To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken.—Jer. 6.10

Reasons Against Voting in America:

A Father’s Direction to His Son

On How to Keep a Good Conscience During a U.S. Election. Editor’s Introduction.

Should the patriotic Christian, who loves his country, compromise his conscience, by voting to elect a wicked man as the nation’s president, though he is unfit to be a member of the Christian church?  Suppose his country gives him no “better option” — does this make it right to do what was otherwise considered criminal?

Should the patriotic Christian, who loves his sovereign Lord, select a fellow-citizen to swear an oath of office, dishonoring his Lord, disregarding his law, and exalting the commandments of men above the commandments of God?  Again, Suppose his country gives him no “better option” — does this make it right to participate in the selection of a man to do with pretend solemnity, the deed he himself would consider to be treachery against Jesus?

Such considerations, weighing on the consciences of those who fear the Lord, have kept many in modern western nations from participating in the election of rulers, even while their prayerful hearts were much concerned about who would possess the reigns of society, and how the Lord’s honor and his people’s safety would be affected thereby.  To some they are “men wondered at” (Zech. 3.8,) while to many others they are resented as “the offscouring of all things.” (1 Cor. 4.13); but it is hoped the following will help the reader see why he too should choose this path, and see better expectation in it, than in the path of repeatedly embracing a “necessary evil” as his hope for his nation’s future.

The letter below, and brief introduction, are taken from the Reformation Advocate magazine of September, 1874.


We give to the following “Letter of a Father to his Son,” a place in our Magazine, because we consider it seasonable even now, although many years have elapsed and great changes have taken place since it was written, both in the statute and organic laws of this land.  We deem it proper to assure the reader that it is from the pen of one who was not by profession either a minister or member of the Reformed Presbyterian church.  Let the reader therefore dismiss from his mind any surmise that the letter originated in the brain of a “narrow-minded, bigoted Covenanter; a blue-stocking alien and enemy to the country; an anti-government man,” &c.  On the contrary the writer was nurtured among hymn-singing, slave-holding christians; but—he “searched the Scriptures,” and wrote as follows:—

October 9th, 1860. 

My Dear Son:

I write to you to let you know what I don’t want you to do; though I fear that what I don’t want you to do, is the very thing you will want to do.  I feel more interested in what you don’t do, than in what you do do.  I don’t want you to vote for Lincoln.  I take it for granted that there is no danger [i.e. likeliness] of your voting for any of the other candidates.  I will offer some reasons why we should not vote for any of the candidates. 

  1. None of them has the Scriptural qualifications for civil office.  The word of God requires that those who bear civil rule should be such as fear God; Exod. 18:21. 
  2. They must be just; 2 Sam. 23.[3]. 
  3. They must be known to fear God; Deut. 1.13.  They must be brethren, believers and professors of the true religion; Deut. 17.15.  If they are not believers, they cannot please God.  Without faith it is impossible to please him; and he that doubteth is damned if he eateth, because he eateth not of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.  If they are not godly, they are enemies of God, and of course enemies to man, enemies to the divine law, the divine government, and all good human government:—the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can {70} be; Rom. 8.7.  Then, when we help to elect an ungodly ruler, we help to place over ourselves one who is an enemy of God, and that cannot be subject to his law; one that can do nothing but offend God, commit sin, and provoke divine wrath.  In voting for such, we commit a very great and heaven-daring sin. 
  4. We ought not to vote for any of these candidates, because all the platforms are sinful.  Even that of the Republicans binds them to support slavery where it is: or, in other words, it binds the party to support despotism in its very worst form; to support what John Wesley calls ‘the sum of all villainies.’  But all who bind themselves to support despotism, bind themselves to trample on liberty.  This they do virtually.  In voting with any of these parties, we enter into a league with the friends of despotism and the enemies of liberty.  Christ says, ‘He that is not with me, is against me.’ [Matt. 12.30.]  He that votes for despotism and against liberty, is voting against Christ and his kingdom.  If I can solemnly bind myself to hold slaves for the South, why not hold them for myself?  When I hold slaves for myself, I can emancipate my slaves whenever I become convinced of the evil of the system; but when I unite with the Republican party in holding slaves for the South, I cannot compel the people of the South to emancipate their slaves.  In voting with the Republican party, I become a slave-holder in the eye of the moral law, and I make myself a partaker of the sin of slave-holders, and must receive of their plagues.  Then, if the candidate and the platform are both contrary to the moral law; so, standing on that platform and voting for that candidate are both opposed to the same law. 
  5. The act of voting is an infidel act, unless it be done in accordance with the divine law, and in the exercise of faith.  But it is impossible to vote in accordance with the divine law and in the exercise of faith, when voting for a candidate who is destitute of Scriptural qualifications, and for a party which has adopted a sinful platform.  If you vote with that party, you thereby make its platform your platform, and its sin your sin.  To vote in faith we must vote according to the divine law; we must vote for one having Scriptural qualifications, and for one standing on a Scriptural platform. 
  6. No one can vote for Lincoln with a good conscience, while he lacks Scriptural qualifications, and stands on a corrupt platform; while he is bound to support slavery where it is, and to oppose it only where {71} it is not
  7. Voting with that party is sinful, because it ignores the duty of maintaining a good conscience in the exercise of the elective franchise, by taking the word of God as the only guide in the discharge of this duty, and voting in the exercise of faith, and doing ‘whatsoever we do in word or deed in the name of the Lord Jesus.’ [Col. 3.17.]  Then, it is wrong to vote with that party, because it pays no regard to the divine law in the choice of a candidate, the framing of a platform, or the maintaining of a good conscience in the religious exercise of the elective franchise. 
  8. It is sinful to vote with the Republican party, because that party as well as all others, is infallible, just as infallible as the Pope—infallible not in its constant conformity in heart and life to the divine law, but in its constant and unwavering departure from it.

There are four reasons why the Republican party can never cease to err from the divine law with infallible certainty, as that party is now constituted.  First, Because it does not follow Christ as a leader.  Second, Because it is led by its own carnal nature, and not by the Holy Spirit.  Third, Because it is walking according to the course of this world.  Fourth, It is walking according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.  Whosoever reject the leadership of Christ, and follow their own carnal spirit, an ungodly world, and Satan the god of this world, as leaders, must necessarily go astray with unerring certainty.  A party must either be for Christ or for Satan; and a party that does not profess to follow Christ, or to be guided by his law, is without question following Satan; and if we identify with that party, we are also following Satan.  There is no escaping from this conclusion.  Fifth, We ought not to vote with any of the parties, because the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States is a profane and ungodly oath, and voting involves in the sin, both of administering and swearing this profane oath, in which God is not named.  The Constitution itself is a profane constitution, which no one can lawfully swear to support; for it does not acknowledge God at all: but we are bound to acknowledge God “in all our ways;” and not acknowledging Him involves a denying of Him.

But it may be you will object, ‘What shall we do? shall we leave all power in the hands of the Democrats? may we not {72} choose the less of two evils? should we not be allowed to commit a less, to avoid a greater sin?’  No, this objection is founded in infidelity: it sets aside the divine law and legalizes sin.  The sum and substance of this objection is, ‘Let us do evil that good may come.’  This makes the violation of the divine law a rule of duty; and a means of glorifying God; and of doing good to ourselves and others.  We ought not to vote simply because the world and carnal professors do.  The world is always wrong, and so is the church just so far as she is conformed to an ungodly world—‘to this present evil world.’

— Your affectionate Father.