As a follower of Jesus who values a holistic approach to life and worship (and I am convinced the Bible values, assumes, and even demands the same) I view everything through the lens of my identity in Christ. As a person who is a whole, I cannot divorce my mind from my body nor separate my lungs from my chest. To do so would be fatal in both cases. I believe it is the same with the various arenas of my life.The recent presidential election was an opportunity for me and millions of other people to choose between an integrated or a fragmented approach to life. The choice to vote for a particular measure or a particular candidate, to adopt a particular political stance or affiliate with a certain party ought to reflect the same values that drive every part of my life.
At first, this might sound scary (or exciting, depending on your own point of view) since it could point to a political approach that demands all policy be determined by the Bible.
But I don’t think that way. I can only say what is true for me, and I encourage you to do the same for yourself. I don’t think I can dictate that millions of other people must choose and behave the way I do, but when I am given the opportunity to influence society with my vote, if I don’t influence it in the way I believe to be best, something is wrong.
What has come to trouble me is that I see so many of the people I know who supposedly value the same things as me, the things Jesus valued (as far as I can tell when I read the Bible) who seem to lose their minds when it comes to politics.
Followers of Jesus tend to develop a condition I have termed “Christian D.I.D.” when it comes to politics or a number of other aspects of life. D.I.D. stands for Dissociative Identity Disorder and is the proper term for what has been known as multiple personalities. Christians seem to try to live as if they were different people in different situations rather than as one unified whole. They dissociate themselves from their identity in Christ when it comes to politics, often lying to themselves about what they are doing.
Somehow, the Republican party managed the brilliant and perplexing wholesale takeover in the realm of evangelical politics. Evangelicals sold their souls to the Republican party in exchange for support in two areas of political debate (I’ll wager you can guess which two I have in mind).
So now, even though nearly every other item in the Republican platform is either neutral to or unquestionably opposed to Christian values, evangelicals are brainwashed into voting that way and attacking any who diverge from the status quo.
Don’t get me wrong, Democrats are not the beacons of God’s light some make them out to be either. In fact, I refuse to identify with either party. My identity is with Jesus and his church, and I vote every time on conscience based on each individual situation.
So, let me tell you a little about the kinds of things I see and hear from Christians and why I question its compatibility with Christian values.
Here are a couple direct quotes I copied and pasted from Facebook that are reactions to Obama’s reelection:
“If you voted for the man who won and claim to be a Christian then woe to you. He is a socialist, a proabortionist, anti marrage as God ordained. He has ruined our country in 4 short years …An no I did not say Sodom I said Babylon…Babylon was ruined because of the ‘Me’ attitude and sin and forgetting God. They were making gods of themselves and their things. That is how our country is. The Bible also says a man who does not work should not eat…We have so many hand outs and give aways it is bankrupting us. I believe in helping the ‘NEEDY’ and my husband and I do, but not to all just because they are to lazy to work. Mitt Romney may be Morman, but he has morals and good work ethics, which he has proved over and over for many years. We had only two choices and only one was a choice the other , well we are stuck for 4 more years. And Christians better wake up and PRAY, PRAY , PRAY….”
The encouragement to pray is great, but somehow I doubt this person’s prayer involves any listening. Here is another:
“Our nation is officially under judgment from God.”
With the certainty these people have and the supposed Christian basis for it, I feel like any day now I’ll find a verse in my Bible that I managed to miss all these years that reads,
“Christians don’t vote Democrat.”
I think we need to stop and think, maybe for the first time, about how our political views connect with our spiritual ones. Some things to consider:
Literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of examples could be given of biblical admonition to the following:
- Feed the hungry
- Heal the sick
- Clothe the naked
- Take care of the poor
- Take care of the foreigners among you
How many times did Jesus do these things? He hardly did anything else. Sure he taught, but he taught in large part about doing these things!
Honestly now, which party does this sound like?
Of course, politicians often don’t do what they promise and if they do, it may not be for pure motives. But the point is Christians somehow ignore these aspects of one party and claim that to associate with that party angers God. Yes, there are things like abortion that do not fit with Christian values in that party as well. We live on a planet of fallen humanity run by fallible human beings. It will never line up with God’s perfect standards.
In this election in particular, though, it went to a new level of absurdity. Somehow Obama is demonized for wanting to create a system that will help the nation’s poor and sick. At the same time, Romney is a man who believes that he has the potential to become a god when dies, that Jesus was merely a man who became divine, and that the Bible is inferior to three other books. Yet he is somehow raised up as the last hope for Christian values.
We have lost our minds. We have given up our identities. We have allowed our decisions and opinions to be hijacked by tricky politicians who know how to get us to forget what is really important to us.
I won’t tell you how to vote, and I have no idea yet how I will vote come next election. But please think things through in light of the whole truth of your identity and values. Please keep in mind the whole picture and not just one or two side issues (one of which is not likely to change no matter what happens). Form your opinions and choose your actions in a way that is consistent with your beliefs so that you don’t conflict with your identity in Christ.
Jesus didn’t tell us how to vote, but he did teach us to be consistent in our dedication to him and his teaching. He did teach us to value sacrifice and taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves. Jesus didn’t tell us which party he likes best, but he did tell us to love our enemies, so even if after reading my utterly convincing words you still side with the same party as before you read this, at least don’t condemn everyone who thinks and acts differently than you. Let’s take the Bible seriously and treat each other with love.