask these days, isn’t it?
Like many loaded questions, there is no one definitive answer.
It’s easy to say, “Christians should vote their values and beliefs.” But what does that really look like?
Perhaps you are pro-life. How does that play out at the voting booth? Do you vote for the politicians who want to outlaw all abortions and then wrestle with what to do in cases of rape, incest or risk of health to mother? Or do you vote for those who want to make sure all people have access to birth control and healthcare (which has been proven to significantly reduce the rate of abortion)? What if the candidate who meets your criteria on this issue is against providing free healthcare for all children who need it–thereby endangering the lives you desperately want to protect once they are out of the womb? It’s just not that easy, is it?
When it comes to economic policies, do you vote for the candidate who supports legislation that benefits you and your family or the one whose tax plan benefits the poor and helps others more than it helps you?
And what if the candidate whose immigration policy you support is has an attitude about the environment is not in line with your call as a Christian to be a good steward of creation?
While it is tempting to become a one issue voter (because then we don’t have to ask all of these questions or really wrestle with anything), I think we abdicate our Christian responsibility to the whole people of God when we do that. If our criteria for a candidate relies on their answer to one question and one question only, we run the risk of electing some folks who can do some real damage on other fronts.
While I certainly can’t tell you how to vote or who to vote for (and I hope you won’t let anyone else do so either), I can share some of the questions I think we should all ask before we head to the polls:
- What are your values? (note this is plural. We are not one value people and shouldn’t be one issue voters)
- Which candidate seems to share most of your values?
- Which candidate will do the most good for the most people?
- Which candidate (if an incumbent or current office holder) has a record of voting in accordance with their stated beliefs?
- Who are this candidate’s donors? Are the values of these donors in line with yours?
But the most important thing when considering how to vote and who to vote for is to just go and do it!