Members of the National Association of Evangelicals (100 percent) say they usually vote, but they are split on whether to tell others whom they voted for, according to this fall’s poll. Fifty seven percent of survey respondents said they tell others whom they voted for, while 43 percent do not.
In both cases, a concern for others motivates their decision about sharing. Those who share how they vote do so as a way to serve and guide others. Many of those who keep their voting preferences private seek to preserve their ability to minister across partisan lines.
Several of those who share their ballot decisions qualified that they only tell family members or close friends. Others noted that they tell others, but not from the pulpit or to the general public. One said, “Only when asked.”
The most common reason for withholding was its potential harm to ministry. As one pastor noted, “I will tell friends, but not usually congregants, because I do not wish to create any unnecessary barriers for ministry.”
A denominational leader said, “I’ve rarely felt that making my political decisions public aids the ministry I’ve been called to or the denomination I serve.”
On the other hand, some believe that telling others whom they voted for is part of their ministry. “It is my duty to vote as a citizen of this nation. As an individual citizen, I share with others whom I am voting for in hopes to influence others in their voting,” said one NAE member.
Another NAE member expressed, “In telling others whom I voted for I include why.”
Some encouraged civility in any conversation about politics. “I prayerfully consider my decision and am not afraid to tell others who I voted for. I do make it a practice not to criticize other’s voting preferences,” said one respondent.
Regardless of whether they tell others whom they voted for, evangelicals agree that voting is important.
“Democracy works only when its citizens are engaged in the public process. Since our government is defined by the Constitution as us (“We the People”), our primary responsibility and engagement is to vote. Failure to vote is like following Jesus without reading Scripture, praying or worshiping,” said one respondent.
Another noted, “It is my responsibility as a citizen and evangelical to be active in the political arena.”
For Further Reading
Leith Anderson, “What’s a Nice Christian Like You Doing in Politics,” National Association of Evangelicals, Fall 2012, http://nae.net/whats-a-nice-christian-like-you-doing-in-politics/ (accessed December 10, 2015).
Leith Anderson and Galen Carey, Faith in the Voting Booth: Practical Wisdom for Voting Well (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016).
Micah Watson, “Why Christians Should Vote,” The Gospel Coalition, November 3, 2014, http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-christians-should-vote (accessed December 10, 2015).
Ron Sider and Diane Knippers, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005).