|HERE ARE SOME really good reasons not to vote this year.|
First, if you don't know what is at stake, don't know the issues, the candidates, the framework of the local, state and national debate and ... don't want to know -- please, don't vote.
Second, if you don't care and don't think it matters if you do care. The world will go where it deterministically will go, and as far as you can tell your involvement matters not one whit. Don't vote.
Third, if you are so partisan that you can't envision voting anything besides Republican, or Democrat, or Libertarian, or Green ... you are a team player and you are willing to ride your team to the depths of hell no matter what positions the member candidates take. Do us a favor ... don't you vote, either.
If you understand the enormous blessing that God has given us, living in a nation that allows "We the people ..." to set the direction, then show your appreciation to the Almighty and exercise the most fundamental privilege of our Republic. Vote.
If you recognize that to not vote is to, for instance, give the pro-abortion, hyper-feminist, change-the-traditional-definition-of-family, government-is-the-answer, blame-America-first crowd undiminished and unchallenged sway, please vote.
If you recognize that you have a discerning mind that keeps track of basic legislative concerns, can take a fair view of the issues and persons involved, and have a clue about seeking the mind of God before entering the voting booth, by all means, vote.
Writing in U.S. News & World Report a couple years ago, John Leo defended voting based on religious values. He admitted befuddlement from the "don't impose your values on me" crowd and quoted UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh: "That's what most lawmaking is -- trying to turn one's opinions on moral or pragmatic subjects into law."
But Leo continued.
"Those who think Christians should keep their moral views to themselves, it seems to me, are logically bound to deplore many praiseworthy causes, including the abolition movement, which was mostly the work of the evangelical churches courageously applying Christian ideas of equality to the entrenched institution of slavery. The slave owners, by the way, frequently used 'don't impose your values' arguments, contending that whether they owned blacks or not was a personal and private decision and therefore nobody else's business." (U.S. News & World Report, 11-29-04)The same kind of arguments are made today by those who want the Religious Right to take a long hike off a short political pier -- keep your "God" values to yourself. Separation of church and state and all that stuff. Let us have it our way.
Which brings us to a last good reason to vote your evangelical convictions based on Scripture: to rebuff those who are trying to intimidate, embarrass, and dismiss the voting population that still believes ardently in God, Bible, noble American values, and a future that doesn't belong to the shrill, the ethics of Hollywood, and the unrighteous indignation of the cultural elite.
Voting -- it is one of the things you can do while blessing and annoying at the same time. Election day is just around the corner. Let's get ready to roll.
Matt Friedeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary. Respond to this column at his blog at "EvangelismToday.blogspot.com."
More columns by Matt Friedeman