Why I Cannot Vote Republican or Democrat in November

This election has been difficult for all Americans. We have been asked to choose between two candidates whose disapproval ratings are at all time highs. Rather than vote for a candidate, many people are voting against a candidate. People know who they don’t want, and they are reluctantly voting for who they perceive to be the lesser of two evils.

Where does a person draw the line? How far is too far? These are the questions some voters have been asking themselves during this election season, especially after the last few days. Christians have an ethic that sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are supposed to behave in a certain way. To be holy means to be different. Our different way of living should inspire people to be like Jesus. When we compromise our holiness, we compromise our witness. This means there is a line we can cross, but what it is it?

For me, one issue is above all others. It is a principle we find in the first chapter of Genesis, and its fingerprints are on the entire Bible.

So God created man in his own image,

   in the image of God he created him;

   male and female he created them.

(Genesis 1:27)

Every person has been created in the image of God. This fundamental fact is at the root of many of the commands we find in Scripture. Sometimes it is stated explicitly (James 3:8-9). Other times it is implied. It is the basis for loving our neighbors, loving our enemies, and helping people in need. This principle is the foundation of our ethic. We stand against abortion and racism both because we believe all people are created in the image of God. If a person denies this truth, then I cannot support them because it goes against everything I believe.

It is easy to see how Hillary Clinton rejects this precept in her support of abortion. Unborn children are the most innocent human beings on this planet. They are the least among us, and as Christians, we are called to be a voice for the voiceless. We must not allow other people to devalue these children. They are living humans created in the image of God, and they deserve the right to life. To end their life is murder.

Donald Trump denies the image of God in a different way. This is most evident in his comments concerning women that have recently appeared in the news. I think it is important to pay attention to exactly what he said. His words cannot easily be dismissed as foul language or “locker room talk.”

In 2005, the following conversation was recorded.

Trump: You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Unidentified voice: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.

In a 2006 interview with Howard Stern, the two had the following exchange concerning Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.

Trump: My daughter is beautiful, Ivanka.

Stern: By the way, your daughter.

Trump: She’s beautiful

Stern: Can I say this? A piece of a**.

Trump: Yeah

These are not the only disturbing comments that Trump has made. There are many more, but these are some of the most telling. They give us insight into his view of women. It’s obvious he thinks of women as objects. He believes his celebrity status allows him to kiss and touch women without their consent. He is unwilling to stand up to a radio talk show host who demeans his daughter by calling her a piece of meat. He even gives the host permission to speak of his daughter in inappropriate ways. This isn’t just what he thinks of a few women. This is how he sees all women, including his daughter. He doesn’t see women as human beings created in the image of God.

Failing to recognize the image of God in another human being dehumanizes them and ourselves. We lose part of our humanity when we treat people as objects. A society that does not acknowledge the image of God in every individual is a society that opens the door for violence (abortion, rape, sexual assault, slavery, etc.) to exist and thrive. Christians must take a stand on this issue. Christians must choose a leader who refuses to devalue any person no matter their age, gender, race, etc. This principle, more than any other, sets us apart from the world.

A vote for Hillary Clinton means we choose power over unborn children. A vote for Donald Trump means we choose power over women. We are not called to seek power or align ourselves with politicians. We are called to stand up for the least among us. We are called to take the side of the marginalized. We are called to speak truth to power and oppose anyone who seeks to use their power or status to take advantage of a human soul created in God’s image.

This election is more important than the economy, taxes, or Supreme Court justices. It is about the heart and soul of Christianity in America. Many will compromise their morals in some way. They will find some argument, and there are plenty available on both sides, that will excuse a vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate. There are no legitimate excuses. If a person votes for Trump or Clinton, all they can do is ask for forgiveness. Supporting either candidate will hurt our witness among the very people we are trying to reach. We must think beyond politics and consider the kingdom of God.
Politicians will always let us down. They offer false promises and false hope. Thankfully, we belong to a kingdom that is everlasting, and we serve a king that will reign forever. Politicians would like us to believe that losing an election is the end of the world, but it is not. The end has already been determined, and Christ is victorious. The most important thing we can do is stand with Jesus. He is faithful. He keeps his promises. He alone offers salvation. I cannot support Clinton. I cannot support Trump, but I can wholeheartedly stand behind the King of kings and give him my full allegiance.

Scott Elliott is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and Austin Graduate School of Theology. He lives in La Grange, TX and is the minister for the La Grange Church of Christ. He is married and has two sons. He enjoys writing about the Christian faith and posting the occasional film review. His articles and reviews have appeared in RELEVANT magazine, Englewood Review of Books, and other publications.

