Recently I was messaged by a childhood friend who is a passionate, smart, well informed political liberal. She reached out to me about who Evangelical Christians listen to on political topics. She had come across a media bit with a headline stating that Michelle Bachman thought President Trump was the most Biblical president in our lifetime.
My initial reaction was,
“Who is Michelle Bachman and why would anyone, Christian or otherwise give her words any weight?”
But I held off on that comment because a broader thought began running through my head and I needed to think it through before I engaged further.
I did not vote for this President, I was very vocal about the Christian community embracing him as worthy of the office and I consistently made my opinions known. To call him Biblical is something I would never do. It’s a title I reserve for people who actually try to live a Biblical lifestyle and while I don’t believe this president is downright evil (as many in both parties feel), I can’t call him Biblical.
For the record, no president is as bad or good as labeled. All are imperfect and it does us no good to pretend otherwise. Our current officeholder is neither the anti-christ nor savior. He probably won’t even go down in history as the worst president E-ver. When history weighs in on his tenure I’m sure there will be a lot of groaning but I think he will likely be a cartoonish figure with average (I say this trepidatiously) long term effect. For those on the left who feel the country’s “norms are being eroded” (a term my friend used in our thread), we on the right would tell you that it began 30 years ago under the Clinton presidency, and we felt an even more enormous erosion under President Obama.
Perspective is everything, so join the club
After reading the article, what Ms Bachman was poorly referring to were the president’s policies about Israel and his actions in office, some of which she considered Biblical. It softened the headline for me a bit, again affirming my opinion of media outlets, both right and left, and their for profit motivations in inciting readers.
Once the election was over, I shut up. My thought? This is an age old argument between right and left politics and it will never be resolved. Each side is passionate about why they vote the way they do, they have key issue reasons for their votes and will not be persuaded to change their stand on any of those issues. Anymore conversation in my opinion is a waste of time and energy and only causes further animosity and division.
We need less of that not more
But what began to bother me was this unending vilification of Evangelical voters. It was in part, my friend’s reason for reaching out. I began to feel insulted and I said as much. Her justification was that she knew I wasn’t one of those “kinds” of Evangelical voters, that’s why she reached out to me.
Ever feel like a unicorn in a stable of workhorses? I do, often. Whether or not I like it, I’m considered an Evangelical voter. I attend a noisy Pentecostal church with a multi cultural, racial and generational congregation. If you polled our members our votes are probably all across the spectrum.
Our pastor rarely talks about politics from the pulpit because he is Kingdom focused. His misson is to lead his church into the service of the King – nothing else. In his teaching we have a higher authority to answer to than government. He reminds us that no one is ever entirely elected by people. God is the one who places “kings” in power. In other words, men vote and God decides. Our mandate is to pray for them.
Often a tough pill to swallow
Evangelical Christianity has been a bedrock of compassion to the hurting world since Jesus died and rose again. Historically, the cross has been at the forefront of hospitals, schools and institutes that met the needs of the poor and needy. It welcomed the stranger, promoted the idea that all work done honestly was valuable, it cared for the orphans and widows and it protected the innocent.
You can cite abuse, and there are many; discrimination, slavery, sexual–pick your favorite worst. Many are certainly being exposed to the world today-and about time! But the impact of Christianity, when weighed against the absence of it, has been for mankind’s overall good.
So why this fear about us as a voting bloc? Why are we so maligned among those who disagree with us? Why are we, in a sense, persecuted for our political stands? Why Evangelical Christianity and not Islam or Judaism?
I can only guess at the answers
For what it’s worth, I view my voting privilege as answerable to God. I vote on what I believe is the overall good for the nation based on Biblical doctrine, not based on what the majority wants. I will always be in conflict with a majority that votes contrary to Biblical perspectives on particular issues. I know that I must answer for my votes before a Holy God. My politics, as a Christian have eternal consequences.
So I’ll go on record with these key positions,
When it comes to infanticide, I vote no
When it comes to marriage defined any way shape or form, I vote no
When it comes to non-binary lifestyles imposed on innocence, I vote no
When it comes to immigration I welcome the stranger and the persecuted with open arms
(I truly believe that anti-immigration politics are aimed at angry tax payers not Evangelical Christians)
If this makes me “hateful”, “compassionless”, a “hypocrite” or “ignorant” so be it.
I have many people in my life who live outside Biblical norms. I refrain from preaching to them about why I think they should live differently. It’s not my job. My only job as a believer is to care about them as I would myself, live a lifestyle that is blameless and pray for them to come into a relationship with God through his son Jesus. If asked, I share my beliefs on anything they want to know but always with the caveat that as humans they are valued. I understand that my freedom ends where the other person’s begins. (thank you Mr Hunt).
But when it comes to voting, my mission is different. I vote as closely as I can to what will please my Holy God.
I think in this matter I can speak collectively for most Evangelicals. To the best of our ability we try to live according to Biblical standards. Ones that have endured through 2,000 years of interpretation, not ones that are reinvented for the current culture. We’re certainly not perfect, we definitely get it wrong-a lot of the time! But God in his kind and patient way corrects even our misguided attempts, and leads us more completely to ways of living and voting that reflect his heart for humanity.
I am definitely not the same voter I was 30 years ago! But my core issues have never changed and because of my understanding of Biblical teaching, they probably never will.