Politics and religion touch on our most basic and core beliefs. They tend to strike a nerve. They tend to lead to arguments.
Yet, here I am diving headfirst into the quicksand.
The question I pose is seemingly simple: Is God a Republican? I think many conservative Christians in this country would at least tacitly say yes. The Republican Party tends to be more morally conservative than the Democratic Party. For example, Republicans, for the most part, oppose abortion, while most Democrats support a woman’s right to choose.
As a Christian, abortion is a no-brainer. Human life begins at conception. God commands, “You shall not murder.” As Christians we should voice and vote our opposition. Abortion is murder.
So if you’re a Christian then, you should vote Republican, right? God is against abortion; therefore God is a Republican.
Not so fast. First of all, not all Republicans are against abortion (just as not all Democrats support it). Every candidate is unique. Even more importantly, though, abortion is not the only issue in an election.
Republicans tend to be socially and economically conservative. Democrats tend to be socially and economically liberal.
Republicans favor small government. They don’t want government getting more involved in their lives any more than absolutely necessary. Democrats believe government should be big and involved, an instrument of social change for good.
How big and involved does God want the government to be? What does the Bible say about it? Not much. Christians can honestly disagree on such issues.
Or consider gun control. Some conservative Christians seem to place it together with abortion and gay marriage as issues which are faith-based. Yet where does the Bible say that a person has the right to own a firearm?
The truth is, both Republicans and Democrats want to protect the clerk at the 7-Eleven from the crazy guy with the gun. They just disagree about which is the best way to protect him. Should we make it more difficult for the crazy guy to buy the gun or simply arm the clerk? Faithful Christians can honestly and lovingly disagree about which is better.
So, how should a Christian vote? Obviously faith-based issues should weigh heavily on a Christian’s vote, just as a politician’s stance on such issues can serve as a sort of moral litmus test. On the other hand, factors such as competency, expertise and political philosophy also need to be considered.
In the end, we should also consider the scope of the elected office. A mayor has little effect on the abortion issue, so how much should his or her position on abortion play into your decision?
As Christians, God has called us to let the light of our faith shine for the world to see. He calls us to support, pray for and obey the government. We should vote. We should vote our Christian conscience.
But be careful of those who try to paint one political party as the “Christian party.” Politics and elections are complex. Consider each candidate. Look closely at their stance on moral and faith-based issues. Carefully weigh all the other factors.
Then joyfully exercise your Christian freedom and vote.