Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ellen White's Thoughts on Voting

Abundant Rest has an interesting set of quotations from Ellen White which gives her followers the instructions listed in green below:

The Lord would have His people bury political questions. On these themes silence is eloquence. Christ calls upon His followers to come into unity on the pure gospel principles which are plainly revealed in the word of God. We cannot with safety vote for political parties; for we do not know whom we are voting for.

I don’t know what that one means most people know who they are voting for though certainly for some of the lesser local offices we may not know much about the person. That to me is most troublesome in the area of Judges. But overall the days of flipping the lever to vote for one party only is rare if it even exists at all.

We cannot labor to please men who will use their influence to repress religious liberty, and to set in operation oppressive measures to lead or compel their fellow men to keep Sunday as the Sabbath.

You would think that it would be appropriate to vote against those who seek to repress religious liberty in favor of someone who supports religious liberty. Though here again it has probably been over a hundred years since a candidate supported compelling anyone to keep Sunday as the Sabbath.

The first day of the week is not a day to be reverenced. It is a spurious sabbath, and the members of the Lord’s family cannot participate with the men who exalt this day, and violate the law of God by trampling upon His Sabbath.

This may explain why for so long Adventists have been separating themselves from the other Christians in the community of believers. I wonder if it is better now that some churches offer worship services on Saturday evenings?

The people of God are not to vote to place such men in office; for when they do this, they are partakers with them of the sins which they commit while in office. {FE 475.2}

So apparently if you did vote, which you should not do, don’t vote for anyone who attends religious services on Sunday.

God employs the strongest figures to show that there should be no union between worldly parties and those who are seeking the righteousness of Christ. What communion can there be between light and darkness, truth and unrighteousness? — None whatever. Light represents righteousness; darkness, error, sin, unrighteousness. Christians have come out of darkness into the light. They have put on Christ, and they wear the badge of truth and obedience. They are governed by the elevated and holy principles which Christ expressed in His life. But the world is governed by principles of dishonesty and injustice. {FE 476.1}

Apparently Ellen White has determined government is evil. Apparently there is little difference between a democracy and a dictatorship; The United States or Hitler’s Germany. All are governments of dishonesty and injustice.


Alexander said...

It’s vital to set those short quotes within a historical context. One can still value Ellen White's role while recognizing how culture and 19th century minority religion mores influenced that apolitical writing.

Reading historian Doug Morgan’s ADVENTISM and THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC reveals the apocalyptic fin de si├Ęcle paradigm of the times. The issue, for the small group of Adventists, was the need for unity in protecting the inchoate Adventist community. If A. T. Jones could express his views in Congress and defend the Sabbath, why can’t any Adventist member express his or her values?

I ask: is there more moral culpability in voting for parts of what one believes or standing aside passively without expressing - as a citizen, on a ballot - any view at all?

Al said...

Apparently not all agreed with her tough stand of being aloof from the duties of citizenship.

Attended meeting in the eve. Had quite a free, interesting meeting. After it was time to close, the subject of voting was considered and dwelt upon. James first talked, then Brother {J. N.} Andrews talked, and it was thought by them best to give their influence in favor of right and against wrong. They think it right to vote in favor of temperance men being in office in our city instead of by their silence running the risk of having intemperate men put in office. Brother {David} Hewitt tells his experience of a few days {since} and is settled that {it} is right to cast his vote. Brother {Josiah} Hart talks well. Brother {Henry} Lyon opposes. No others object to voting, but Brother {J.P.} Kellogg begins to feel that it is right. Pleasant feelings exist among all the brethren. O that they may all act in the fear of God. {2SM 337.2}

Men of intemperance have been in the office today in a flattering manner expressing their approbation of the course of the Sabbathkeepers not voting and expressed hopes that they will stick to their course and, like the Quakers, not cast their vote. Satan and his evil angels are busy at this time, and he has workers upon the earth. May Satan be disappointed, is my prayer.--E. G. White diary, Sunday, March 6, 1859. {2SM 337.3}