So how do we reconcile this fact of our identity with the upcoming election? When I read these stories of God’s people in Scripture, I see discernment in their interactions with ungodly governments. In marrying a promiscuous, misogynistic king; serving an imperialist, invading king; and obeying a tyrannical, pagan emperor, these people were hardly endorsing the character of their rulers.

In fact, no candidate in the history of mankind is worthy of our endorsement or our vote. I would be surprised if the majority of endorsements and votes for conservative presidential candidates ever were—or should have been—based on a true belief in their pristine morals. While the ideal is to elect a competent leader with outstanding faith and character, Scripture demonstrates that God’s people often must submit to and participate in ungodly political regimes. Opting out is not an option.

Those who don’t attempt to opt out often see potential presidents as a silver bullet to the nation’s problems. When this has happened recently, voters have demanded nothing less than a pristine savior as the officeholder. Christians have no business putting this much faith in the office. If this fantasy were realistic, a vote would indeed amount to an act of worship, and Christains would be justified in refusing to vote. However, I believe that to vote for a president is not to worship him or her. Instead of being an act of worship, a vote, or refusal to vote, is a political choice.

But it is a choice we cannot choose not to make. Abstaining from voting is a political act; it is a positive, willful decision; it is neither a neutral political stance nor an erasure of the fact that we exist in this system.