Friday, November 21, 2008

Why I didn't vote.....

Last Christmas I was driving from Durango, CO, to Albuquerque, NM, to catch a flight home to see my family and try to kill whatever crossed our paths in the woods with my brother. As you drive through the barren wastelands which are the Native Reservations, you can pick up infrequent radio stations. I happened to catch a signal from a Christian talk-radio program, so I listened to see whether verbal diamonds or detritus would grace the airwaves.

It seems one of the new favorite past-times of Evangelicals is to become infuriated during the Holy Season when they hear “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Kwanzaa” or “Happy Hanukah” and spread the holiday cheer by demanding that “Merry Christmas” is the only appropriate thing to say: like the King James Bible…if it was good enough for Jesus then it’s good enough for me! So this lady calls in and says, “I’m an African American woman and a Christian and I celebrate Kwanzaa and it’s not a religious thing for me; it’s more of a celebration of my past and my people’s history and it’s really just a matter of me taking pride in my heritage”.

There’s the rub.

Now, to be fair, my whole life I’ve never voted because I always felt I would be casting my vote for the candidate who (I thought ) would not fail as frequently at performing his Presidential duties as the other, to show my support for the lesser of two evils. Sorry, but I’ve got better things to do. And anyone who has had a high school government teacher (even if he was the football coach, which he usually is) should realize with minimal consideration that the President, for all practical purposes, is little more than the hood ornament on a Mercedes (or an El Camino); he’s not much more than a symbol (or perhaps he’s the airbag). It’s Congress (Congress includes both the HR and Senate) and the Judges who run this country. So IF I was ever going to become politically active, I would put my energies into facilitating either change or support of those branches of the government. But again, that was before I heard the Christian Talk-Radio Lady….back to the rub.

It was the phrase “taking pride in” which caught my attention. More specifically, it was that phrase used in the same sentence with “I’m a…Christian”. I saw the truth then (or rather was shown) as clearly as any truth of scripture that has been revealed to me. I know the Sunday school lesson about this. We all do. Jesus is our all, right? He’s all we need; we must decrease and He must increase; “I claim to know nothing but Christ, and Him crucified”. And here was this woman’s voice invading my airspace saying that she was a Christian but that she also takes pride in something other than Christ! NO, NO NO! That’s what my heart cried. And like all good Christians I felt I should call the radio show right away and share this with Ms. Kwanzaa and the world. But then God turned my accusatory finger right back at me…

About two months ago I began my Sunday school class with two questions to break the ice (though to most I think they felt like I was breaking their faces): Should Christians vote (yes or no), and why (please limit your responses to no more than 2 sentences)? So one by one we went around the room. There were, of course a slough of “yes's", one “I don’t think it matters”, and two “no’s” (one of which was mine). The “yes” folk had explanations like “it’s our duty” and “this was founded as a Christian nation” (oh how those history teachers have failed so many) and “as Christians we need to stand up to abortion and make it illegal” (my response to this particular individual was, “making abortion illegal won’t stop abortion; it will only increase the sale of wire clothes hangers; the government doesn’t change anyone’s heart…only Christ does that” – he did not return to class). But one consistent response I got was, “I guess I never really thought about it”.

Yes, we are to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. Right before Jesus says that, He asks them to look at whose image is on the coin. This, according to Christ, is how you can tell what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God: by which image is visible. So let me ask you……

Whose image is on your life?
To whom does your allegiance belong?
To whom does your duty belong?
To whom does your time belong?
To whom does your passion belong?
To whom does your support belong?
To whom does your vote belong?
How much time do you think Christ (you know, the one you call Rabbi, the one who you say you wish to emulate (or is it immolate?) would have sat and analyzed CNN and which candidate was lying the least? How long would He have spent discussing and debating the foreign policy of a particular candidate? How long would He have spent waiting in line to show which man had His support?

Why didn’t I vote? Because I don’t think Christians should vote.
Why don’t I think Christians should vote? I’ll answer this with a question I’ve already asked: Whose image is on your life?

Please go to to cast your vote on whether or not you agree……


The Militant Pacifist said...

George Carlin had an interesting observation about voting too…

"You may have noticed that there's one thing I don't complain about: Politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says, "They suck". But where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. No, they come from American homes, American families, American schools, American churches, American businesses, and they're elected by American voters. This is the best we can do, folks. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out.

....I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don't vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain", but where's the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain.

I, on the other hand, who did not vote -- who did not even leave the house on Election Day -- am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created."

Hippie Fringe said...

Treybur, Well you did it now. I haven't read through all the (lets say responses) yet, but wanted to start with your post and say simply that I find your view point refreshing and responsible. My views differ but I must still say good for you (yes you).

MP, my stratagem is somewhat Carlinian; I vote for someone that I know will never win, that way I can complain and blame with a clear conscience.

J. Matthew Brunson said...

Wow, the pessimism on this page is staggering. I can't believe you guys actually take pride in "sitting at home" on election day and continue regurgitating the intellectually void generalizations about how horrible our leaders are. Keep sitting back and pointing your fingers, and I'll go vote.

treybur said...

JMB, if you think the point of my post was to complain about "our leaders" as you call them (though they are certainly not mine), then I think you failed to really read the post.

I'm struck by how retorts to my blogs have tended to diminish in quality to a state of name post was not meant to be intellectually void or intellectually appealing....the wisdom of man is foolishness to God.