Reps & Dems, You’re Both Wrong!
I’ve been in numerous political discussions over the last year or so. First, it was resultant outrage that Donald Trump was running for President. The progressive liberals couldn’t get over the fact that he could literally say anything while continuing to gain traction in the race.
Then, after Trump was elected President, the outcry was deafening. My conversations switched from how ridiculous it was for Trump to be running in the first place, to “Oh my! He won! What do we do now?”
Lately, conversations have been centered around his foreign policy. More specifically, the air strikes against Syria.
Coming from a Christian perspective, this political banter has become pretty convoluted. In nearly every politically charged conversation I’m in, it’s assumed outrightly that I side with either the Republicans or the Democrats depending on which issue we’re talking about.
But, I don’t side with either of them.
BEING A CHRISTIAN IN POLITICAL AMERICA
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'”
— Mark 8:34 (ESV)
I understand there are many Christians who affiliate with one party or another, and I’m not here to call those people out for their political leanings. I do think that, if Christians are consistent, they will reject the ideologies which rest behind both red and blue.
I’ve tried to make this perspicuous in conversations, but being that this country is so politically divided, most people interpret my words through the lens of one political view or the other.
One minute, I may condemn Trump’s attack on Syria, and the next I may be challenging the government’s role in public education. This can get rather confusing for those who look at everything through red or blue glasses.
I can’t know, for sure, what exactly causes this confusion, but I suggest it could be the fact that most people lack categories. This lack of categories isn’t necessarily their fault. We have been brought up to think Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, and definitions of either are assumed rather hastily.
This is the American way. But, what is the Christian way?
Is the Christian way the same as the American way? As I mentioned above, the conversations I’ve had recently get confusing for the simple fact that I (and many other Christians) cannot be easily placed into a red or blue category. We disagree with both side often.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has studied the ministry of Jesus. Jesus was often placed into categories prematurely. He never quite fit in either category in which he was placed. To the Pharisees, he was a blasphemer, a law breaker deserving of death. To the Romans, he was a nuisance, a political disturbance. Still, to the common people, he was often seen as insufficient, perhaps even a fraud. After all, they thought he would be a sort of literal David who would ride into Israel and oust Rome for good.
Jesus didn’t fit into the categories people wanted him to be in. Indeed, he was none of those things in a true sense.
In other places we read, “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly, I understand that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34).’” In the King James this is rendered, “God is no respecter of persons.”
God is on God’s side.
He doesn’t join up with our agendas, which are more often than not formulated according to our sinfulness. He doesn’t favor a party over the other. God favors those who pursue God’s will. God, therefore, will never be forced into an ideology. To do this is to paint the Lord into someone he’s not.
If we use the model of our Lord, then, we can see there is a additional category. Above, I mentioned a lack of categories in the political American’s worldview. They often see things as a Republican or as a Democrat. Dare I say they may even see things as a Libertarian or a Constitutionalist.
Neither of these parties represent a biblical pattern for politics in any comprehensive sense. There may be one which is more consistent with Scripture than the others, but there are always flaws.
As a Christian, therefore, we stand on the foundation of Scripture and judge. Yes, I said judge. We judge the things coming out of any given political party on the basis of Scripture; and Scripture isn’t red, blue, or yellow. God is not a respecter of persons, and he surely isn’t a respecter of man’s political ideologies.
When I disagree with the Republicans, it doesn’t mean I’m a Democrat. When I disagree with the political liberals, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m politically conservative. It means I’m adjudicating on the ideas proposed, or actions taken, by our leaders and politicians based on the standards set forth in God’s Word.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Republicans, Democrats, I disagree with you both. Sometimes, Libertarians and Constitutionalists, I disagree with you also. The ideas and policies set forth according to these systems of thought are often inconsistent with what Scripture teaches.
I do not stand with the Republicans come hell or high water. Likewise, I do not stand with the Democrats, Libertarians, or Constitutionalists until death do us part. The Christian is called to be committed to Christ above all. Christ is our shepherd, he is our leader, our commander, our King.
While some political talking head within each of these parties may present ideas consistent with Scripture, ideas which should be endorsed (i.e. defunding Planned Parenthood), the party itself ought not be thought of as fundamentally correct. After all, God spoke through the mouth of Balaam’s donkey, and a broken clock is right twice a day.
The church ought to spit the bones out where the bones need spitting out. We can join in fighting human abortion by way of protest, preaching the gospel, etc, and if a President comes along and makes abortion illegal, we can praise God for that. But the policy is not the political party, and the political party is not the policy. If I believe abortion is wrong, it’s not because the Republicans think it’s wrong, it’s because Scripture says it’s wrong.
We ought to judge adequately, being careful not to yoke ourselves with groups who often present ungodly ideas. Christians are to stand on the platform of Christ, not jumping onto other platforms flippantly, at the whim of preference or commonality.
Hopefully, this post will work to resolve some confusion in those whom I often converse with.