I realize that most of the questions I ask in this post are assumptive. My goal in writing this isn’t to point fingers, but to actually understand. In today’s climate where accusations are the first response, I’m trying to legitimately understand the viewpoints of my Christian Conservative friends. Full disclosure, I am a Christian and I also lean conservative. But the rhetoric and behavior of friends who I think of as sharing my worldview have confused me over the last 4 years.
So please, help me understand — I’m listening.
I used to be a Republican. I’m not anymore.
But that doesn’t mean I’m a Democrat either. Truth be told, I don’t know where I belong in today’s political landscape. I like to think I’m a moderate, but that stance is becoming less and less friendly as we become more and more polarized.
I remember growing up and being taught that the Republican party was “just who Christians vote for”. It didn’t matter who was running for office, there was just two simple rules:
Of course, the only explanation I got when I asked questions (which was, admittedly, hardly at all) was that Republicans adhered to Christian principles more than Democrats, and it made voting easier and more consistent.
If that’s all it was today then I would probably still vote. I’d probably even vote Republican.
But things aren’t like they were when I was growing up (adolescent ignorance aside). The political-religious landscape today makes me nauseous. Literally.
To sum up why, here’s 5 questions that are most pressing on me lately:
1. USA or God?
I love the USA as much as the next patriot (well, maybe not that much). I think the world is better off with the USA in it. I believe that I’m incredibly lucky to live in a country that lets me chart my own path (for the most part, and yes I understand that it’s usually conservative principles that allow me this freedom).
Let me say this as clearly as possible: I LOVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
But what I don’t understand, is how the Christian Conservatives so easily think of it as God’s main instrument for righteousness in the Earth?
I’ve looked at Scripture, studied it, and no where can I find a prophetic mention of a nation that matches the United States; other than perhaps Babylon? (quietly braces for a punch in the face)
All jokes aside, here’s my question: when did we confuse the USA for God? It’s as if the USA is our God and the Constitution our Bible. If it burns down, and another takes its place, is God defeated? Is good defeated?
2. Democrats Are Evil?
I understand that some of the policies that Democrats push for can be anti-Biblical (side-question: is freedom to sin a sin in itself?). But some of them are also good, like welcoming our neighbors (even if they are here illegally).
When I was young, I assumed that Republicans and Democrats worked together; that they had a common ground, even if they morally were at odds.
Maybe that wasn’t true then, but it certainly isn’t true now.
If we can somehow elect a Republican man of ill-character to sit in the White House, why do the rules change when it’s a Democrat? And while we may disagree on a handful of things, why does that make them evil (I’ve heard this term used over-and-over — it’s not even fringe anymore)?
3. Character Doesn’t Matter?
And speaking of ill-character, I have not been able to figure out how Christian Conservatives have navigated the moral swamp that is Mr. Trump. Character aside, I actually support and appreciate a lot of the things he’s done (for starters, signing major Middle-East peace deals that got no coverage).
But if our Pastors can’t sustain their post when they falter in character, how do we allow our President to maintain our support in the face of what can only be described as egregious verbal abuse toward his opponents?
Because of his policies?
I thought character mattered (Democrat and Republican alike — Bill Clinton was impeached, after-all, for moral failures). But somehow Mr. Trump gets a pass because we like his policies, all the while scolding the left for being intolerant and hateful.
Are righteous policies worth the defamation of the name of Jesus? If we get good behavior without the glorification of Jesus, what have we done?
4. What Are We Trying to Save?
Lastly, I am confused as to what we are trying to save, and why it is so important? Is it our way of life? Is it our freedoms? Is it our comfort and safety?
These are all good things to fight for, certainly. But they can’t be worth the war we are waging, can they? If Daniel can support a literal anti-Christ in Babylon, and still maintain his personal character and be a reflection of his God, why do we feel the need to combat a government to whom we are told to submit?
My question here is mainly: what are we trying to save that justifies supporting a single party at all costs, including a man like Trump?
And if we can ignore his faults because God uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines, what disqualifies Biden from that same blessing?
5. Who Am I?
My last question is this: who am I? In light of these questions, am I a Democrat, Republican, or something else? Am I forced to choose, amidst a cultural war where there can be no compromise, discussion, or common ground?
I have extremely liberal friends, and extremely conservative friends. And while I used to believe there was hope for reconciliation and coming-together, these last 4 years and the demonstrations of both sides have caused in me a restlessness I have not felt in quite some time.
It’s as if a civil war has broken out, not in flesh but in mind. A bitter marriage has formed upon which decades of pain and hate have created endless fuel for division. And I wonder, can we allow God to heal that divide?
Or will we simply make it worse in His name? Are we willing to tear a nation apart because of different values? If that’s the case, we may be at odds, because I don’t see any Biblical direction from our God to do so.