“An American president is, indeed, a ‘governing authority’ to which we should submit; but he is by no stretch of principles a king. We should submit to the office, in that we obey the laws he is supposed to execute, but he cannot require citizens to do whatever he commands. Our Constitution does not give him that power. He is neither the source of law nor the interpreter of law. The public elects the President from a field of candidates. Submission to his authority cannot always include voting for him. Nor can it mean refusing to criticize him. In our legal and political system, the people must assess the President’s performance and that of other elected officials; otherwise it would be impossible to have a democratic republic.
“Those called to be American citizens, therefore, have a Romans 13 obligation to take an active part in their government…Feelings of patriotism and acts of civic-mindedness are fitting responses to the blessings God has given this country and to the citizenship to which He has called them. But the calling to citizenship also includes active involvement in their nation and in their government: voting, debating issues, grass-roots politics, and civic activism.”
– Gene Edward Veith, God at Work, pg. 113
Given Veith’s contention, how would you counsel someone whose conscience is not permitting them to vote in this year’s election? Can a Christian citizen in America refuse to vote? Or, does our vocation as citizens in a democratic republic require our participation in the next election? What are other ways one with a burdened conscience can take part in the political system?
Share your thoughts in the comments below