Back in 2008, Tyler and I started dating at the height of election season. We were planning to vote for two different candidates and spent many hours debating the issues. We enjoyed being able to discuss our viewpoints, respecting that the other person came from a unique set of experiences and opinions. We argued and disagreed but still managed to fall in love.
Can you imagine falling in love with someone you didn’t agree with politically during this election season?
It seems so full of hate. So divisive. I feel myself pulling away from the internet and television because every where I turn, there is ignorance and hate. Sunday morning, Tyler turned on Meet the Press and I actually found myself covering my ears. I didn’t even want to hear their voices. I’m so tired of the empty statements, the egos and the hate.
It must be really confusing as a non-Christian to understand where we stand with politics. There are people shouting that the GOP is “God’s Only Party” and then others declaring that Jesus is a liberal and an equal amount of hateful, decidedly “non-Christ-like” behavior on both sides. I know conservative Christians and liberal Christians and am inclined to think that Christ would not identify as a Republican or a Democrat. After all, He was pretty harsh on the political factions of his time, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
I don’t identify with a political party so I am registered as an independent. When an old friend of my dad’s asked me if I was a Republican or a Democrat and I told him I was an independent, he said “Oh, so you just can’t make up your mind.”
Not exactly. I just don’t identify enough with either party. I have voted both Republican and Democrat in my short lifetime and would consider myself politically moderate. I love what this evangelical pastor has to say about why he is a registered independent, particularly the following statement:
I’m all for political activism among Christians as long as we keep it in perspective in light of our higher priorities of clarity, unity, and purity. While the occupant of the White House will make some very important decisions in the next four years that will impact our lives and futures, he won’t command our destiny.
We should pray for our next president and vote according to our conscience. But we must give our full allegiance and highest energies to our King Jesus. And he said once, “My kingdom is not of this world.” For me, being a registered independent voter helps me remember this.
My point in this post is not to tell you to register as an independent. I know there are people who are very clear on what they believe and have chosen to identify with a party that represents those beliefs.
I just feel it’s important to state that a Christian is a follower of Christ, and not a conservative or a liberal. Our political affiliation is not part of our identity in Christ:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:25-27
Jesus didn’t say this at a campaign rally. He didn’t tell the apostles to run for public office. He didn’t advocate for a candidate who He felt embodied the gospel. In fact, Jesus didn’t get involved in politics at all. He got involved in people.
I’m praying this election season that we would remember what it means to be a Christian and not let our political differences divide us. When divided, we leave room for the enemy by perpetuating hateful stereotypes and losing sight of our unified vision in Christ. “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:25).
Even more importantly, let’s not create stumbling blocks for others to get to know Jesus by dragging His name through vitriolic politics. After all, it’s through relationships that people come to know Jesus – not legislation.