Do Christians have a moral obligation to vote?


The Evangelical Alliance in the UK, have been asking Christians to support the Promise to Vote campaign.

I became a christian just before the age of 18, and my first opportunity to vote.  Before and since them I have always thought that every person, of any faith and none should vote.  By that I mean that if people want an opinion on government they should vote.

And by voting that includes spoiling a ballot form, for 'none of the above' which is still counted within our voting system and acknowledged.  And after voting in several general elections I remain as convinced about that involvement and obligation as a member of  a democratic country.

I don't believe in the separation of faith from politics, convinced as I am that secularists and atheists have clear positions on faith, that are not precluded from public life, and that Christians similarly should not suspend their beliefs from public life.  And that includes voting.

I also believe all forms of government are penultimate, fallen, and no matter how good, are not a substitute for the church in terms of identity for Christians.  Politics can be engaged in passionately by Christians, but should always be something seen as a mixed bag and unable to bring what only God can bring.  There can be no such thing as a 'Christian government', or one party that all christians should vote for.

And within that, I do think the role of Christians in voting, and politics is to remind governments of their responsibilities for justice  and law.  My confidence for that comes from what I think the resurrection of Jesus made manifest, and began with the early church and the Roman Empire.  Christians are to pray for and engage with earthly rulers, and remind them of where their authority comes from, and that their authority is limited.

So after that reflection, I think I do see voting as a moral obligation for Christians, within that framework.  And more than that, that voting is only the beginning of engagement with politics and public life that Chrstians need to attend to.  As I write this I think that most Christians either have no involvement in politics, or are at the other extreme of collapsing faith into party politics.

So how do you see it?