First off, this article is not about why a Christian should or shouldn’t vote for Trump – I’ll save that for another post. In fact, you won’t see any candidate names at all past the introduction.
Rather, this is a general piece on how a Christian can morally vote for anybody. Yes, even Clinton. Well, maybe not that far.
King or President?
Many American Christians are hyperventilating at the thought of voting for Trump, banging out thought-pieces with fervor – trying to reconcile the obvious necessity to do so despite their personal dislike of the man and his foibles. They act as if they believe that voting for the Presidency is akin to being personally baptized in the candidate’s name, taking on his identity, character, and morality. You may think this is an exaggeration of their viewpoint, but this is essentially their argument: “I could never identify with that man!” From the strength of their conviction, you’d think that voting for him would cause a loss of your eternal salvation.
We are not selecting a pastor or an elder for our church. We are selecting someone to lead this nation – Steve Lambert
They are under the same delusions the Israelites were when they demanded a King. They were looking for an identity, an ideological figurehead. When they had virtuous kings, that worked in their favor. Of course, none were completely virtuous – David murdered a faithful friend and soldier in order to steal his wife, and he was the high point of God-loving earthly authority. The Israelites put so much stock in Kingship that they were easily led astray.
The founding fathers of America knew this, being learned in both history and scripture, and designed our government precisely under the assumption that their leaders and holders of positions of power and authority would act unvirtuously. There would be no King, no figurehead, but a temporary and easily-replaced leader.
Therefore, voting for a candidate is not the same as condoning or identifying with  – it’s governance. As citizens and inheritors, we have been remarkably blessed by this country, and we have a responsibility to steward it as best we can. That includes making tough choices and making the best of a bad situation.
Voting is not consumption, confluence, or consummation; it’s management. For example, managing a restaurant keeps it in the business of feeding people and sustaining itself. However, if you shirk your management duties because you don’t like the color on the walls, then it will soon be a moot point when the restaurant shuts down.
 No need to name names, you’ve undoubtedly seen these articles all over the internet; and from well-known and otherwise respected spiritual leaders.
 The obvious corollary here is that identity is a powerful tool for political persuasion. Aligning a candidacy with an identity group can solidify that group to that candidate. Obama: “I’m black”, Clinton: “I’m a woman”, etc. The negative case doesn’t work so well – Generic Republican: “I’m not like the Democrat”. See Scott Adam’s Persuasion Stack. But whatever the appeal to identity, we must not find our Christian identity in earthly people, whether it be a politician or a preacher.
“Who Would Jesus Vote For?” is another typical argument – the implication being that a candidate could be so immoral that one couldn’t justify voting for him and being a Christ-follower.
Of course, this is a ridiculous argument, as by that standard, Jesus couldn’t vote for anybody but himself, as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Billy Graham couldn’t even make that cut. Even Catholics couldn’t vote for the Pope if he was the nominee.
Let me answer this argument by asking another question: Do you pay taxes, even though you know that some of that money goes towards immoral causes, like abortion? What taxes would Jesus pay? Would he abstain from paying his taxes because of this?
No, for we read in Mark 12:13-17, that we are to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. Just as it is moral that we pay taxes, part of which fund immoral activities, likewise, it is just as applicable to believe that we can morally participate in government, even though they are run by immoral people, who will do immoral things, for immoral purposes. Let us remember Romans 13 – that governmental authority can be ordained by God , despite its failures, abuses, and immorality.
 Note that earthly authorities can also be not ordained. Some good thoughts here: God ordains worldly leaders, but not every leader is ordained of God
His supporters say the vilest things!
Of course they do. Think of all the supporters of a given candidate who say the worst things, that you’ve seen on TV, read on the internet, that reply in the comments section. That’s the 1%. Most people don’t care about politics enough to speak up, but those who do are the most invested, the most passionate. That’s not most people. Talk to your friends, your neighbors – they’ll give you the truest sense of what most of the regular folk think about a candidate .
Now, the enemy of my enemy doesn’t have to be my friend – but as long as he’s advancing in the right direction, i’m not going to stop him.
“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” – Winston Churchill
The American right has a very bad habit of forming circular firing squads, excommunicating fellow travelers for heresy or unconventional opinions – and they do this willingly at the command of the left! They could learn a thing or two from the American left, in that they never, ever, denounce or disown the most extreme among them. For once you outcast the extremists, the centrists then become the extremists and are cast out next.
“Embrace the extremists. Defend them. Refuse to permit them to be cut off and isolated. Allow them to play their role as the intellectual shock troops they are. That is how you win. Because if they’re not taking the incoming fire, you are. And the shock troops are much better equipped psychologically to take it and survive than the average self-styled moderate.” – Vox Day
 Find people with opinions contrary to your own; those that you would gladly take counsel from in other matters. Do they support a candidate despite seemingly insurmountable flaws? Consider the grass-roots viewpoints that contradict opinion pieces from national thought-leaders. What is said and known at the national level is often at odds with the ground-level perspective.
But he’s immoral and has poor character!
In American history, there have been elected presidents who were more immoral or despicable or vulgar than the candidates in this cycle (I doubt they would even crack the top 5), yet God used them to bless the country, which has allowed its Christian citizens to bless the world. Across the pond, Winston Churchill was a crass and offensive man (and delightfully so), but there’s little doubt he was the right leader in the right place at the right time.
Let us also remember that God ordained and used Nebuchadnezzar (by no means a righteous and God-loving king; rather a base, vicious, cruel, and temperamental foreign conqueror) to demonstrably and literally proclaim God’s glory following the trials in the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar is the most-mentioned foreign ruler in the Bible, and it’s not even close. In the book of Jeremiah, he’s even called God’s servant .
Now, if a candidate wins despite Christians not voting for him, do you think that enhances the Christian influence on him and the direction of the country? No, in fact it diminishes it – that president would not feel beholden to Christians at all, and may even be affronted by them. So lacking a “true” Christian candidate, if we know that some candidates won’t listen to Christians at all and are outright attempting to diminish them – but on the other hand, there are some that are at least trying to appeal to believers – then we have the possibility to be a godly influence IF that candidate wins with Christian support.
I’d rather have a finger on the steering wheel than none at all.
It would be foolishness to refuse to support Nebuchadnezzar over Jezebel just because King David wasn’t available. Nebuchadnezzar at least eventually took godly counsel.
The Lesser of Evils
Most elections, there are 2 viable choices for president. Usually, neither are great choices – but depending on your criteria, you should be able to rank one higher than the other. Perhaps you claim to not see a difference, and that’s your prerogative, but I contend that no two candidates are so closely aligned.
Regardless of how you feel about these candidates, the fact is that by voting for either one of them you will positively affect the outcome for your more-preferred candidate, who is more likely to govern closer to your interests.
If you vote for neither of the viable candidates, then you increase the chances for the less-desirable candidate, with governance that is less-desirable.
If we all had to vote between a vial that had a 98% chance of being poison, and another that had a 97% chance of being poison, you’d have to take your chances with the lower percentage, right? Voting for an imaginary and impossible 3rd choice wouldn’t lessen your chances of drinking poison, it would in fact increase it.
The Bottom Line
As American citizens, we have an opportunity to participate in influencing the direction of our government – extremely rare in the scope of human history. Even as flawed and corrupted as the process and institutions are nowadays, it is still our God-given and blood-bought duty to try to do what’s best for our God and our country, even if that means holding our noses and voting for the least bad choice. Our personal identity is not found in presidents, but in the God of the bible, who uses the worst of humanity to further His goals and bring Himself glory.
To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.