Your stewardship of your vote

Perhaps it is a bit surprising to be seeing stewardship connected with voting or to be seeing stewardship connected with anything other than our annual pledge this time of year. But, stewardship is our faithful use of every gift with which God has graced us. Our way of life, our freedom, and our ability to determine who leads our government are among those gifts. It is our Christian responsibility, then, to see to it that we exercise our stewardship of those gifts.

The following is inscribed on the doors of the chamber in the old Arizona House of Representatives: “As you enter these doors, contemplate the political philosophy that influenced many of our country’s founders. People get the government they deserve.” It continues, “Good moral people concerned about others get a good moral government that cares about the people.” And it concludes, “In a democracy, each of us is responsible for the quality of our government.”

For us to function as “One Nation Under God,” it is necessary for godly people to exercise their stewardship of the decision making of their government. It is an exercise of our stewardship of all creation, to prayerfully, yes prayerfully, vote for those candidates who will most exercise our Christian values.

For committed Christians, elections are not a beauty contest. They are not about Democrat and Republican, blue state and red state, liberal, and conservatives. Elections are about the soul of our country. We hear much about the debate regarding the#separation of church and state. That comes from the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America that says¬† “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” While it is argued by some that no level of government can in any way promote religion, faithful people retain the right and responsibility to influence the functioning of government.

Through the 1990s, the United States had among the lowest voter turnouts in the world. We averaged 44.9 percent, placing us 140th for voter turnout in the world. Our friends in Britain averaged 72.4 percent and Australia beat us both with 82.7 percent. Listening to interviews with potential voters, perhaps we should be thankful that our turnout is so low. Many of those interviewed either could not identify all of the major candidates or were very clear about who they would vote for but had little idea why. Both the turnout and the ignorance of the candidates and the issues speak to a complacency that a country as blessed as ours and as powerful as ours cannot afford, particularly among people of faith.

There are many critical issues that our elected officials will influence; the Middle East, stem cell research, same-sex marriage, health care, education, and many more. It is our responsibility as Christians in covenant with our creator to pray for God’s guidance on these issues, to pray for guidance to choose our next leaders, to pray for all who can vote that they will vote and that their vote will be influenced by the will of God, and then to exercise our vote informed by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is our stewardship.