Monday, July 22 2024 - 2:40 AM
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Politics and Jesus

Most of my Christian friends are Republican. They think the opposition is the devil. They think the only people worth voting for are Christians, regardless of how they run the country. Do I sound a bit put off? It’s probably because I am. As little as we all know about what’s going on, and as non-committal as I am about who I’ll vote for here shortly, I am much bothered by the deep associations people make between Christianity and politics.

Can Christianity possibly be true to itself and be a political persuasion? I’d have to say no way. I know we’re supposed to fight for the rights of all, but beyond our moral duty to our fellow man, is there a party we have to join when we take up our cross to follow Jesus? I think not. It seems to me that the enemy of God, rightly dubbed the devil (which means something like the accuser of the family), is thrilled with us and our strong political opinions—especially if we spout them with God’s name as a footnote. Are we who are called to be in the world and not of it, called to fight battles in politics? I doubt it.

Showing Respect

No, I think the teachings of Paul are very clear. Show great respect for your civic leaders—even if they started a very indecent war or believe women have the right to choose—and make your personal choices as close to the teachings and Spirit of Jesus as possible. In other words, show respect and vote as close to your convictions and conscience as possible. And if you pray and have no sense that you need to vote, don’t. God, after all, is your guide.

I know this free way of thinking is hugely unhelpful to Christian leaders seeking to sweep large bodies of born-again Americans into alignment behind their leader of choice, but the freedom to think and decide for ourselves as individuals are about as Christian as a person can get. We should not submit our minds to a greater human agenda, even if they worship like us. We are to submit ourselves to Jesus and let Him guide us.

Maybe the worst part of this kind of political Christianity is that it comes off as arrogant, accusatory, and disrespectful. No wonder I have smart friends who won’t attend church with me. They’ve seen just a little too much of the religious right. They can’t stomach the idea of joining ranks with those who loathe the ungodly as evil and the unchristian as tools of Satan—not to mention the environment. Frankly, they love Jesus, but all the political garbage stinks.

How Would Jesus Respond?

I guess if I could shout from the rooftops what I’m thinking, it’d be along the lines of humility and kindness, and respect. We are still Christians when we talk politics, and politicians are still human beings. Jesus said His people would not only be marked by how they treat each other but also by how they treat those who are of a different persuasion. I think it’s safe to say that if Jesus was sitting at your table for dinner and saw the nightly news, He would have something very kind to say about all parties involved. He does, after all, track our very hearts.

As corny as it may sound, Jesus digs all of us, Republicans and Democrats—even with all our bad choices and fumbles. And so it should go without saying that Jesus digs our politicians. Sure the bigger stage does magnify their flaws into bigger targets, but I’m certain Jesus wouldn’t be taking any cheap shots.

And who do I think Jesus would have me vote for? I’m not completely sure, and probably won’t be for a while. I’m not an elephant or a donkey, I’m a follower of Jesus, and His party is the only one I’ve joined. Regardless of who our president is, the question for me is, who has my ultimate allegiance?

To Whom Do We Pledge Our Allegiance?

When voting, I plan to own my choices and allow everyone else to do the same. And for those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, I hope you take the time to pray and ask GOD what your choices should be and why. Certainly, this is within His realm of interest. I’m sure He won’t leave you high and dry. What we cannot afford to do is pledge allegiance to a political machine in the name of God. That kind of thing has been disastrous in the past.

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If you liked this, you might also like The Illusion of Force | The Challenge of Politics and Faith 

Claire Worley writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Claire Worley

Claire Worley

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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