My daddy taught me that polite people don’t talk politics or religion. By that measure, I’m not very polite. I blame peer pressure. Everyone’s doing it these days. My last blog—my take on the Republicans in Tampa—apparently caused reader confusion, because three people asked me privately to explain myself.
For the record: I agree or disagree with individual issues and candidates based on my faith, my love of country and my best judgment, not based on whether or not a particular issue is part of one party’s marketing package.
Though I’m not affiliated with any political party, I’m not against political parties. America thrives on debate, checks and balances. The problem comes when we Christians tie our faith to a political party. Then we belittle the Name of our God. We make him out as only as big, only as good, only as powerful, as our politics. And we get caught up in peer pressure. I know African-American Christians who would like to vote Republican on some issues, but they fear letting down their Democrat church community. And I know Caucasian Protestants who don’t dare question the Republican package, because their Christian community loudly proclaims that every single thing that a Democrat does or says is a plot of Satan. Preaching and fearing that God will abandon America if the “wrong” person is elected, Christians of both parties put their faith not in God, but rather in their candidates.
Dan Merchant said, “Yes, ‘Us Against Them’ is fun and easy to play. It gets the voters out, it raises money, drives ratings. And outrage is way more exciting than humility.”(from Lord, Save Us From Your Followers. If you haven’t seen this humorous, but powerful, documentary, it’s available on Netflix and on YouTube. Watch it. Buy it. Share it. Memorize it.)
I wonder what would happen during this presidential election if we stopped believing that God loves one political party and hates the other, and started believing that God is bigger than that. Would we stop fighting so desperately and trust God to do right by us? Would we see our party candidate with fresh eyes? Would we let a comment go unanswered—or at least take a moment to think and pray before answering? Would we love one another more?
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
I challenge my brothers and sisters in Jesus to humble themselves and quietly kneel or sit or walk alone with God for just five minutes. Set a timer. Maybe God will speak to you in bigger ways than the RNC or the DNC ever could. If you do this, please share with us how it goes. Did you get any new understandings? Confirmation that you’re on the right track? Fall asleep?
See also: WWJV: What Would Jesus Vote?