More politics? Yup, it’s a follow up to my first political post I thought I’d never write.
That post ended like this:
“More importantly, if I desire to be a responsible Christian citizen who cares about my neighbor, I had better fill out a ballot.”
I desire those things–to be a responsible citizen who uses my privilege to vote wisely, as well as a Christian who strives to care very much about the people around me.
Considering this, it’s not an illogical jump to conclude that my Christianity will influence how I vote; indeed, it will.
Lately I’ve been considering this: How would I feel if someone else, who believed drastically different things than I do, voted a particular way only because of their religious beliefs?
I probably wouldn’t like it much at all; I’d probably argue that by voting based purely on their religious beliefs, they are forcing their beliefs on others, at least in some loose sense.
Yet truthfully, that is what I will be doing. My beliefs are too ingrained in me to attempt to examine how I might look at the political situation if I believed something different. Although the United States claims separation of church and state on a national level, I don’t think it can be that way on a personal level. My Christianity isn’t a piece of me I can slice off, set to the side, and reattach at will.
More importantly, though I cannot find any specific verse in the Bible telling me I am required to vote, and most definitely not one that tells me who and what I should vote for in this election, there are countless passages reminding me that everything I do matters to God.
I believe God cares about politics. I believe he cares about being a knowledgeable voter. James Smith, philosopher and author of Desiring the Kingdom, writes:
“What God wants is Christians partnering to make every sphere of the creation look more and more like the Kingdom, and that includes government…So a robust Christian life is not apolitical.”
I haven’t worked out exactly what this will look like on my ballot yet. The political system in the U.S. very evidently bears effects of a sinful world, both in the way that it operates, with mudslinging seeming to be a prominent campaign strategy, and in the way that it’s set up–with two very distinct parties that have very different views on some of the hot topics. There doesn’t seem to be a way to completely “win” with my vote; yet not voting at all doesn’t seem like the right option either.
If Jesus was around in flesh today, I’d just ask him who he was voting for and do the same.
Til next time…
P.S. (As before, I acknowledge my political knowledge is not what it could be, and these matters can be fairly controversial. Feel free to leave a thought in the comments.
The quote from James Smith also appears in this article at Relevant Magazine: “What’s the Point of Politics?”. It’s a more in-depth look at Christianity and politics–heads up, you may have to sign up for an account to read the full article.)