prisonchaplain

Religious obligation to vote?

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The former leader of my denomination (they do not serve for life) preached a sermon in which he declared it a Christian duty to vote.  He said many in the church had stayed home on election day, during recent votes (I assume the last two-four presidential elections).  "Shame on you!" he said.  "If you don't know who to vote for, or don't like any of the candidates, then you get down on your knees, at your prayer altar, and you seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Then you vote the way he tells you to!"

 

Without going into why, this year was one in which I saw myself possibly deciding on "none of the above."  Yet, when I heard these words I felt convicted.  My elder is right.

 

Thoughts on this?  Is abstention a legitimate way of voting frustration, or is it an easy-out--a cave to cynicism?

 

 

PLEASE NO NAMING OF POTENTIAL CANDIDATES ON THIS STRING.  THAT IS AN ABSOLUTE NO-NO.  :angry: 

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Guest MormonGator

Religious obligation? No. 
Civic obligation? Yes. 

America really does give you so much. The least you can do is go vote. 

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Religious obligation? No.

 

IMO, D&C 134 (esp v3) and D&C 98 (esp v10) disagree with you.  IMO, when these verses say we are to seek for and uphold, it includes voting.  I suppose someone could see them differently, though I fail to see how the seeking and upholding will do much good in a republic unless it includes voting.

 

PC: There are parties outside the two biggies.  If we investigate every candidate, will we really find absolutely all of them unbearable?  Or will we find one, or some, better than others.  Some people accept the idea of voting against the worst candidate, or of trying to get the least-bad person elected, and, IMO, as long as you can distinguish (or receive an answer to a prayer in this regard), then it's better to vote for the least-bad than to not vote at all (and potentially allow the worst of them in).  I suspect a fair number of very bad things have happened because the good folks got tired of the fight.

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Guest MormonGator

IMO, D&C 134 (esp v3) and D&C 98 (esp v10) disagree with you.  IMO, when these verses say we are to seek for and uphold, it includes voting.  I suppose someone could see them differently, though I fail to see how the seeking and upholding will do much good in a republic unless it includes voting.

 

 

 For LDS, you easily argue that. But for other religions I'm not sure. 

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Some jurisdictions allow people to do "write-ins" on the ballot if you vote using a paper ballot. 

 

This means that you can write in the name of a person who you would prefer to vote for if the person is not officially on the list. 

 

This might make things easier for folks who want to do "none of the above". 

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 For LDS, you easily argue that. But for other religions I'm not sure. 

 

The Christian obligation to vote could be made through Jesus' command to be salt and light, for the church to be 'a city on a hill,' for God's people to be 'a prophetic voice,' etc.  If "obligated" means 'have to' then no.  If it means 'should' then there is a strong argument to be made for the obligation, in our democratic republic. 

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 For LDS, you easily argue that. But for other religions I'm not sure. 

 

Agreed - there weren't a lot of republics or democracies in the Old and New Testaments.  But I'm more interested in the truth than in proving something with only a portion of available truth. ;-)  (Ask me a question, and I'm going to use everything at my disposal to find the answer - whether you accept the answer is up to you.)

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Agreed - there weren't a lot of republics or democracies in the Old and New Testaments.  But I'm more interested in the truth than in proving something with only a portion of available truth. ;-)  (Ask me a question, and I'm going to use everything at my disposal to find the answer - whether you accept the answer is up to you.)

 Oh both you and PC make some great points, that's for sure! 

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You should vote for someone, even if that someone is someone that isn't going to win.

I think that is the best solution to voter frustration. Direction from God is also a good solution.

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Suppose there are three candidates: A, B, and C. Suppose further that A is bad, B is okay but not great, and C is great. Finally, suppose A and B are in a close, heated race, and C is far behind.

 

With what combination of A's badness, B's relative goodness, and C's excellence will you vote for B instead of C?

 

For example, if C is the best, but not really all that much better than B, and B is a whole lot better than A, you would surely vote for B instead of C. But if A and B are pretty close in badness and C is much better, you will vote for C.

