The issue of separation of church and state is a fundamental principle of our Constitution. The First Amendment forbade Congress to make any laws establishing or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
Civil Government Is God-ordained
Christians ought to have a respect for civil government for it is God-ordained. Paul wrote the Christians in Rome (58 A.D.), “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the power (government), resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same; for he is a minister of God to thee for good. . . ” (Romans 13:1-4). It is good to have civil government! Civil government was meant by God to be a terror to evil men, and a praiser of those citizens who do good. But to exist, civil government must have taxes, soldiers, policemen and civil servants. Christians ought not to oppose the government in these things, but cooperate in every way they can.
The Church Is Ordained Of God
In the spiritual realm, Christ purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28), and He Himself became the head of the church, having all authority (Eph. 1:20-23). His church was to be directed by elders (we speak of the local congregation) who met the qualifications He Himself laid down in His word (1 Tim. 3 f; Titus 1). Their oversight was limited to the one congregation that had selected and appointed them (Acts 20:28 f; 1 Pet. 5:2). Christ instructed the elders to feed the flock (church). They were to maintain the moral purity in the congregation by withdrawing fellowship from members who violated Christ’s teaching.
Campaigning in the Churches
Every election the Democrats campaign heavily in Black churches. Republicans every election year employ preachers to campaign in predominantly white Evangelical churches. The state is perfectly willing to use the church’s buildings without charge as a polling site. The politicians are willing to place their campaign signs on the premises. On the premises of a church that would be adamantly opposed to such things as abortion, gambling, and other immoral practices, politicians who campaign to legalize such things post their signs to persuade voters. Payola from both political parties often end up in the coffers of these churches to get out the vote each election year.
What Is The Duty Of The Church vs Politics?
John the Baptist did not hesitate to comment on the immorality of King Herod Antipas. When Antipas went to Rome and seduced his half-brother Philip’s wife to leave Philip and marry him, John the Baptist preached, “It is not lawful for you to have her” (Matt. 14:4). That would be like one today going into the pulpit and saying, “It was not lawful for President Franklin Roosevelt to have affairs with other women while in office”. “It was not lawful for President John Kennedy to have sex parties in the White House while his wife was out of town.” “It was not lawful for President Richard Nixon to a woman on the side while in office.” “It was not lawful for President Bill Clinton to have sexual relations with an intern in the oval office.” etc.
The church has the right and obligation to preach against all kinds of sins. Preachers must preach against abortion. Preachers must preach against homosexuality. Preachers must preach against adultery and fornication. Preachers must preach against greed. Preachers must preach against liars, slanderers, and thieves, etc.
However, preachers are not politicians. No apostle ever got involved in politics nor is there a commandment for such. There were elected officials in the days of Christ and his apostles, but you won’t find anywhere where this was the work of the church. The work of the church is established in the new testament. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-13).
This election is a perfect example of why the church must not engage in politics. Donald Trump according to fact checkers lies more than 65% of the time. Hillary Clinton lies a little less at about 35% of the time. In the vice presidential debate Pence was acclaimed to be the winner despite the fact he lied 79% of the time compared to just 21% for his opponent (Kaine). Society rewards the greatest liars, but God casts all liars into hell (Rev 21:8). Apparently, politicians think that it their duty to lie and make empty promises in order to get elected. Perhaps if they told you the truth you wouldn’t vote for them. When you defend a liar, you become a liar (Jn 8:44). If churches want to help politicians, go to them like John the baptist and instruct them to correct their evil ways (Jam 5:19,20). You might end up like John the baptist, but you will be doing your Christian duty.
Conclusion: Yes, Christians can vote if they are a citizen and are registered to do so. It is your right and civic obligation to do so because government is ordained by God. Don’t expect to find the perfect candidate because there is no such thing. However, it is not the duty of the church to be involved in such matters. The constitution prohibits the mixture of church and state. This means it is not possible to legislative immorality. If we did, imagine the blood bath and the prisons that would have to be built. In fact, we might end up locking everyone, including you and me. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). If Christians want to end abortion, teach against it. If Christians want to end homosexuality, teach against it. If Christians want to end adultery, teach against it. If you know of a politician or a leader of this country who is immoral, go to them and teach them. This is your Christian duty! If you like a particular candidate you perceive to be moral, vote for them. This is your civic duty.