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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Elephant in the Room

An old months-old post.... I've since written something on values voting that essentially says the same thing.

I used this phrase before, but didn't realize it's double meaning until someone pointed it out. :) So, yes, pun intended (this time).

People who are members of the Lord's body the church of Christ) are going to know more about what I'm talking about, but many things will be relevant to all who think about religion.

It's election time again and Christians are talking (in and out of the church building) about abortion and gay marriage and being a Christian in and out of the voting booth. It doesn't help that we've just passed an amendment to the state constitution here to ban gay marriage, so there's even more... ideas being exchanged, shall we say. There is a long held belief that being a Christian in the voting booth means voting Republican, with the implication that voting Democrat is sinful or nearly so (or agreeing with one or several ideas associated with Democrats means you support abortion and homosexuality and hence think it is not sin). These specifics are never really stated, but hinted at with the vote your values language and "be a Christian in and out of the voting booth" types of things, hence the elephant in the room.

I personally think this logic goes farther than scripture.

Why only these two issues to determine our morals?

Why choose two sins to determine morality by law that most Christians don't struggle with as opposed to more common ones?

Why must we have these things banned in law to be acceptable to God? And why not the other sins- are we ranking them? Have these two, abortion and homosexuality, been politicized? (Think how politically viable banning alcohol and divorce (except in the case of infidelity) and remarriage (except in the case of death and infidelity- for the one party) would be...)

A president governs the country, why not choose him based on qualifications for the job rather than his stance on banning two sins in particular above all others? We aren't electing an elder to the state church, after all.

Should we be more concerned with enacting laws to ban sin or teaching individuals? I ask this because of Jesus' approach, not necessarily as an actual choice. He commanded the gospel to be taught, not Rome to be toppled and replaced by the church or a democracy that enacted laws that banned sin.

A problem I see is that sometimes we speak in terms of putting God first as a nation, but we will be judged individually. There is no national salvation.

Another problem comes from the best of intentions. We are to stand up for Christ and rightly divide the word and not compromise on truth because it comes from a perfect authority. It seems that sometimes this same uncompromising approach seeps into the political beliefs (which involve fallible men and definitely imperfect doctrine) as well- for example, voting Republican= godly; voting Democrat= sin.  I agree that there aren't many paths to heaven; there is one. I don't think we can say the same about politics. There are many different issues and each one you can approach in a godly or ungodly way. Christians are going to disagree on which issues are important for governing and how much government should be in which things.

I imagine there are a ton of smart people who will have an answer for every one of my points, but what I'm saying is let's make sure the line in the sand we draw is scriptural and not political. With all due respect to many good people, I think it goes beyond scripture to say one party is a Godly choice or that you are not putting God first if you choose this or that party or that you will go to hell if you vote for this or that candidate.

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