 

It is naive to say that you "always vote for the best candidate". Even if it's true, it is true only by definition of "best": A good candidate that can actually win is better than a great candidate that will lose for sure. The more complete and truthful response is: Where do we draw that line?

 

I can always -- ALWAYS -- find someone to write in as a candidate who is better than any of the choices presented to me. But as things stand, the worst GOP candidate (that would probably be the embarrassing, loudmouth populist blowhard with bad hair) is at least an order of magnitude better than the best Democrat candidate (not sure which that would be -- both frontrunners are staggeringly bad, possibly even worse than our current Embarrassment-in-Chief).Especially if the Republicans manage to choose anyone but Mr. Awful, the vote is a no-brainer. Why would I write in Dallin H. Oaks instead? Sure, he would be miles better than any other candidate, but there is exactly 0% change of him winning.

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Guest MormonGator

Vort-I just noticed this. You need to add something I said to your signature. You have a saying by everyone else. Jeez man. 

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VORT tempts me severely to stumble into forbidden territory.  Suffice to say that when I look at the combination of policy positions, personal morality/ethics/goodness, and overall leadership strength... I may have to not only hold my nose, but cut it off (hopefully without damaging anything else).

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Vort,

 

I don't see it that way. 

 

1) I need to recognize that there never will be a perfect candidate.

2) I need to be able to set some level of "acceptability", above which I will accept a candidate in spite of faults.

3) Below that line I refuse to lend my support.

4) Any candidates above that line, I will decide.

5) If no candidates are above the line, then I cannot morally vote for any of them.

 

It is far too easy to play the purist and refuse to vote for anyone at all, all the time.

It is far too easy to be given to compromise such that we begin to accept evil.

 

I am not voting for a very complex reason.

Edited by Guest

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I do not believe one has a moral nor civic obligation to vote. I do preface this by saying that I do vote. However, I have found a few arguments about not voting that I do not begrudge those who don't vote.

 

Let there be no mistake about what government really is; government really is legalized theft and killing. Once you tear down all the pretty facades, slogans, wave-flagging, etc. the absolute naked truth is that government is a mechanism whereby a society determines that some individuals have the ability to steal and kill without penalties. Whether we call that ability to steal a "regulation" or a "law", make no mistake when the EPA fines a company, when a state government fines a business, it is theft, i.e. I have money, I don't voluntarily give it up-you forcibly take it from me-that is theft.

 

There is a very, very good reason not to vote for the "lesser of two evils"; it is called the "mandate principle". How many times after an election do we hear that the person just voted in now has a "mandate" to put into place his ideas? When individuals choose the lesser of two evils and don't vote for a candidate they can actually believe in they are voting for evil. In fact they are giving more legitimacy to that evil than if they had never voted.  In the last election approximately 130 million people voted; how many of those people actually really wanted the person they voted for vs. just held their nose? In a country of 300 million, 130 million voting is pretty good. Now what if instead of voting against someone, we voted for someone, even if they were going to lose-what if more parties had access to the ballot and say instead of a 51/47 split it was a 35/30/30/5 split. Well the 35% might still win-but it would be fairly obvious that at least 65% of the country wanted something else. The person that claims a "mandate" with a 35% win is going to look pretty stupid.

 

We have a moral and a civic obligation to support good laws and good candidates-we do not have a moral and civic obligation simply to vote. Because simply voting might end up supporting bad laws and bad candidates.

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Carb...you point out the problem splendidly.  In past elections people that were ideologically driven in a certain direction abstained from supporting those who were more moderate, though still of the same persuasion.  Vort's logic fits those folks.  They allowed their absolute ideological opponents the win, in order to spite the one who was too moderate--even if moving in the right direction.

 

This year, however,ideology is not the difficulty.  There are some character and leadership traits that are so hard to stomach, that  even a candidate scoring 100 on my policy checklist may fail to get my vote. 

Edited by prisonchaplain

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Guest MormonGator

 

 

I am not voting for a very complex reason.

Not good enough. You are too smart to stay home. It's a cliche, but it really is insulting to people who died for your right to vote.

 

How can you even think about complaining if you don't vote? 

