Ethical discourse about the institution of voting rarely includes the option of abstaining for principled reasons. This collection of nine articles widens the discussion in that direction by giving readers a new question: At what point and on what grounds might one choose not to vote as an act of conscience?
Contributors offer both ethical and faith-based reasons for not voting. For some, it is a matter of candidates not measuring up to high standards; for others it is a matter of reserving political identity and allegiance for the church rather than the nation-state. These writers--representing a wide range of Christian traditions--cite texts from diverse sources: Mennonites, Pentecostals, and pre-Civil Rights African Americans. Some contributors reference the positions of Catholic bishops, Karl Barth, or John Howard Yoder. New Testament texts also figure strongly in these cases for "conscientious abstention" from voting.
In addition to cultivating the ethical discussion around abstention from voting, the contributors suggest alternative ways beneficially to engage society. This volume creates a new freedom for readers within any faith tradition to enter into a dialogue that has not yet been welcomed in North America.