Why I Won't Tell You Who to Vote for
We are only a few days away from the 2020 election. The closer we get to the election, the greater people’s anxieties get. In effort to stabilize, many Christians look to the leaders of their churches to make a statement on who to support. As a pastor, I experience this the most during presidential elections, especially this year with all of the anxiety already swirling in the system.
While I understand the desire to give an answer, I always decline. Here are six reasons I won’t tell you who to vote for in the 2020 election.
It may be illegal. As a 501(c)3 organization, our church is prohibited by the IRS to support or oppose a political candidate’s campaign. Even though the IRS does permit me to support or oppose a political candidate in my own personal capacity, I think the lines get pretty blurry between what I believe and the official stance of the church I co-lead.
It’s your vote, not mine. I have contemplated the country and the world as it is today through the lens of the Kingdom of God and my King Jesus, I have sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and I have made up my mind for whom I will cast my vote. It’s healthy for you to undergo your own process for deciding your vote.
I may be wrong. I hear so many people saying, “This is so clear,” or, “This is a slam dunk,” or, “This is a no-brainer.” I hear it stated so certainly that Jesus himself must be on the ballot. But he isn’t. From my perspective and understanding of scripture, who to vote for is anything but clear. Through the Old Testament, God uses the most unclean, repulsive, and immoral people and nations to bring judgment on God’s people. When Jesus shows up, those in Israel who knew the law the best failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and fulfillment of the law. Who am I to believe that I know for absolute certainty which presidential candidate God intends to use for which purpose?
It may compromise the mission. The mission that Jesus has defined for me, and anyone else who follows him, is to make other disciples of Jesus. We are not to make disciples of a political party or ideology. We are to make disciples of Jesus himself. When I step out and say who I think you should vote for, regardless of who I say, I will immediately alienate half of the population. I don’t want to alienate anyone at all, but I especially don’t want to alienate those who don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus.
It may compromise the ministry with which I’ve been entrusted. As a follower of Jesus and a pastor of a church, my understanding of my existence is that God has uniquely placed me where I am and entrusted me to be an ambassador of the Kingdom of God. When he called me to this role and purpose, he gave me a certain spiritual authority. I can’t quantify it, nor can I point to a place where I store it. I just know that it comes from God for the task to which he called me. To misuse spiritual authority, I believe, is a grave error that Jesus won’t take lightly. Spiritual authority shouldn’t be used to promote anyone other than Jesus and any kingdom but the Kingdom of God. Anything else is akin to spiritual abuse.
It stunts your own discipleship. Part of growing as a disciple is learning to understand the nature of the Kingdom of God and your existence in it, and learning to discern the voice of God as you seek to understand the world through it. If I tell you who to vote for, I short-circuit your growth and rob you of the opportunity to consider your vote as a Kingdom person.
I think it is a gift in this country that we have a right to elect our leaders. I believe everyone should cast a vote, but I won’t tell you for whom you should vote.