Is It A Sin Not To Vote?

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

I guess the 11th commandment is now “thou shalt vote!” At least that’s what it seems in article after article written by various pastors and pundits with the express purpose of motivating Christians to vote for a favored candidate. Every time I read, “not voting is a sin” I shudder. The use of a persons faith to try to force them to do something based on fear is... well... cheap... a cheap religious trick. Our faith should be more valuable to us than that.

The outline usually goes like this: we are told that if we don't vote it is sin and then come arguments intended to persuade us to chose their candidate as the “lesser of two evils”. Some even try to make us think they are being objective. These writers basically try to convince us that one candidate is far too evil for our vote. Some firmly state they would never vote for such a candidate under any circumstances. I'm glad I'm already a Christian because if I wasn't then profane antics like this would cause me to avoid Christianity.

Instead of two evils they really give us a choice of three: Evil number 1: Not to vote for either candidate. Evil number 2: Vote for candidate one. Evil number 3: Vote for candidate two (the really evil one).

Some even seem to imply that evil number 1, not voting, is the greatest evil… but that doesn't seem to be supported by their logic. What if the only candidates were the one they would never vote for and one even worse. In that case they would be forced to choose sin number one and not vote at all. (I expect sin #1 would all the sudden lose its place as the 11th commandment)

But what if some folks have already come to the conclusion that both candidates have certain evils in their lives, beliefs, or policies which render them unworthy of their vote? Most people have a line of morality or principle over which they will not step to vote. Could it be that the question of voting or not voting is, for some thoughtful sincere people, a profound matter of conscience?

Might there be a time when the system has, or candidates have, become so corrupt that people of good conscience believe their only recourse is to not vote, but to pray that God’s grace will see us through the dark time? Some may intend to send a message to their political party by not voting.

Voting is a matter of conscience… and some of us still believe in liberty of conscience. I know I do, and I will not support a contrived religious doctrine intended to impede that liberty.

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