Sunday, July 24, 2016

Vote Your Conscience

Three words came out of the Republican National Convention the most memorable and controversial: "Vote Your Conscience."  I'm sure that I've never heard those three words used more.  I became curious to their usage and meaning.  At Google books, "vote your conscience" occurs 2,810 times. Before the year 2000, "vote your conscience" appears there 15 times.  That leaves 2,795 times the year 2000 up until today.  This phrase was not in popular usage until after 2000.  Why wasn't it used before?  More than ever, people don't understand the conscience.  When they did, they didn't say "vote your conscience."  In a day when the conscience means the least, it is used the most.

Upon "vote your conscience" becoming popular, you could see what it meant to those using it.  The phrase means, "do not vote along party lines," or, "vote for someone outside of your party."  By the way it is used, it has little to nothing to do with the conscience.   Since the concept of the conscience is biblical, the person saying, vote your conscience, sounds like he's encouraging something biblical. Someone against "voting your conscience" also sounds like he's against doing something that must be biblical.

How would someone vote his conscience?  The conscience doesn't provide information for voting. The conscience warns someone based on his highest perceived standard.  The conscience doesn't tell someone how to vote.

I won't be relying on my conscience for my vote in November.  I don't remember ever depending on my conscience in any election ever.  To vote in a democratic republic, someone should study the candidates and the issues, developing a checklist for the pros and cons of each possibility.  My priority for voting is what is best for the country.


SCH said...



I agree largely. Whose conscience could rest after voting for the candidates of today? Not mine. This slogan you criticize is stupid as there is no one we should trust enough to vote for him without a little echo of conscience. Suggesting there is, is moral narcissism (credit to you). Is refusing to vote an option? Conscience bothers me there too (maybe i'm a bit neurotic). We've got to look somewhere else for guidance.

I'm interested in your "The conscience warns someone based on his highest perceived standard." Not sure whether I agree or disagree. Where would I read for an explanation? Any suggestions?


Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks. From the 32 usages of suneidesis in the NT, you can see that the conscience functions based upon the information fed it, as seen in 1 Corinthians 8, where a person's conscience says no to meat offered unto idols. It doesn't have to be a biblical standard. The person's conscience needs recalibration to what the Bible teaches. His standard is "higher" than scripture as perceived by him, hence, highest perceived. Paul says that even in those instances, a person needs to obey his conscience or else he would damage it.

Interesting thoughts on what I wrote. I enjoyed it. Thanks.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Maybe we could start the Conscience Party! That way we could get everyone's vote...except for Kent's.


Kent Brandenburg said...





James McEntire said...

Conscience does not provide information but it does pass judgment on information and more to the point passes judgment on how we apply information. The conscience accuses and excuses us. It does this by establishing standards. But conscience is not infallible. Conscience can be and is influenced. We can have a pure conscience. We can have a weak conscience. We can have a defiled conscience. We can have a seared conscience. Conscience does not tell us how to vote because we can vote contrary to our conscience thus accusing ourselves. However conscience does formulate a standard by which we make the decision. We can always be exposed to new information that influences the conscience in one direction or another. However, at the end of the day, when decision time comes if we violate the standard we have violated conscience. So when I make my decision on election day after having heard and seen everything I will either vote in a way that is in keeping with my understanding of all the issues that are involved and conscience will excuse me or I will vote the way others expect even if against my better judgment and conscience will accuse me. Food for thought?

John Mark IB said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

I hope you're doing great, you helped me realize that while maybe conscience is not exactly the right word to use in the way you described it, and you're right about voting best for your country but how about voting for the best possible candidate who is not the lesser of two evils anymore? For example I've been voting since Reagan 84 my first POTUS,I registered independent because at the time I really didn't want to be either or, & while I'm thankful for my mom and step-dad teaching me Reagan/Ronbo!good! Red Russia bad! It allowed me to keep a conservative balance and I basically voted for Republicans Bush 88&92,Dole 96,Bush 2000&04, I've read stuff about the CFR boys and Bilderburg & big money Goldman Sachs Koch brothers and finally decided in 2008 with rino McCain and Palin I'd vote for the Constitution Party of the United States of America Pastor Chuck Baldwin and Darrell Castle, I feel like I've basically stepped outside of the controlled box of Two horse one party system, if you or I owned 2 horses and people placed their money on either of the horses who is going to win? You will! So with that said here's my view on the best party and candidates for the USA and my philosophy as a believer in Jesus, lots of people say that you're not voting for your Pastor right? But if you were you'd want the best as well, so here you go, INSANITY kicking the same dead horse every 4 years expecting a better result wake up America! No more Lesser of Two Evils anymore it's time Constitution Revolution USMC Vietnam War Veteran 4 POTUS, or since you're in CA you can find more on the main site or just peruse the preamble
Or the platform yes I realize that my part might not win but I've decided it's no more kicking the same dead horse every 4 years and no more Lesser of Two Evils anymore thanks for your great article and allowing me to share with you my thoughts may GOD bless you and your family with health love joy and peace always in Jesus name amen have a blessed day and week Bsafe!