My brother and schoolmate John Lussier of Hope in Exile sent out a few tweets today that were incredibly on target as social commentary and I had to share his words and some thoughts on them. He wrote,
"We've made voting a sacred act. It is our 'responsibility' and those who do vote somehow gain their 'dignity' from it."
"'Get up and vote!' Has been turned into an altar call at the Church of the Public Square. Who are you gonna live for?"
Lussier responded to someone asking if he thought voting was in fact a sacred act. He responded saying, "I don't think so. It has been made to be something we have to do, because we have divinized the State and its solutions."
In many ways I agree whole-heartedly with my friend. We have far too often convinced ourselves to look at the State and her methods as divine, even if we won't admit it. Too often we feel the authorities and their legislation will save us (or others). When we have such high views of the State and those who make it up we turn President's into Saviours and votes into worship. With such a perspective we can see why we must bless the world with democracy and defend it with great violence (and we will feel more than justified for both). This is nationalism at it's highest point.
This is also idolatry.
Plain and simple. Voting is not a responsibility but rather a right (which means you are free to vote or not vote and neither decision makes you more or less a citizen or appreciator of the nation). We are not made more valuable based upon who we vote for or even upon the decision to vote. Don't be fooled into thinking that you owe anyone your vote. Not soldiers, not neighbors, not politicians, not America, not God; no one.
The State, the Kingdom of God, the President, the Christ, the voting booth, the Church. All have a place in this creation but not all save. That's what matters. All our acts are significant, and in some senses, sacred. However, don't be led astray and begin to think that voting is like the Eucharist or baptism. It is not an ordinance and it is not demanded of us.
Christ saves us. His solutions are the ones we put our trust in. When we trust in the divinity of Christ the King and cling to his kingdom then our views of voting being a sacred duty are shattered. We won't follow the sacred acts of national worship because we will have exchanged them for the liturgy found through Christ and his Body.
As I've said in other articles, voting isn't bad. If a person feels divinely pressed to vote they they ought to listen to their conscience and do so. Whatever we do must be for the glory of God and it should look like Jesus Christ. The water gets muddy in this part of the discussion but the point of this specific discussion is simply to remind ourselves that our worship doesn't belong to the state but to God. The state, the president, the legislation; none of these can ever save us. Christ has already saved us and we must respond accordingly, giving him all our worship and allegiance. As singer/songwriter Derek Webb sings, "There is a day that’s been inaugurated but has not yet come, that we can proclaim by showing that there’s a better way."
So during this election season, do not forget that, as Christians, you already belong to a kingdom and it's king. Don't let foreign (aka earthly) nations and politicians distract you too much. Don't think you owe them anything but your allegiance to Christ, because you don't. The State needs your loyalty to Jesus far more than your vote, even if she doesn't know it.