Friday

Christian Politics 101: A Follow-up to Facebook Riots

Okay, I've had a rough time with this election.  I'm worn out from explaining the same things over and over.  I'm tired of being misunderstood and misheard.  I'm mostly tired of arguing with people I love about insignificant details of party lines.  I've had all sorts of names/implications thrown at me.  The list of things that have been said about me and my views is ever-growing...  Even my FAITH in God has been called to question.

I'm frustrated by the single-issue politics that I see Christians engaging in.  As if one issue is more important than any other.  As if one sin (or two sins) are greater than any other.  Pure and simple, let me break it down: sin is sin.  God hates sin.  Sin is what separates us from God.  It's doing what you know God doesn't want  you to do and NOT doing what you know He does.  Ergo, (and yes, this is radical so brace yourself), murder is sin, yes, but no better or worse than any other sin, like for instance desecrating God's creation by not taking care of it.  Yes, you heard me... I have just stated FOR THE RECORD that killing our world is just as bad a killing babies.  Don't get me wrong.  I believe that human life is sacred and we're made in God's image and all that jazz...  But caring for God's creation goes a long way toward showing how much you respect God.  All life is sacred.  And that which God created is GOOD.

Now that I've gotten that little rant out of my system, I wanna clear a few random things up:
  1. Jesus was neither republican nor democrat; He wasn't even American.  The chances of Him being WHITE are slim to none.  He grew up in the MIDDLE EAST.  Furthermore, Jesus was NOT a Christian (as a matter of clarity, He was, in fact, a Jew).  Therefore, claiming that you have the market cornered on what Jesus wants either politically or religiously is just plain... ignorant.
  2. Jesus also said that we would know our brothers and sisters by the fruit they bear.  Integrity, compassion, justice for all... they speak volumes.
  3. Freedom of Religion in our country means freedom of ALL religions, not just Christianity.  While I am troubled by the fact that my children can't pray in a public school (and therefore PRACTICE their freedom of religion), I'm not overly bothered by it.  Every religion should be treated the same in a country that professes freedom of religion.  And (to borrow a phrase from my pastor) "Please hear me": It's my PARENTAL responsibility to teach my children about God and how to talk to Him/Her.  It is NO ONE else's, not the school's and not the church's.
  4. Separation of Church and state is not a constitutional concept.  The phrase was (I believe) coined in a personal document (a letter?) that Thomas Jefferson wrote.  This means that it is NOT a constitutional right to have a separation...  However, we are NOT a CHRISTIAN nation.  If we are going to profess to constitutionally provide freedom of religion, we can't have our government aligning with any particular religion -- including our personal favorite.
  5. Jesus told us to CARE for orphans and widows.  He admonished Peter to "feed my sheep."  The Acts church shared everything and made sure that not one of them was in need for anything.  That sounds like a socialist society to me.  Granted it was the church.  And when the church steps up and does its job as it should, we won't need the government to do so.  In the meantime, however, it IS the government's job to manage the economy, to maintain a balance in its income and its spending budget.  It is the government's job to see that the needs of the people it governs are being met.  Friends have told me that it's not their responsibility to spend their hard-earned cash to pay for someone else's medical bills.  This makes me so sad.  I can't imagine those same people saying that to Jesus' face.  "Whatever you do to the least of these..."
  6. The fatal flaw in the "Pro-life" agenda is that the situation is never as black and white as we'd like it to be.  Keeping people from killing babies through abortion doesn't take into consideration any of the circumstances, and the LIFE of the mother.  I don't wanna see abortions happen either, folks.  I cry inside every time I hear about abortions or any abuse to children.  HOWEVER, there is so much more to the politics behind the abortion bills (like silly riders that are attached to bills -- which often cause the bills to become multi-layered) and the fact that if there weren't options available to women, in their desperation, many of them would seek unsafe measures.  So, let's work on providing them with education and choices and help to guide them to the right choice in LOVE.
I realize I've only begun to scratch the surface of the issues facing Christians today when it comes to our country.  All I can say is, please VOTE.  Vote your beliefs and passions.  Make sure that you research what your candidates stand for.  Know which one you can agree with on more issues, and realize that you may be right in your choice or you may be wrong.  