Edited by MormonGator

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Suppose there are three candidates: A, B, and C. Suppose further that A is bad, B is okay but not great, and C is great. Finally, suppose A and B are in a close, heated race, and C is far behind.

 

With what combination of A's badness, B's relative goodness, and C's excellence will you vote for B instead of C?

 

For example, if C is the best, but not really all that much better than B, and B is a whole lot better than A, you would surely vote for B instead of C. But if A and B are pretty close in badness and C is much better, you will vote for C.

 

It is naive to say that you "always vote for the best candidate". Even if it's true, it is true only by definition of "best": A good candidate that can actually win is better than a great candidate that will lose for sure. The more complete and truthful response is: Where do we draw that line?

 

I can always -- ALWAYS -- find someone to write in as a candidate who is better than any of the choices presented to me. But as things stand, the worst GOP candidate (that would probably be the embarrassing, loudmouth populist blowhard with bad hair) is at least an order of magnitude better than the best Democrat candidate (not sure which that would be -- both frontrunners are staggeringly bad, possibly even worse than our current Embarrassment-in-Chief).Especially if the Republicans manage to choose anyone but Mr. Awful, the vote is a no-brainer. Why would I write in Dallin H. Oaks instead? Sure, he would be miles better than any other candidate, but there is exactly 0% change of him winning.

 Agree in part. This is politics, so you should be a grown up and realize you can't always get what you want (I love that song). It's tough, but welcome to the real world. 

 

Vote against, not for. It's how the real world works. If you stay home or vote third party-well, thanks. You've given us a lot of trouble recently. It's your fault we are in the mess are in. 

Edited by MormonGator

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  If you stay home or vote third party-well, thanks. You've given us a lot of trouble recently. It's your fault we are in the mess are in. 

That is about one of the dumbest things I've read on here and I've read a lot. Really, third party voters are the reason why we are in the mess we are?  And you've been involved in politics?? Obviously haven't learned much by being involved have you.

 

That is just so completely utterly false . . . way to fear monger.

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That is about one of the dumbest things I've read on here and I've read a lot. Really, third party voters are the reason why we are in the mess we are?  And you've been involved in politics?? Obviously haven't learned much by being involved have you.

 

That is just so completely utterly false . . . way to fear monger.

Ouch. I stand by that 100%. Sorry. 

instead of saying it's "dumb" why don't you tell me what you don't like about it? 

Edited by MormonGator

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Vote against, not for. It's how the real world works. 

No it is the way it works here b/c of individuals like you; overseas voting for something does work pretty well. 

Take a look at Spain (not a third-world country).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Spain

 

Don't be a jerk to people who actually want to stand for something instead of simply standing against something.

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No it is the way it works here b/c of individuals like you; overseas voting for something does work pretty well. 

Take a look at Spain (not a third-world country).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Spain

 

Don't be a jerk to people who actually want to stand for something instead of simply standing against something.

 Instead of name calling (Jerk? Really?) why don't you tell me what you don't like about it? Then we can discuss the matter and see why we disagree. 

Edited by MormonGator

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Ouch. I stand by that 100%. Sorry. 

instead of saying it's "dumb" why don't you tell me what you don't like about it? 

Because it is false; b/c of 3rd party voters Bush II was elected? Obama was elected? twice? not hardly. Oh wait, right it's because people didn't show up.  As if McCain would have been that much better or Romney? You know how corrupt the system is. Romney was Democrat the only reason he became Repub was so he could run against Kennedy outside the primary.

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Not good enough. You are too smart to stay home. It's a cliche, but it really is insulting to people who died for your right to vote.

 

How can you even think about complaining if you don't vote? 

 

Like I said, it is a very complex reason.  It is nowhere near what you are thinking.  So, I'd appreciate you not judging me when you don't know the whole story.

 

I have voted in nearly every election (those where logistics prevented it, excepted). The pattern I outlined above was the method I used to determine who I voted for. 

 

For this coming election, due to a completely different reason, I simply can't vote.  But I know it is the right thing to do.  So I am not voting.

 

And, yes, I am still allowed to complain, cause that's just the way I roll :) .

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