It’s an election year again and I’m reminded of my unending personal debate. I’m fairly conservative religiously compared to the general population, but fairly liberal otherwise. I grew up listening to my dad, my parents’ friends, and even sermons in church say and imply that the Republican party offers the most Godly platform and positions and candidates and so we Christians should vote that way. The sermons generally wouldn’t say vote Republican explicitly, but you could tell what they were getting at. In my parents’ house, with their friends and to some degree among the Christians I grew up with, liberal was a dirty word- used almost like a slur.
For the Christians, including my parents, that I speak of I have the utmost respect and I agree totally with them on matters of Scripture. I do take issue with when Bible and Christianity mix with religion, though, and I hope if any of them happen to read this that they don’t take offense or think me disrespectful. I’m still trying to muck out my political position exactly. There isn’t really a party that captures my beliefs perfectly, no candidate that I can feel passionate about supporting.
I have a problem with saying candidate or party A is against abortion and gay marriage and the Bible is against them, therefore I must support A. I believe and can provide Scriptural support for their (and my) position that abortion and homosexuality are sin, but I think the fact that you must support candidates that have that position is opinion because it’s not that simple. Let me explain my thought process.
What was and is Jesus’/God’s goal or desire? That all would come to Him, that is, believe and live faithfully. 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 say this quite well. When we look at Jesus’ example, he didn’t want to change (inside or outside the set process of government) the government even though the Romans were quite harsh on Christians and it was far from Godly. His focus was on individual responsibility because that is how we’ll be judged- John 12:48 and Rom 2:6. While I can see some value to having Christian leaders of a country, there are problems, too. One being the issue of having religious influence in government such that laws would be specific to certain denominations or something like that-the slope is slippery and I fear that myself and those who believe like I do wouldn’t be in the majority, so we’d be at their mercy.
One way to accomplish this (Jesus’ desire), some might say, is electing Christian officials to enact Christian laws and ones that don’t violate God’s law. This seems a little backwards to me, though there is some truth to the expression “fake it til you make it”. Another, the opinion I hold for now, is to focus on spreading the gospel individually such that people choose not to have abortions, rather than go the more authoritarian route. I think everything has a moral issue to consider whether it’s the abortion stance, how well he will handle money (money God blessed me with and I am to be a good steward of), or whether he will attack countries at will, killing innocent people for no real reason. The point is, is that how to accomplish God’s desire is opinion. Sin is sin and there is Bible proof for that, but who you elect, whether you are pro separation of church and state or against, and other political issues are open for debate. There has been a movement in the past decade to politicize certain religious issues, which has removed the necessity to think for oneself. Not to say that those who disagree with me aren’t thinking for themselves-far from it-but the propaganda doesn’t help us talk intelligently and freely about these issues.
I also have an issue with the fact that the abortion ban poses some problems. It is murder when used as birth control and even in the case of rape and incest (on which most Republicans will take exceptions BTW), but what about ectopic pregnancy or other instances that I can’t think of where the question is to save the baby or mother or both are in danger? Will an abortion ban account for those, albeit, small number of cases? Should it, Biblically? Since I can’t answer that, I have a hard time with saying ban abortion absolutely and vote for those who will work to ban abortion. Never mind the fact that the so-called family values candidates are willing to murder a baby when the mother was raped. It’s a hard situation for sure. Would I make the right decision? I don’t know. But there is a right decision there and Republicans and Christians who support Republicans as the Godly choice have no problem with murder in those cases (or they must not because they say they can’t support a pro choice candidate because he leaves the door open on murder).
Also invoked in election years is how the country needs to get back to its Christian roots. I don’t think we want state established religion, do we? That’s how we started. If you didn’t attend twice on Sunday there were a set of consequences that involved the gallows at sea. And if you weren’t the “correct” denomination, there were harsh consequences including but not limited to prison. Founding Faith is an interesting book to read on this subject. The Founding Fathers and others of the time (who weren’t part of the state enforced denominations) tended to believe, with some exceptions, that separation of church and state would be good for both in different ways. Now, religious folks often look at separation of church and state as evil, worldly, and trying to take God out of schools, etc.
I hesitate to post this as some will probably think it heresy or worse, but this is a pet peeve of mine-politics from the pulpit- and I don’t always say what I want and don’t always have opportunity to say it, so I’ll write it here and move on. I hope you can do the same. I apologize if anyone reads it and it’s hard to follow or if I don’t explain myself clearly-I did my best with the time I have.
I guess I'll post it. Here goes...