I suspect that many of my blog’s followers may take issue with today’s post as it addresses what has become a hot button or sensitive area for some. I apologize in advance if it is not as well received as my usual post, but I do not apologize for my observations and subsequent response. It is something that continues to leave a black mark on our faith and we are all guilty to some extent from parishioner to clergy.
With each passing election I am finding that I am becoming more and more apolitical. For any who have known me long that may come as a bit of a shock. I was once a grand-stander for all things conservative and a graduate of the Rush Limbaugh school of The Way Things Ought To Be. I, like many others truly believed that political activism was a Christian duty and obligation to the point of casting shadows on those who refused to vote. I believed that “true” Christians could only vote one way, and if they didn’t, their faith should be scrutinized. I could not have been more wrong.
Social media seems to have given many people a voice and platform, and a select few would have you think they have a Master’s Degree in Political Science. Seems everyone is an expert with a false sense of boldness that comes from the safety and protection of sitting behind a computer screen. But what troubles me so deeply isn’t necessarily the blind allegiance believers have to a party or the unsubstantiated political memes they share on their timelines without any due diligence; it’s the level of disdain they so easily display with anyone who votes differently than they do. I’ve posted on it before, I’ve observed it repeatedly, and it only seems to be getting worse. There is a division in the church that goes right down political party lines. It is always the elephant in the room, even after an election is over and the results are tallied. It is shameful, hurtful and an embarrassment to the body of Christ that nothing stirs up more heated public exchanges than a good old-fashioned debate about politics.
And yet with each election a new level of boldness is displayed for the unchurched to behold. And this is perhaps what is most disheartening and so hard to swallow-there is a clear and distinct correlation between political party alliances and the racial division in our country in that the more politically divided we become, the more racially divided we become. There is wholly nothing Christian about our response and approach to politics, and I am calling out our Christian leaders above all. Through my social media connections I am privy to many clergy timelines and their postings. Both sides are equal contributors to the walls of partisanship we see today, left and right, black and white. I see white leaders using hurtful labels to describe those who vote differently, and even a few supporting or at least tolerating the notion of supremacy or nationalism through their implications or silence. I see black leaders who allow heavily biased responses on their threads against anyone or anything white. I even saw just this week that one of my famous black leader friends suggested that blacks should be preparing for a civil war. What was once at least closely held and private biases have now become bold fodder for the world to witness as we cast stones back and forth over walls we created that have become increasingly higher and thicker. I hate what politics has become and what it has made us.
And since I am on a roll I’ll take it all the way. Shame on you on both sides of the aisle who have the balls to suggest that God is in your political camp! Trump was elected because he was God’s choice; the Dems took back the house because God was displeased so he turned the tables-PLEASE STOP! How little of us to humanize God to the degree of assigning God the label of Republican or Democrat! The true glory of God, which no human could ever fully be exposed to, is not nor will ever be subjected to partisanship among his children. My God is not red or blue. If your god is, you need to step back and reexamine your god. The visceral, the labels, the allegations we throw back and forth over politics is man-made, not God ordained. Any Christian leader who uses God to implore parishioners to vote a certain way, or uses God as some holy endorser of the current administration, is guilty of blasphemy in my opinion.
Last week Jewish worshippers were gunned down in their own temple by someone filled with hate. Just this week 12 very young people lost their lives at the hand of someone equally hateful and bitter. This week in Las Vegas three youths beat down a 78 year-old man just to take his car. Everyday in America people are gunned down because of the evil of out-of-control hatred, and we who are “mature” have the gall to ask what has become of today’s youth, while at the same time holding in our hands a stone to throw at the next person who differs from us. We have become hypocrites by using God to invoke hate and division in a partisan system we created that has nothing to do with God or anything he would deem holy. Our enemy and the enemies of God are on vacation because we are fulfilling their agendas without them, and any allegiance I had to any party has been squashed by my refusal to be party to a system of division that is anything but civil.
My God is on both sides of any border wall; my God reigns over both halls of congress; my God has mercy on both the innocent lives snuffed out before birth and those sitting in prison for murder; my God is not defined by race or nationalism; my God has compassion on all, even those who refuse to believe in his existence. Christianity is guilty of humanizing God and decreasing him to fit neatly into boxes we store at our convenience. The humanity of God has been greatly perverted while his omnipotence has been diminished to fit our molds of what we think he should be. And this is never more evident than in Christian political circles. God is every color-he is every race- he is neither party-he doesn’t sow discord but promotes harmony, not fear or hate but love and acceptance. He hurts over the senseless loss of life, over the racially charged environment we created, over the walls of separation in his church over who should be our civil governors as if they wield somehow more power and authority than our true supreme and eternal leader who can never be voted in or out of office. Once I understood that through ten presidencies and administrations going back to Kennedy God always took care of me, that my life didn’t change because of which side held control of the House or Senate, that Christ died for both sides and all those in countries who don’t know the privilege of electing their own representation, I dropped my colors and my allegiances. Yes, I still maintain certain convictions, but I take it as a personal challenge to do what I can in my circle without holding disdain for those who feel and vote differently.
Scripture compels us to reason together. Scripture tells us a house divided will not stand. Scripture tells us to test all teaching, views, opinions, against his Word. Scripture tells us to love and pray for those who hate us. Scripture warns us of the penalties for sowing discord among believers. Scripture tells us as believers our true and eternal citizenship is not of this world or its systems. I am by nature a man full of issues and by no means perfect, even in my faith. But I see well enough to recognize the role I played for so many years in contributing to the numerous walls that divide us. In as much as it’s in my power to do so, I prefer to spend what little influence I have in promoting healing and unity. If that requires being apolitical for the sake of harmony, I’m all in.
Joe, I agree that God doesn’t belong to any political affiliation, but giving us free will, we have the obligation to decide what political party best represents religious freedom and which party’s ideology separates us from God.
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