Sunday, October 12, 2008

Christians and politics

I always forget how ugly election years can get. Now I remember why every four years I get a really bad headache.

I have a friend who hasn't spoken to me about politics for years, because she knows I voted for George Bush in the last election. When he got re-elected she told me she didn't know how she was going to make it for the next four years.

I remember thinking how strange it was that a woman with a husband and three kids would look at the next four years as some kind of trial she has to endure because of who was in control of the White House.

Then another election year comes and it looks like "my candidate" seriously might lose and for a few weeks I have thought the same thoughts. How am I going to handle having Barack Obama as president for four --- or possibly more --- years?

This post is my attempt to slap some sense into myself.

You can really drive yourself crazy listening to all this political talk. I would classify myself as a Republican and, like a good little Republican, I get the majority of my national news from Fox News. But I also like to see what others are saying. (Yeah, yeah, I know Fox is "fair and balanced" but who are we kidding?) I'll watch some news from CNN and have even watched Bill Maher. I guess it's really Bill Maher that triggered many of the ideas that will come out in this post.

Boy, he seriously doesn't like Christians. I think it was on his show that I first heard someone say (and I'm sorry I can't be more specific about the source) that Jesus was a community organizer, in reference I'm sure to Obama's service as a community organizer.

I was offended about it for a few minutes and then it made me sad. Anyone who knows the Bible knows that Jesus was not a community organizer, as I understand the meaning of the phrase. His sole purpose was to glorify God and He had no interest in politics. Remember that the disciples were disappointed because they expected the Messiah to restore the Jews to power on earth. They didn't understand His purpose.

With all of this election craziness, I wonder if some of us Christians are kind of missing the point too.

Listening to Bill Maher was kind of an education to me. I think it's good to hear someone say horrible things about your beliefs because it can really help you think more clearly and act more purposefully in your beliefs.

As I said before, after hearing Bill Maher rail against Christians, I was more sad than angry because I saw the big picture, which is Bill Maher doesn't know Christ. I think that's what we forget sometimes. These people, who we only see as political opponents, are lost in the worst possible sense of the word. And what are we doing to bring them the message of the Gospel by waving our Bibles at them like maniacs and shoving Sarah Palin down their throats?

**I know it sounds like I'm saying only non-Christians would vote for Obama. I don't believe that. My friend, who I talked about at the beginning of the post, is both a Christian and a Democrat. The phrase "these people" is specifically referring to people who don't like Christians and see conservative Christians as controlling the Republican party. If I was less clumsy as a writer, I could word that better.**

A couple of years ago, the leaders of the church we used to go to urged us to boycott Wal-mart. It was a pretty extensive campaign. I remember getting the email from the Christian political action group. I thought it was strange and I honestly couldn't figure out the reasoning behind it, no matter how many times I read the email.

My husband and I participated in it for a while, but we had two dogs and a cat at the time and, frankly, pet food and cat litter is so much cheaper at Wal-mart. So, we went back to Wal-mart and I think most Christians followed shortly after. I don't think the "boycott" had an effect at all on the low price super giant.

I wonder what effect it had on homosexuals. I wonder if they think that Christians hate them so much they don't want them to have access to low prices. And I wonder if, as Christians, that is the kind of message we want going out to people who don't know Christ.

(I'm also reminded of a youth minister I spoke to once about a Christian bookstore I like to go to. He told me that newly opened bookstore wouldn't stay in business long because they were open on Sundays and Christians wouldn't shop at a Christian book store that was open on Sundays. This gave me pause because we had this conversation in a crowded restaurant after Sunday morning service.)

Frankly, I'm afraid that a lot of this stuff makes us look stupid. It also makes us look like we don't read the Bible. Either way our witness to unbelievers is shot.

Bill Maher said another thing that I can't stop thinking about. He mentioned that you can't get elected as president in this country without claiming to be a Christian.

I don't want my president to fake salvation, because salvation is something that non-Christians need. If they believe that fake Christianity can win them my vote, they might believe that faking it can also get them to heaven.

Honestly, I don't know exactly where I am going with this post. I am thankful that I can vote in the election, and I'll use the vote as best I can. I don't, however, think that Christ was real concerned about personal liberties. When you read about Paul, and all the other persecuted Christians in the New Testament, you never hear him talk to anybody about his right to speak publicly about Christ. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember him saying "You can't lock me up! I have a right to speak my beliefs!" He took those opportunities to speak about Christ, not to rail for his personal freedom.

So ends my ramblings on an early Sunday morning.


A. said...

This election is especially hard, I think, because of the economy. My husband is an engineer, democrats pay for roads and bridges. We need him to have work.

Yet, we can't, simply can't, vote for Obama. He's against so many things that we believe in.

And it makes me sad.

There's a song that says something like people would find Christ if Christians would get out of the way. When I look around I can see exactly what they mean some days.

Tammy W said...

I too a quite apprehensive about all of this. My DS11 one night told DS9 if O gets elected he's going to kill all the Christians. I have NO IDEA where on earth he got that idea into his head!! My poor DS9 was in tears! Anyhow I corrected that...saying that won't happen...uh, surely not.

Even the kids are nervous about this stuff and I don't speak of politics in front of them.