Tuesday, March 01, 2016

On Christianity and Politics

Let's not be monsters!
I said on Facebook a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to post about politics anymore.  I just made a plea for people to look beyond the sound bites and actually research where each candidate stood on the issues.  And it's okay if you don't agree with me on the issues.  We don't have to agree, but we can still respect each other as people, and even be friends!  As long as you can respect me and my opinions as well.

But this election is different than any other I've ever seen.  And yes, it has to do with that one front runner candidate who I won't mention by name.  Whatever his stance on the issues, he's making a mockery of our country and our political system.  Perhaps it was already a mockery and he's just bringing it to light.  But he's not basing anything he does on respect for other people and I have a big problem with that.

See, because I'm a Christian.  I believe that every person has a right to dignity and human worth simply because they were born.  And when you start denigrating someone just because they are other than you, you fail to see their basic humanity.  You have lost the right to be called a leader.  Yes, you have become a bully.

So I did post something rather controversial on Facebook this weekend.  People disagreed with me.  And they did so politely.  And part of what was shared I didn't even agree with because it was calling someone names.  I shared it to make a point, but I do wish there was a way to have left out the name calling part.  The subject hit a nerve with me and I didn't think too carefully about how it was shared.

But after I shared it, I took a nap.  And I started thinking about some of the loved ones I've lost recently.  And I started thinking about how some of them I know I will see again, because they are Christians, and others I'm not sure about.  I hope that they decided to follow Jesus, but I don't know.  And I'm not here to say that I know about anyone other than myself for certain.  But it occurred to me, that even more than how I care about politics (which some days isn't very much) I really do care about people.  Which is more and more related to my politics.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  James 2:15-16 (but really, read the whole chapter
I care if people know Jesus, and I care if we are showing them Jesus' love here on earth so they might know him.  So that their lives might be made a little bit easier, a little bit brighter, by his love shining through me.  My Jesus didn't really make a whole lot of rules, he just said "love people".  He calls us as individuals to repent and be saved, but towards our fellow man he commands love. Even toward those who hate you.  That's a pretty tall order, but it includes a lot of people that "we" love to hate on, especially with our politics and policies.

So maybe you can see how my Jesus and my politics get a little bit mixed up.  When politics is telling me to hate, and be mean, and denigrate others, then I can't get on board with that.  And I don't want that for a leader of our country.

We can disagree on policies and how best to govern our nation, I'm okay with that.  But what I hope is that we can stop looking at people who don't agree with us, making them other, and then hating them.  Look what it's gotten us. 

You might wonder why I'm even bothering to write this if I said I wasn't going to post about politics anymore.  But sometimes there are thoughts in my head that need to come out and they don't come out in words, they come out on paper.  And sometimes when they come out they look a little differently than they did in my head, and that's okay too.  But really this is my stream of consciousness.  I hope it makes some sense and that maybe we can have a respectful conversation about it.

One resource I have found highly useful is the website I Side With. It asks you questions about where you stand on the issues and then lines you up with the candidate you seem to match best (which seems like a fairly unbiased way to go about it actually). It's then helpful to read through the differences and see if you could really live with those. It also gives you a progression of how you match up with all the candidates.  It takes awhile, but I highly recommend it.

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