  1. Reply
    Micah October 13, 2016 at 9:17 am

    I had almost this very discussion last night at church. It’s the same problem the Israellites had in Jesus’s day, people can’t look past their earthly “kingdoms” and consider the eternal Kingdom. I get so frustrated every time I hear “But a vote for anyone but (or no one) is just like voting for ” or “You’d just be throwing your vote away!” The truth of the matter is, God will use whoever is in power for His purposes and we’ve never been promised that our country as we know it will last; in fact, the bible shows us that the natural order of things is for nations to fall.

    We as Christians, need to stop worrying about saving the country, and start worrying about saving our fellow countrymen. This is the only way we are going to truly affect change in this nation.

  2. Reply
    PH October 13, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I agree – this election leaves us without any good candidate. Both have faults way beyond those you listed. My reason for voting is real simple. The next president will nominate one and most likely more than one candidate to the Supreme Court. As we know, the U.S. Supreme Court is NOT THE Supreme court – that is God and God Alone.

    However, the candidates Trump has listed for the Court are good conservatives. We do not need a more liberal court. We do not a court that rules against God any more than the one we have.

    Let us pray for the our elected officials. Let us hope we have worthy candidates in 4 years.

  3. Reply
    Peggy Phillips October 13, 2016 at 10:12 am

    …and yet, by not voting, we give tacit approval to whomever is elected. While I cannot recommend either candidate, I do realize that not voting gives Hillary the election, and she is, by far, the worse of two evils.

    • Reply
      JW October 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

      I respectfully disagree, and I think the article does as well. You say “not voting” is equal to “supporting whomever is elected.” But that logic doesnt stick well. If Hillary is elected, many people will (just as you imply now) put part of the blame on nonvoters contributing to it. However, if Trump is elected, nonvoters wont be praised for contributing to his victory; they will be seen as non-contributors since they didnt vote for him.

      Furthermore, I dont agree with the premise that non-voting = supporting anyone. There are lots of elected officials that I did not vote in their election; yet, that doesnt make me responsible for their immoral use of the office. You can correct me if I am mistaken, since I dont know you personally, but I would guess you have not voted for every senator, state representative, governor, mayor, sheriiff, bill or law that there was an opportunity for you to vote for in your lifetime. And in any of those examples you didnt vote in, I would not blame you for the injustice that came to pass.

      I dont say any of that spitefully, I just respectfully disagree.

  4. Reply
    Jason October 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    “Of two evils, choose neither.” – Charles Spurgeon

  5. Reply
    Brian Giselbach October 14, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Wow. You just said that voting for either candidate is a sin.
    I am a Christian. I realize that I am voting for a flawed person. My faith causes me to choose one over the other. But doing so does not mean I support everything “my candidate” says or does.
    Just because I pray for kings and all who are in authority (1 Tim.2:1-2), does not mean I stand for all that these characters believe, say, or do. God knows I am making the best choice I can among those who are put in front of me.
    The heart and soul of Christianity is at stake in this election? Really? I am not persuaded. The kingdom of God in my heart instructs me and leads me in my vote. It is the only thing that gives me light.

  6. […] Why I Cannot Vote Republican or Democrat in November […]

  7. Reply
    Tiana October 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Trump is not my candidate of choice either. He is so far from what I had hoped for as our Republican nominee but I encourage everyone to not straddle the fence or refuse to make a choice between these two candidates because there is so much more at stake in this election than who is in office for the next four years. In the next presidential term several Supreme Court justice positions will be up for grabs and those justices are appointed for life. I don’t like Trump or Clinton-but to me it isn’t really about them it’s about what views we want our supreme court to have. I will vote for Trump, hard as it may be, so that we have some conservatives appointed to that Supreme Court. These are the people that will be determining what kind of country our children grow up in. And having a liberal in office, and liberals appointed on the court, will put us on an even more accelerated track to being a country that not only accepts, but CELEBRATES abortion, transgenderism, homosexuality, extreme feminism, Islamic extremism, laziness, entitlement, socialism, etc.

    There are numerous things I dislike about our two candidates-but I believe that one of them is trying to do the right things for this country. We as Christians need to be cautious of the fact that we are judging them in a far harsher manner than we judge ourselves. They are never going to be perfect people-only Jesus Christ has accomplished that.

  8. Reply
    PH October 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I’ve thought about this article off and on for a few days. I want to suggest another thought. In the O.T. has God used others (outside of His people) for good or to bring His people back to Him. If so, is it possible God can use a candidate for His good. Even a flawed candidate? The answer is Yes.

    I can’t help thinking about a quote from Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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