Why voting for Jesus does not count
As we sipped our herbal tea, I told my neighbor I’d written an essay on why I voted for President Trump in 2016. My neighbor also believes in the sanctity of life, and I thought she’d say she had voted similarly. Instead, she set down her cup with a sorrowful expression and confessed, like a penitent to a priest, that she had voted for Jesus Christ.
Four years ago, my neighbor was a Democrat. Born to a black family in the South, she grew up in a predominantly black part of L.A. and attended a top-ranked HBCU. All her life she thought that the only way for a black person to vote was blue. But in the 2016 election, she was faced with a dilemma.
Despite being a lifelong Democrat, my neighbor had recently adopted a pro-life position and this ruled out Hillary Clinton. At the same time, Donald Trump as portrayed by the mainstream media did not inspire any confidence. So when the day came to do her civic duty, my neighbor wrote “I vote for Jesus Christ” as her presidential choice. She then proceeded to enter the Lord’s name wherever her conscience would not allow her to select the Democratic candidates listed.
“I did what I thought was right,” she mumbled, toying with her cup. “I didn’t know better.”
The poor girl sounded so contrite, I felt compelled to console her in a priestly manner. What’s done is done, I said. All we can do is admit we were wrong and make better decisions going forward.
Making the Same Mistake
My neighbor switched parties after President Trump took office, but her mistake is being repeated by others this year. I’ve seen comments to this effect all over social media, as Christians piously announce their intention to vote for Jesus Christ.
These people know full well that Jesus isn’t running for office. If they’ve read their Bible at all, they will also know He had no political aspirations even as a citizen of ancient Israel. On the contrary, He frequently rebuked the Jewish leaders of His day for their insatiable love of power. And at the end of His life, when He stood before Pontius Pilate, one of the few things Jesus said was “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
Writing the Lord’s name on the ballot, far from glorifying Him, lowers Him to the level of an earthly ruler. And it’s useless from a practical standpoint, since Jesus isn’t a candidate. All it does is give voters the satisfaction of disdaining the electoral process because the options were not good enough for them.
This cavalier wasting of one’s vote may have been understandable in 2016, when Donald Trump was an unknown quantity in American politics. There was no guarantee that the former Apprentice host would deliver on his campaign promises. But four years on, Trump has proved himself to be a Constitutional conservative, not to mention the most faith-friendly president in recent history. He has appointed pro-life judges, defended the persecuted church, permitted public prayer, and stood with Israel. Christians have no excuse not to vote for him, especially considering the stark contrast between his platform and Biden’s.
It’s not difficult to guess what kind of Christian is voting for Jesus in 2020. Christian Republicans are either vocal about their support of the president or silent for fear of backlash. Therefore, the Christians who say they are voting for Jesus can only be RINOs, Democrats, or Independents who won’t admit they hate Trump more than they value the sanctity of life. They don’t even seem to care about their own freedom to worship.
Democrat governors and mayors across the country have clamped down on religious liberties since the lockdown began, and it’s getting worse as the holidays approach. What makes anyone think a Democrat president will reverse the trend? But unfortunately, even the prospect of never returning to church appears not to bother the Christians who are voting for Jesus.
Four years ago, against all odds, we were gifted a pro-life, pro-faith, pro-family president. And despite how savagely he has been attacked since announcing his bid for the White House in 2015, Donald Trump has been willing to run again. To write in any other name, even the name above every name, is to fling God’s gift in His face. It’s like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
Most parents have at some point told a cranky child, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” If these Jesus-voters don’t stop their Trump tantrums, I’m afraid God may say the same thing to us.
Sharon Arpana Edwards is a Christian author, editor, and writing coach in Los Angeles. Her books include Pioneer Boulevard, a collection of stories set in L.A.’s Indian community, and The Blessing of Melchizedek, an award-winning 100-day devotional. She recently completed two feature-length screenplays, one of which is a pro-life story. Sharon holds M.A.s in English (Pune, India) and creative writing (Keele, U.K.) and has worked as a proofreader at Warner Bros. Fond of motivational speaking, scenic walks, and prayer, Sharon strives to live up to her middle name, Arpana, a Sanskrit word meaning she who is surrendered to God.