Most of you already know who I'm gonna vote for on Tuesday.  I don't need you to try to change my mind.  I've done the research.  I've read both sides of the issues.  I've looked into the character and family history of all four of the main players.  I've seen enough discord between Christians over silly little issues.  I've heard candidates compared to Adolf Hitler (PLEASE; Really?), the Anti-Christ, and whatever evil persona you wanna put in here.

Can we please just agree to use our brains and our ability to discern (that GOD has placed within each of us), and pray that we will -- with an open mind -- be guided to make the right choice?

And no matter who wins this election, it is our responsibility to pray for guidance and wisdom for them... whether we like them or not.

4 comments:

Ladyinpink1 said...

Incredible post!!! Very well written and factual! I appreciate your insight and wisdom!!

melanie said...

very well said. and please don't think you're alone in this situation...i've been trying to convince my family that i'm both a democrat AND a serious Christian for years, now. and am still unsuccessful.

thanks for this.

Jeremy said...

The Christian Democrat is going to be frustrated for a long time, but President Bush's abysmal unpopularity and a lot of memoirs by well-meaning Christians who signed on to be useful idiots in the Bush administration are starting to turn the tide a bit and maybe this year we'll see a chipping away of the 90 percent of church-going Christians that typically vote Republican in Presidential elections.

I personally think every Christian who cares about politics needs to read God's Politics by Jim Wallis. I didn't get around to reading it until this year. Unfortunately, it was marketed as an anti-Bush screed, but it's not. It's a well thought out critique of the role Christianity plays in American politics. It's also book length, so I won't be able to summarize it effectively here.

I also heard a great sermon this week by an African American pastor whose political leanings were obvious (even though he never said so explicitly). He preached on the "render unto Ceasar" scripture in the gospels and he said in the modern era that means Christians should pay their taxes, pay attention to issues and vote their convictions.

However, and this was where he hit his stride and got my attention, if we are allowing who wins elections to affect our joy, then we have rendered unto Ceasar what should be God's. If we have allowed who wins elections to affect how we raise our families, then we have rendered unto Caesar what should be God's. He went on and on in the cadence that is wonderfully unique to the African American church experience.

It's pretty obvious that Nean was talking about abortion and gay marriage in her post. God's views on those issues is clear, I think, and they happen to line up with the Republican Party platform.

Yet I wonder if by allowing government such a heavy hand in these issues we have rendered unto Ceasar what should be God's.

Abortion. No one likes to admit this, but abortions actually went down under Bill Clinton more than they did under Ronald Reagan or either of the Bushes. We can speculate on why but I suspect that the reason is church going pro-life Christians, who knew they did not have an ally in the White House on this issue, got to work in the trenches. One group I am acquainted with, Choices of the Heart, effectively drove Planned Parenthood out of South Carolina. The complicated nature of abortion choices requires God to fix, not government.

Gay marriage, same deal. God's clear on homosexuality in his Word, but it is going to be hard to make a case of the sanctity of man-woman marriage when the divorce rate, even in churches, is about 50 percent.

And there are a whole swath of other issues, economic and environmental among them.

I often wonder what the debate over economics that takes place in the church would have been like if the 20th century experiment with communism had not been atheist.

As I read the scripture, it seems that communism is what Jesus calls us too. Unfortunately, the communism of the soviet union didn't see it that way.

I wonder what would have happened to the American political debate if they had...

BornToTravel said...

Very well said! I too have had a rough time too and can't believe (actually I can) how I've seen Christians treat each other with so much hate. It grieves my heart. May God guide and direct this great nation and allow us all to show each other love even when we disagree.