Is Voting Biblical?

Nothing could be more anti-Biblical than letting women vote.
—Harper’s Magazine, 1854 editorial

Sometime between the chicken soup and the stuffed shells came the midterm elections, which sparked a heated debate on the blog about whether voting violated the terms of the experiment. The fact that I mentioned Dan’s status as an Independent (in contrast to my unabashed liberalism) may have influenced some people’s opinions:

Put the project aside for 5 minutes and vote! —Di

As a pragmatic-libertarian/philosophical-anarcho-capitalist, I think the best bet is simply to consider being a principled non-voter. —Sean

Submit to your husband in EVERYTHING (Ephesians 5:24), including his (apparently superior) political judgment! If he is the head of the house then he should be in control of the household’s political tenor. :-) —Deb

I think you should ask the priest to consult the Urim or prophets. If you do not hear a word from the Lord on who to vote for then you shouldn't. —Marcus

I'm probably going to get creamed for saying this, and perhaps I'm oversimplifying, but it seems to me that IF people HAD voted during Biblical times, women certainly wouldn’t have been allowed to vote. I mean come on—women didn't have any rights at all! They were barely above the status of slaves. Of course they wouldn’t have enjoyed the privilege of voting. So if you want to live accurately according to how a woman lived during Biblical times, I say don't vote. —Michelle

As far as I understand it, the women in the bible participated in most of the societal/communal activities that went on, albeit in a limited form with separate roles and outside of leadership . . . I think if you want to vote, I don’t see a biblical reason not to. Just make sure you wear your covering like all the Amish women voters around here will be doing. —Shawn

Bathsheba told her husband who to vote for (Solomon) and his vote was the one that counted. 1 Kings 1. —PVK

Easy: Vote. Proverbs 31:20 – “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” If, as you stated, you'd choose to vote Democratic, I don’t think it’s an exegetical stretch at all to say “extending a helping hand” includes extending a hand to vote for a candidate you think is going to help the poor and needy. At least that’s how this repentant once-GWB supporter sees it. —Joel

Joel, that’s reading into the verse[.] “She” is not the government. That’s not to say you can’t believe that is the government’s role, but reasonable people can disagree on that since the Bible doesn’t instruct us to have the government take care of the poor and needy for us . . . Rachel, you need to go to your husband and ask[,] “Dan, should I vote?” And IF he says yes, THEN you ask[,] “Do you have guidelines for my vote?” If he says vote Republican, vote Republican. (Go for it Dan!) If he says vote your conscience or whatever else, do that. But I don’t see any wiggle room in “Submit to their husbands in everything.” —James

Vote, but then leave the camp and remain unclean until evening. —Riparianchurch

The comment with the most “Likes” came from WordLily:

Forget who your husband says you should vote for. What does he say to this question, of voting or not? Perhaps this is what you should submit to him in.

WordLily had a point. As per Commandment #1, Dan should have the final say on whether I voted. I waited until about two hours before the polls closed to receive his official ruling.

“So, do you think I should vote?”

“That’s today, huh?”
“Yeah. I’m supposed to submit to your will.”

“Who’s running again?”

“A bunch of noble Democrats who are down 30 points in the polls. Flora seems to think we should vote for Bill Haslam, but he’s a Republican.”  

Dan pulled up the various candidates’ websites on the laptop. After a few minutes he sighed, closed the top, and declared, “Same ole, same ole.”

(I said he was Independent, not conservative.)

So we just sank into our respective living room couches, wallowing in the futility of bleeding blue in a red state and getting far too comfortable under our blankets for a trip to our polling location at the fire station. It started to drizzle, and Dan turned on Arrested Development, which I took as indirect permission to stay home and forget about the democratic process for which our forefathers fought and died. We were halfway through my favorite episode—“The One Where They Build a House”—when Mom called.

“Well, your father and I voted,” she announced.

“Good for you, Mom.”

“We picked Chuck Fleischmann and Jim Cobb. Everyone says they’ve got it in the bag.”


“We voted Haslam for governor. He seems like a nice man.”


“And of course we voted against the alcohol referendum. We were afraid someone from church would ask us how we voted—”

“Wait. What alcohol referendum?”

“You know, the one they’ve been talking about in the paper, to allow liquor by the drink in the city limits.”

“Mom, I gotta go.”

“What’s wrong?”

“We haven’t voted yet. Thanks for the reminder!”

Dan, having overheard the conversation, had already turned off the TV and was dashing down the hallway in search of our voter registration cards. We threw on our jackets, scrambled for our keys and wallets, stalled for a few minutes to second-guess our polling location, and finally pulled out of the driveway, at which point I asked Dan, “How do you want me to vote?”

“Just vote your conscience, sweetie,” Dan said, “and for alcohol.”

Dan and I made it on time to the fire station, where we proudly canceled out my parents’ votes in the name of liberty and vodka for all. The 11:00 news reported that Republicans had swept the state, Nancy Pelosi had lost her job, and Dayton had passed a liquor referendum by a margin of 270 votes. The rest of the country was going to hell, but we were one stop closer to real beef bourguignon.