Are you one of those people who lowkey hates election time? Yeah, me too. I have my reasons. I get really weary of all the political commercials and conversations. People become even more hostile than usual on social media and in their conversations with others who hold different political views than them. Probably the most frustrating thing to me is that people tell you who you HAVE to vote for because of your racial or religious background. For example, I often hear people say, “You ain’t really black if you’re not voting for ____” or “How can you call yourself a Christian and vote for _______?”
Many people have written blogs and articles on this. But let me just say this simple truth. GOD IS NOT REPUBLICAN NOR DEMOCRAT. People trying to make you feel that one party is godlier than another are WRONG. God rules at a higher standard than either of the parties can offer us. Also, the debates for the merits/demerits of each party can be completely justifiable.
Today's political climate often offers us what The And Campaign calls "false choices" (ex: asking us if we care about social justice or family values, women or unborn children, the poor or personal responsibility) These are bad questions for most people, and especially bad questions for the Christian. Why? Because the Bible doesn't separate these issues as either/or questions. We should care about BOTH because God cares about both. So, we should care about the poor and personal responsibility, justice and family values, women and the unborn (we'll talk another week about how rhetoric frames these false choices). The writers of the book Compassion and Conviction encourage us to not "answer those questions---at least not in the way they're asked. They are based on the false premise and thus create a false dilemma for Christians. This is what happens when we allow the world to frame the questions and the issues for us: we end up choosing one of the two wrong answers or rejecting one of the two right answers, and losing control of our public witness in the process."
We have to be really careful, US politics is increasingly growing more polarized and so these false choices will continue to increase, and the stakes of the questions may also become higher.
"America's current political system separates love from truth, compassion from conviction, and social justice from moral order as if somehow they're at odds with one another...But there's no clear reasons why these two stances should be separate. It's just presented to us as the only way, and we accept it... Here's how these competing narratives usually play out: those on the right side of the political spectrum say they stand for individual freedom, patriotism, and moral order; the left, on the other hand, claims to stand for justice, equality, and inclusion. Conservatives say progressives are immoral because of their positions on abortion, religious liberty, and the like. Progressives say that conservatives are bigoted and lack compassion when it comes to poverty, race, and gender. Both sides have become less tolerant of differing viewpoints and stamp out candidates and advocates who hold a more nuanced or moderate perspective." -Compassion and Conviction: The AND CAMPAIGN'S Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement
This leaves biblical Christians in a tough spot because we want to (or should want to) fight for all of these issues. The And Campaign pushes biblical Christians to not just simply be loyalists to their parties, but loyalists to the word of God. There's nothing wrong with belonging to a party, but there's definitely something wrong when we are unaware of the flaws of our own party or have an inability to critique and examine the faults of our parties and their political leanings and stances. One party may be faltering biblically in more areas that another in a particular time period, but this does NOT absolve the believer from recognizing the flaws in their own party. Fully embracing every ideology your party spouts without examining and questioning it against the Word is intellectually lazy and biblically unfaithful.
"Christians must be critical thinkers and question the assumptions and conclusions presented to us. We shouldn't simply accept the issues as they've been framed to us by political parties, ideological tribes, or the media---because these sources usually aren't analyzing the issues from the standard of the gospel. Instead, these groups often frame the issue in a way that leads us to the conclusions they desire. But Christians must make sure biblical doctrine is the framework from which we base our answers to political and cultural questions."- Compassion and Conviction: The AND CAMPAIGN'S Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement
Unfortunately, in American society, most times there isn’t a candidate that equally stands for all the things that we value. Yeah, I know that’s why being an informed voter is HARD!
So, while I will never tell you which political party to align yourself with, one thing I will say is this: Our allegiance should always be to Christ first and not to a political party. Our political decisions should also not be dependent on who our family or friends vote for or who’s poppin’ on social media. Do your homework! Read up on candidates! Pray! Do research (research would mean reading a multiplicity of sources and working to find the most unbiased sources, reading multiple points of view, including those who completely disagree with yours, and PLEASE stop getting all your news and information via social media…please, I beg you.). Then cast a vote. It’s troubling when Christians are so deeply wrapped up in the ideals and goals of their political party that they choose those over the principles laid out in the word of God. The most important group that we will ever belong to is the family of God.
28 days until Election Date! (If you’re mailing in your ballot, you should definitely mail yours out by October 20th… which means you have 14 days left!)
I would also encourage you to watch this video!