On Social Media today, there is much nashing of teeth by Christians who have seen their candidate lose. Those who claimed to have the moral imperative are distraught by President Obama’s victory, there is no shortage of lamentation and hope for God’s guidance. There are doubtful prayers being offered up that God will guide our political leaders but behind the prayers is sadness and disappointment.
The logic into the election is captured by a syllogism that goes something like this: We believe in God and The Bible. God Wants good people to lead this country. Surely God will help us elect those who most believe in his ways.
ooops; not so much. At least to some.
Now, there are three parts to any syllogism and most of the Christians I’ve heard since the election are still big believers in God, but they seem to think he dropped the ball or didn’t step in and save our nation like they thought he would. They’d rather blame their mighty and powerful God for losing an election than admit that maybe, just maybe, they were WRONG in picking candidates. Logically, everything falls apart if you blame God, even religion; but everything is fixable if you remove human ego and say “God helped us elect people who believe most in his ways.” It turns out, as usual, believing in God is the way to go, something the faithful should already have known. Maybe he got it right this time (again).
Let’s be clear, there were good religious people on either side of the political argument this year and the huge voter turnout proves that people CARE. The majority of people, for the first time in my memory, looked beyond the immediate advantage of lower taxes to vote in favor of inclusion, shared sacrifice, and moving forward. As far as I can tell, these are more Christian values than lower capital gains taxes, binders full of women, and continued world imperialism.
Change is hard and many Christians believed this was an election to save their country and their faith. They were defending tradition, family values, and fighting off a society that seems to want to change everything they hold dear. Only, they picked a bad dance partner, a political party struggling for its own survival, one which opportunistically promised Christians a fight to protect its values. A deal with the devil was made. Politicians are not moral leaders, by definition, and Christians found themselves lumped in with anti-government, anti-tolerant types like the John Birch Society and the grumpy old men of the Tea Party. The pure hearted became teammates with the biased and the cheap. They were exploited and it is time to wake up. (George Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, the GOP’s last three presidential candidates are not exactly shining examples of Christianity, they are all politicians and nothing more.)
What have Christians gained by their attempt to unite under the Republican banner? Nothing. The Chic Fil A controversy shows what happens when you mix religion and politics, a good Christian company was portrayed as bigoted and ignorant. Rather than political initiatives, wouldn’t the owner of Chic Fil A have been better off spending his money on books for libraries or health care for his employees? Doesn’t he have in-house problems to solve before he starts telling other people how to live? Dude, if you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t marry a dude, but could you also pay your counter help a living wage?
How, exactly, did the followers of Jesus Christ become part of a political party that is identified with cutting school budgets, letting the poor go without healthcare, and judging people based on who they love? Is it possible that many good people who believe in “traditional values” got it wrong in this election? What would Jesus do? Would he vote for “Trillions” in defense increases while cutting social programs that help the poor, the sick, and the un-educated? How did they get partnered up with people who utter phrases like “legitimate rape?” When did they make a deal to champion tax breaks for those who “will have a harder time getting into heaven than a camel has passing through the eye of a needle?” How did it go so wrong?
The Republican party is still the party of the country club set and they have made an unlikely alliance with disenfranchised Democrats who left the party when it became a little “too” inclusive. It still puzzles me what the director of a Fortune 500 company and a pickup truck driving, confederate flag waving landscaper have in common politically. Nixon’s “Silent Majority” was a brilliant political move to attract conservative leaning Democrats away from the anti-war children of the sixties Democratic party and the unholy alliance that remains is doomed to always be an opposition party. What do Christians gain by being associated with them?
I don’t know if religion has any place in politics. By definition, politicians lie: so that’s one commandment shot right off the bat. And I suggest that identifying voters as the “Christian Right” needs to stop. We Christians need to re-claim our faith and let the “Christian Right” become the “Right” again without our endorsement. Christians can’t agree on many things when you think about it. We don’t all agree on what day is the Sabbath, the dispensation of Grace, or even on what day Easter is celebrated. It is time we draw the line at politics. It is beneath us. It is time that WE demand a separation of church and state, we don’t need to be in bed with the shameful brand of rich miscreants and egomaniacs that have become the American politician.
Christians need to get back to basics, we need to be known for our hearts. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. We should favor peace. We should favor love, not casting the first stone, and doing onto our neighbor as we would have them do onto us. We should remember the Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the Good Samaritan and that God loved us so much that he came down to earth in human form, suffered, died, was buried and rose to save us.
THAT’S IT. People should think of us as that, Good People, and not as a voting constituency. Leave onto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
We should stop trying to unite under a Christian Republican banner; it backfired on us this year. What was one of the reasons President Obama won re-election? Black Christian churches united to fight white Republicans and their churches and we ended up divided and at war with one another. Christians, indeed, won this election, but not the ones some had backed. In the future, I suggest we let those of us who are politically minded do so under their own label, not by usurping our banner of Christian love for all. Stop hijacking our God’s name in the name of politics.
As people of God it is time to re-unite and rejoice. We have voted, some of us have won, some of us have lost. Now is the time to read the signs and reconsider our allies. It is time to get beyond judgement, exclusion, and intolerance. It is time to understand that we are creations of a loving God made in his image. All are welcome.
We believe in God and The Bible. God wants good people to lead this country. Surely God will help us elect those who most believe in his ways.
I think he did.