On Tuesday, Democrat Rafael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff election. Around 200,000 republicans chose to sit the election out. Many of those were evangelical Christians who viewed Walker’s character with skepticism due to a barrage of negative ads. So, what is the role of faith in the political arena? I think we can learn two important lessons about faith and citizenship from this, and other recent elections.
Faith and Hypocrisy
While not voting might seem like taking a stand for our faith, it actually works to undermine biblical truth in our culture. In my opinion, choosing not to vote reveals a level of hypocrisy. I can build a pretty good case for this argument because I dealt with it personally in the 2016 presidential election.
When initially presented with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I couldn’t imagine voting for either. Getting my head around voting for Trump was a struggle. But then I considered the consequences of not voting. You see, not casting a vote is still voting. As Edmund Burke stated, “The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Hypocrisy is often hard to comprehend—even my own. For instance, as Christians we often entertain ourselves with music, movies, and television shows that portray the very sins we claim to hate. Hypocrisy allows us to reason between the sins we accept and the ones we reject. After all, we’re only human. Only God is holy. Hypocrisy, however, has much more to do with the self-righteousness of our personal preferences than with authentic righteousness.
Christians who mix their faith and citizenship by getting involved in politics are often accused of being white nationalists. That’s like accusing people who work to save money of being materialists. But that’s what hypocrites do—they choose the label that best condemns others and most elevates their perceived virtue. Remember, Jesus instructs us to “be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). In reality, many so-called evangelicals have become as dumb as sheep submitting to the authority of wolves.
Citizens and Stewards
For believers, being an American citizen is an act of stewardship. I recognize that God is the owner and controller of all things. But I also recognize the responsibility to manage my rights in a way that serves and glorifies Him. When Jesus said, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Mark 12:17) He wasn’t separating earthly citizenship from heavenly citizenship. We are to exercise our faith as we exercise our rights and responsibilities as citizens. In other words, our faith and citizenship go hand-in-hand.
How do we accomplish that? By engaging the culture as practitioners of God’s Word, not just proclaimers of it. We must be active stewards of our citizenship—not victims of bullies who say there’s no place for faith in the political arena. I’m grateful that men like Washington, Wilberforce, and Lincoln didn’t hold to such nonsense. Our country would still be in the bondage of segregation if men like Martin Luther King Jr. had stayed behind his pulpit instead of bringing his pulpit to the highways of America and into the hallways of congress.
Engaging in the political process is not about dependence on government. It’s about being a good steward; voting for those who would best promote policies in line with biblical truth. As imperfect a candidate as Hershel Walker was, he at least supported the biblical and biological design of male and female. He would have been an advocate for the unborn, and a defender of religious liberty.
As a preacher of the gospel, I am duty bound to proclaim biblical truth; in season and out of season, to the rich and to the poor, to democrats, republicans, and independents. I will pray for those in leadership, and I will seek to support those I think should be in leadership. I encourage you to not let the hype of the hypocrites keep you from being a good steward of your faith and of your citizenship.