I'm participating in a "syncro-blog" facilitated by Zack Hunt over at The American Jesus blog. For the entire week, bloggers across America will be sharing their thoughts on the upcoming election, particularly who they believe Christians should vote for and why.
Most who know me know that I generally steer clear of writing any significant political commentary in the public forum. But it seems as though, I just can’t hold this one in. My heart hurts for us/U.S. I’ve often said that I’m an independent with conservatively liberal tendencies. LOL! Yet, in this election, I’m certainly, and most definitely not undecided. So here I go…jumping in the fray.
It’s astounding to me how the so-called “religious right” can, in one breath, thrash President Obama about issues they believe are integral to the faith and yet in the next breath, endorse a candidate that doesn’t believe in the FOUNDATIONAL principle of our faith: that it is by grace through faith that one receives salvation. Even the Billy Graham organization has decided to remove Mormonism from its list of cults, only after Graham met with Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for President and devout Mormon.
I'm not telling you who to vote for. But please be clear...to use God’s word as a tool for political gain is worse than the Roman soldiers who cast lots (2012 translation: shot dice) for Christ’s clothes after His body was removed from the cross.
You see, I’m fine with a person deciding that Christian principles are the values by which one should make political decisions. We all have that right and quite frankly, to some extent, all of us vote based on some hierarchy of values we claim to espouse. I say hierarchy because the political process is inherently an exercise in compromise (a definite challenge for believers who understand that God’s word should not ever be compromised). And yet…if I wanted a candidate that aligned with every one of my values, I’d be better off writing my mother in on the ballot. And if even then, it wouldn’t work. (Sorry, Mom!) :)
But what is reprehensible to me is when some people will cherry-pick the principles and issues they want to fly on their political banner and then turn around and disrespect the office that God has ordained a person to serve in (Yep, God ordained him, read Romans 13)…simply because their “must haves” don’t align with his “must haves.” If you are claiming to be standing firmly and rigidly on the word of God, you’d certainly better consider the implications of choosing a candidate who has stood on an evangelistic mission field and preached against the CORE of what you say you believe.
(And let’s be clear: Mormons believe many things that are diametrically opposed to the teachings in the Bible. Things such as (1) that God and Jesus were separate physical people who dwelled on the earth. God was Jesus' father and both men died (2) There is no hell…just three heavens, and you get into them depending on if you are a Mormon or not, if you are a good person but never a Mormon, or if you are a good Mormon who lives a righteous life. (3) Lucifer was Jesus' brother, back on the original earth, where God and Jesus dwelled and that (4) the bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly but that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.)*
I’ve had some of my Republican friends say to me that, in this case, religion and faith don’t matter. But it certainly mattered when Rev. Jeremiah Wright was being demonized for preaching from the pulpit about the VERY REAL residue of America’s history on modern social policies. It certainly mattered when some people were (and are) trying to make the current President a Muslim despite evidence to the contrary.
And don’t rejoice too quickly, my left-leaning friends…. as a follower of Christ, I am concerned about issues like gay marriage and abortion. I believe that Jesus is deeply troubled by the 4,000 babies lost to abortion each day. BUT…He is ALSO deeply troubled by the state of the hearts and minds and circumstances of the 4,000 mothers who felt like, for whatever reason, they needed to make that choice. Jesus’ GRACE is sufficient for BOTH.
But here’s the rub for me…I know FOR CERTAIN that he is deeply troubled by the 22,000 children who die from poverty each day GLOBALLY; approx. 10,000 children a year in a country as wealthy as ours (Don’t think we’re so wealthy? Ask the people who waited in line for the iPhone 5). In fact…don’t take my word for it:
Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. - Mt. 5:42.
"When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." - Luke 14:12-14.
The young man said to Him, "All these commands I have kept; what am I still lacking?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." - Mt. 19:20
He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed. - Prov. 19:17.
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18
Are these commands/scriptures not just as important? Can anyone honestly say that the policies promoted by the “religious right” faction of the GOP take any of the above into consideration?
This is what I would challenge anyone who classifies themselves as part of this group to think about in this election: If President Obama, after having some kind of strange revelation, decided that the policies the GOP were putting forth were right; even decided to change his agenda to match said policies (God forbid), would you STILL have a problem with him being in the White House? If your answer is YES, then I would suggest that your issue with him has NOTHING to do with faith or religion, policies or record; or even his character. It’s something more insidious and rooted in the more wretched aspects of American history. And if you are a believer like you say, I would also encourage you to thank God that He has allowed this political climate to reveal your true heart…and REPENT. Then and only then will the causes you choose to champion—some of which may change as a result of your repentance—be viewed as authentic concerns and not ridiculous political manipulations designed to further your own selfish agendas.
Trust and believe, God is neither republican nor democrat. In fact, I'm reminded of a great quote from blogger Mark Rosenfelder, "God isn't a conservative; He's a revolutionary. He not only takes the side of the poor; he puts himself in their place." God IS “the least of these (Matthew 25:37-40).” And if there is nothing on the GOP agenda that even remotely attempts to serve them first and foremost (i.e., healthcare, education, Medicare, etc.) then the God being claimed as the source of the party’s “family values” looks nothing like the God of the Bible and the God I serve.