And to top it all off
Going back to last weekend, I decided to edit one of my emails to some friends and post it so my own thoughts can be more thoroughly explained. It's long. It's hairy and wordy in some cases, but if you really feel like reading what I think about this whole topic, this is about as good as I have time for.
Every time I meet a new Christian friend, I am scared to death of talking politics with him/her. I am ever fearful of running into one of two possibilities:1) They are "God is not a Republican" Christians. I am thoroughly incensed every time I read or hear something like that, because I know it is usually just an excuse for ignoring worldview so you can support the candidate you "feel" like supporting. It is Kerry supporters and the so-called "undecided" who chant this.
Seriously though, there is a fundamental problem with this line of reasoning that people ignore. Most who say the line in question don't know what it means to be a Republican. In some ways, I don't even know what it means to be a Republican! I don't because it changes slightly from year to year and no candidate reflects it completely--AND, most importantly, I am not quite finished reading this year's Republican Platform! Do you know anyone who has read any of the party platforms? The line in question is completely dishonest in sounding like it is unbiased. If you try to get at what could be the honest implications though, all you are able to discern is just that God hasn't joined any political party. How interesting. Now tell me something I don't know. The only implication other than what we see at face value is that Republicans are somehow guilty of honoring God in their basic values (and platforms) and therefore...oops, maybe they got the impression that God would be more inclined to bless them... Yes, I think that line should be amended to "God is not a Republican--he's a relativist."
2) They are conservative Christians who will not vote unless Jesus or maybe Billy Graham (or RC Sproul if you are reformed) is on the ballot. I am equally incensed by this kind of thought. The biggest issue I have with it is that many Reformed people subscribe to some form of it. There are many ways I can respond to these ideas. One is the argument that we are not trying to win converts with the ill-named "bully pulpit." I've already gone on at length about my views on "religion in politics" and the Church's role (most have probably forgotten what I said, like me), but even more than this whole issue, I think these people should understand just how important it is to come down from their high-horse and actually take a stand for a party which does professes the moral principles we profess. I have seen some pretty scathing remarks...like people saying that any Christian who votes for Bush is either ignorant or not a Christian. IMHO that is akin to saying that anyone who doesn't write-in "Jesus Christ" on their ballot is either ignorant or not a Christian. I seriously believe that we risk failing in our duty to keep the "second" commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves if we fail to do what we can to influence policy, or vote, or what-have-you. By this, I simply mean that by voting and/or influencing policy, we are very physically looking out for our neighbor.
And now, in summary, this is to show you why I am so fearful of talking about these issues with believers I do not know well: If they think one way, I do not want to be contentious and find cause for interrupting our fellowship. I think I am wrong to be dishonest about my true beliefs and convictions, but on the other hand, I do not want to cause a stumbling block in the life of a brother or sister in Christ.
It's stunning, if you ask me, to see Christians actively campaigning to get other Christians to not vote for George W. Bush. It's so easy to see that the man is no hypocrite about what he believes. If he happens to differ about some things--oh, well, I guess we will have to deal with it while we enjoy the fact that there is no funding going to overseas abortion clinics since he took office....