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Importance of Voting in Elections: Bible Teaching, Founding Fathers


The Importance of Voting in Elections


How important is it for citizens to vote for candidates of high moral character who respect God and His word? What does the Bible say about the responsibilities of rulers and our need for rulers who fear God and love the truth? What did the founding fathers say about the duty to vote?

Consider the following quotations that explain our responsibility as voters to elect as our rulers people of morally upright character who respect God and His word.

Quotations from Scripture

"... you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness ... and let them judge the people..." - Exodus 18:21,22

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan" - Prov. 29:2.

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" - Prov. 14:34

"...For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God ... For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good ... an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil." - Romans 13:1-4

"I exhort ... that supplications, prayers, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." - 1 Timothy 2:2

Quotations from the Founding Fathers

Consider the importance that many of our founding fathers and former rulers attached to voting for candidates of high moral character who respect God and His word. (Most of these quotations can be found in the book Original Intent, by David Barton.)

John Adams

(Second president of the United States, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Member of the Continental Congress, Vice President under George Washington)

"We electors [voters] have an important constitutional power placed in our hands; ... Let us examine, then, with a sober, a manly ... and a Christian spirit; let us neglect all party [loyalty] and advert to facts; let us believe no man to be infallible or impeccable in government any more than in religion; take no man's word against evidence, nor implicitly adopt the sentiments of others who may be deceived themselves, or may be interested in deceiving us."  

[John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, ed. (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. 1, p. 81, from "'U' to the Boston Gazette" written on August 29, 1763.]

Samuel Adams

(Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Member of Continental Congress, Governor of Massachusetts)

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote ... that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."  

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]

"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men."  

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.]

James Garfield

(Twentieth President of the United States, US Senator, Member of US House of Representatives)

"Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. ... [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation ... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."  

[James A. Garfield, The Works of James Abram Garfield, Burke Hinsdale, editor (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883), Vol. II, pp. 486, 489, "A Century of Congress," July, 1877.]

John Jay

(First Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, President and Member of the Continental Congress, co-author of the Federalist Papers)

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."  

[John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. IV, p. 365.]

Daniel Webster

(US Senator, US Representative, US Secretary of State)

"Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise [vote] is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector [voter] is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own."  

[Daniel Webster, The Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 108, from remarks made at a public reception by the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, on October 5, 1840.]

Noah Webster

(Author of the American Dictionary of the English Language)

"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God." The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws."  

[Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337.]

John Witherspoon

(Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Member of the Continental Congress)

"Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. ... [And t]he people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches."  

[John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IV, pp. 266, 277.]

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(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2012

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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

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