Some Christians are upset with Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, because last week at the Pray Vote Stand summit by the Family Research Council, he suggested Christians who vote for Democrats or Christians who do not vote are unfaithful to God.
“2022 in the United States means votes matter. And we have a responsibility to make certain that Christians understand the stewardship of the vote, which means the discipleship of the vote, which means the urgency of the vote, the treasure of the vote, and they need to understand that insofar as they do not vote or they vote wrongly — they are unfaithful. Because a vote is a powerful stewardship.”
Naturally, this angered many woke and progressive “Christians.” They said Mohler has embraced “Christian nationalism.” They said he’s speaking as a conservative, not a Christian.
Meaning, progressive “Christians” believe they are the only professing Christians who should be political. They believe Christians who influence others to vote are divisive people — unless they’re progressive or woke.
Mohler’s critics are not angry that he said Christians who vote wrongly are unfaithful to God. They’re angry because he doesn’t believe voting for pro-life Republicans is wrong.
If Mohler said, “Christians who do not vote or Christians who vote for Republicans are unfaithful to God,” progressive “Christians” would wholeheartedly agree with him. After all, that’s what they’ve been saying about Evangelicals for years — especially after Donald Trump’s election in 2016.
Progressive “Christians” consistently suggest Evangelicals are not faithful Christians. In fact, just a few weeks ago — progressive Christians said Evangelicals were unfaithful Christians because we don’t support Biden’s student loan “forgiveness” plan.
So progressive “Christians” are not being apolitical in their reactions to Mohler’s words. Actually, they are the most politically-minded group of professing Christians in America. After all, their entire religion is based on progressive politics, not Christianity.
Nevertheless, they do not disagree with Mohler in principle. They disagree on politics.
It’s important to understand that. Though some Christians refuse to say so publicly — we all believe there is a right or wrong way to vote — a faithful or unfaithful way to vote. Christians and progressives agree on that. We disagree, however, on what we believe is a righteous or sinful way to vote.
Still, in response to the reactions to his words, Mohler said:
“If you are offended that I encourage Christians to vote FOR candidates who defend the unborn and support the integrity of marriage and to vote AGAINST candidates who support abortion and subvert marriage, that has been my message for my entire adult life.”
He’s right. I listened to his podcast, "The Briefing," for the first time in 2010. His words on voting in 2022 are not different from his words in 2010. It wasn’t controversial for Evangelicals to encourage Christians to vote for pro-life politicians in 2010 — and it shouldn’t be controversial now.
Many Evangelicals claim they’ve stopped encouraging Christians to vote for pro-life Christians because they want to be Christ-centered. Some of these Evangelicals are probably just sincerely wrong about their convictions. Others, however, are dishonest.
Christ isn’t the reason why some Evangelicals refuse to encourage Christians to rescue pre-born babies from slaughter. Christ hasn’t changed — and what it really means to be Christ-centered hasn’t changed. But the culture has changed, so some of these Evangelicals have also changed.
Therefore, it’s now offensive and controversial for Evangelicals to encourage Christians to vote in a biblical manner. Meaning, some Evangelicals choose to protect themselves from being called offensive instead of protecting babies from murder.
Nevertheless, is it unfaithful for Christians to vote for Democrats? Is it a sin if a Christian supports a pro-abortion politician? Yes.
If you support an unjust politician, you’re guilty of injustice and unfaithfulness to God.
Our refusal to acknowledge this reveals our apathy over the injustice of abortion, and the injustice of “gender-affirming” castrations, mastectomies, and hysterectomies.
We’re unfaithful to God when we vote for unjust politicians over just politicians. William Wilberforce suggested the same throughout his campaign to end slavery 200 years ago.
As an abolitionist politician, Wilberforce suggested it was his Christian duty to vote against slavery in parliament — and it was the Church’s Christian duty to vote in elections for anti-slavery politicians.
Wilberforce said, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.”
And his colleague James Stephen, said:
“I would as soon affiance myself in bonds of friendship with a man who had strangled my infant child, as lend my feeble support to an administration disposed to violate the sacred duty of adhering to and enforcing the abolition of the slave trade.”
With strong support from Christians, William Wilberforce and James Stephen eventually authored what became known as the Slave Trade Act 1807, a bill that abolished the slave trade in the British Empire.
Though we celebrate these men 200 years later, we condemn Christians who are emulating them today.
Interestingly, people who are angry that some of us believe it’s unfaithful for Christians to vote for pro-abortion politicians would also say Christians who voted for pro-slavery politicians in Wilberforce’s time were unfaithful to God.
I’ve already published several articles about why Christians shouldn’t vote for Democrats. You can read one of these articles here. In that article I said:
“We Christians have freedom not to vote for anyone, but we do not have freedom to vote for anyone. We have the freedom not to vote for pro-life politicians like Donald Trump, but we do not have freedom to vote for pro-abortion politicians like Joe Biden.”
That might seem to contradict what Al Mohler said about Christians who do not vote, but I don’t think Mohler and I disagree on this. I can’t speak for Mohler — but from what I know about him, I don’t think he was saying Christians who do not vote are unfaithful to God.
Given his Never-Trump position in 2016 before he changed his mind in 2020, I don’t think Mohler believes Christians are unfaithful if they refuse to vote for a “lesser evil” or a progressive, pro-abortion Republican.
I don’t think he was referring to Christians who have legitimate reasons not to vote. In the context of his speech, I think he was addressing Christian apathy over voting in elections. In other words, I think he was referring to Christians who do not care about voting.
If my assumptions are correct, I agree with Mohler. Christians who do not care about voting are unfaithful to God.
Voting is a right and a responsibility. We rightly label our rights as God-given, but we rarely acknowledge that our responsibilities with those rights are also God-given. We have a God-given right to vote, and we have a God-given responsibility to vote.
That God-given responsibility includes means we should love and protect our neighbors by voting. The Bible says, “Hate evil and love good; establish justice in the gate” (Amos 5:15).
Therefore, we should hate abortion, love the right to life, and establish justice for pre-born babies by voting for pro-life politicians.
Originally published at Slow to Write.
Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.