In lieu of the developing presidential primary (Iowa and New Hampshire are in the books and South Carolina and Nevada are slated for the 20th and 23rd of February) I thought it timely to weigh in on the importance of the person of Jesus in our political decision making and view formation. We’ve heard it said that candidate X courts “evangelicals” or candidate Y polls favorably with “baptists,” but WE should be of one mind and one accord as Christians this election, with the ability to singly (as the body of Christ) influence turnout and results. Our goal should be to find and vote for the candidate who most reflects Christ through his/her record, views, and plans for the country. This, of course, has nothing to do with party affiliation but rather character; that’s right, I plan to cast my vote this November on account of character.
A pet peeve of mine
It’s really easy to make comments like “Jesus is neither a Republican or a Democrat.” Of course. That’s obvious, and it’s far from profound. Further, in my experience not many people are even saying He is one or the other. These types of statements are generally issued by divisive columnists, ambitious pastors, and social media agitators. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe it to be true, in essence, but I think there is a problem that can follow this type of thinking. It can become an excuse to remove Jesus from the decision making and ethics of politics and label Him, at least subconsciously, a centrist. This mentality espouses that He’s neither here nor there on political ideology because He’s is in the middle, lacking conviction in the arena of politics. This narrative isn’t true for Jesus and it isn’t true for the Christians in politics and the Christian voters looking to represent Him. Jesus doesn’t side with a party, faction or group, but that doesn’t change the fact THE truth is possible with every vote, law, policy, or social issue. With Jesus disabled from political discourse (you may be crazy if you believe He is a “moderate” after reading the gospels) we can’t really expect its transformation or renewal -and I think we all can agree that renewal needs to take place.
No one was more socially confrontational than Jesus
If you think Jesus is more concerned with political policy than society, please reconsider. Very little of Jesus’ time was spent ‘nickel and diming’ with policies and formalities but very much of his time was used to challenge and correct societal ills. There is a place for process and policy, but for the Christian voter shouldn’t principle outweigh policy? The issues where we need Jesus the most are many times considered fringe or unimportant – they’re societal things that affect life, liberty and relationships, and protect the unobstructed pursuit of not just happiness, but joy by way of the Spirit of God, not the power of government. These things, in my view, supersede the meddling in the affairs of other sovereign nations, regulation of private business and corporations, and costly plans for alternative energy. A nation cannot hope to be in good standing with God unless the spiritual health of the people are addressed – not through force or intrusion but through a focus on maintaining liberty and protecting biblical truth. It would be a mistake this election to have the view that God has no place or interest in American politics. He does indeed and He is not apathetic. He desires to reign and impress upon his people in all spheres of society, even politics – but ushering in His presence, at least in a practical sense, starts for us in the polling booth.
A Limited Government and an Active Church
In my opinion, a limited role of government and a much more active role of the church is the formula for societal prosperity. I think it’s the most natural and effective means for governing out there. I’d even argue that Genesis chapter 1 backs this up too. Understanding this ideal, I believe, starts with understanding the difference between rights and privileges, especially from a political standpoint. Is it my right to have health insurance? I don’t believe that it is; I believe it’s a privilege, with which I’m grateful. A society that is not just conscious of their “rights” but obsessed with them is a society that’s greatly entitled. Entitled people are proud people and proud people are in desperate need of a change, since there’s no reason under the sun to feel like you’re owed something – and you won’t find a biblical example of entitlement cast in a positive light. This is perhaps a product of an inactive church and a hyper-active government, and I believe that the roles have to swap for us to really flourish again as a country, and our votes are precious commodities to bring this to pass.
I’ll cast my vote this April and then again this November for the person who I believe plans to honor God with each position, plan or political posture the best, whether that’s a Republican, democrat, independent, libertarian, or write-in.
Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel firstname.lastname@example.org