I received a “voting guide” that claimed the election, the choice between President Bush and Senator Kerry, is a Christian war between good and evil. Among the many reasons I think this is damaging to the Christian church and cause, here is one:
Christians have allowed the Republican party to successfully capitalize on and co-opt the church as a voting block. We are made to believe this is serving our country and God and children’s future well. I’m not sure this is true but I’m certain that these ideas serve the Republican party well.
A friend of mine asked me, “Would you consider voting for John Kerry?”
“Consider–in a democracy–is the key word, isn’t it?” I replied. I’ve had various political conversations with both Republicans and Democrats. Democrats don’t believe Bush is fit to lead. Republicans don’t believe Kerry is fit to lead. As often is the case, for many it’s one of those “voting against” someone or their party campaigns. I don’t want my choice of a particular party nominee to be a foregone conclusion without “considering” and weighing the options.
One friend is voting purely on economics and feels Republican economics make more sense. Lower taxes appropriately, increase GDP, bottom line is you actually collect more taxes. Another Christian I know is voting Kerry. She doesn’t believe Bush has discernment to lead the country. Some are held up from voting Democrat because of moral issues, believing overall the Republican party “more moral” than Democrats.
Whose set of morals are the benchmark for this?
On the one hand, Republicans advocate “family values” and say Democrats don’t. Democrats scoff and say they are for the poor, also a “biblical value” and middle class families in every way. Democrats generally don’t support harsh forms of punishment such as capital punishment and advocate social programs to stave off these criminal problems before they happen. Republicans advocate pro-life related to abortion, and many Christians are convinced any vote otherwise is a sin. I’ll have to scan and print sometime in my blog the photo I took during the 1992 election of a couple at a Democratic rally for Clinton who were walking around with a poster, “A vote for Clinton is a sin against God.”
I don’t agree with the sign or the notion that a vote for a particular candidate is a sin against God. This oversimplifies the issues and demonizes those who have thoughtfully differed with the prevailing version of Christianity that would align itself with a political party. While everyone must vote their consciences, we ought to be aware of the possibility that politics might have more influence on us than we on politics. I want Christians to turn that around. To be a Christian in the first place is a political act: we are proclaiming that our allegiance is not to the state but to the kingdom of God.
Is the presidential election another war of good and evil, a battle for Christianity, as the voting guide suggests? What do you think?