Is the Lesser of Two Evils Excuse Evil in Itself?

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Many of my fellow preachers and other Christians are refusing to vote this election cycle. Why? They claim both candidates are evil, and therefore to choose the lesser of two evils is still evil. Some refer to 1 Thess. 5:22 as a justification for not voting for the lesser of two evils: “Abstain from every form of evil.”

However, there is another biblical concept that I believe some are overlooking. Could it be that refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils is evil in itself? Consider the following line of logic:

We are here for a purpose. God created every nation of men, and has determined their “preappointed times” and the “boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26). The purpose of this is so that people should seek the Lord. This implies that we are in the exact place God wants us to be in order to serve Him as best we can.

Our purpose as Christians is to do good. We are to do good in the world. We were created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10). Christians are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16). We are the only ones who can do this, and the Lord requires it of us.

Voting is an opportunity to do good. By participating in the election process, Christians get to exercise influence for good in the country and time in which we were placed. If only evil people vote, the “greater of two evils” will always win. If one candidate promises to fight against the evil of abortion, and the other candidate supports and promotes abortion in all cases, it would clearly be good to vote for the pro-life candidate.

Failure to do good is to sin. If a clear improvement is available to improve the lives of millions of people, and to fight against a great national sin, it would be a sin not to take steps to cause that good to come about. James 4:17 says to know to do good, and not do it, is sin.

Therefore, to refuse to vote for a candidate who promises to stand against a greater evil is, in fact, sin. 

But what about the “abstaining from every form of evil?” Isn’t it evil to vote for a person who is evil?

First, in every single election, we have voted for the “lesser of two evils” in some way or another. No candidate is perfect.

Second, Jesus said it was right to pay taxes to Caesar (Matt. 22:21), even though Caesar was accomplishing much evil (and some good, surely) with the money. Wouldn’t it be an even greater thing for our money to go to things that help keep the way open for the teaching of the gospel?

Third, even God chose some men for leadership positions who we could consider “the lesser of two evils.” He used the pagan Cyrus to free the Jews from captivity (Isa. 45:1). He used the sinful Samson, who had a big weakness for women, to accomplish His purposes for Israel (Judges 13-16). How can we say in this moment of time God won’t use Trump for His purposes?

One candidate (Clinton) has stated that Christians must change their beliefs to comply with abortion, and that she believes murder of the unborn is okay right up to the very due date. The other candidate (Trump) has said he will appoint judges to the Supreme Court who will seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. He also says he will stand for religious liberty. Which of these is going to bring about the greatest good?

What about a third party candidate? There has been no groundwork done by any third party candidate that would allow them to have a viable chance to win. To cast a vote for a third part candidate would be, in effect, to do nothing. A Christian should put that vote where it will actually have an effect.

Christians, you are here for a purpose. To whom much is given, much is required. You have been given a blessed nation and time to live in. We can’t be like the “one-talent man” with our vote, and bury it in the ground. God would want us to put that vote to work to affect the greatest good in our world, and allow the gospel to be freely taught for as long as we have left on this earth.

Matt Clifton, editor