Let’s Talk Faith and Politics (p1)

How does your faith influence your politics?

Jesus didn’t shy away from politics and we shouldn’t either.  Rather, I believe, our faith in Christ should  guide our politics.

Yet, people deeply committed to Christ don’t all agree on politics.  Most Christians usually vote and choose their party based upon their faith.  We all don’t agree even though we are reading the same Bible and serving the same God.

This week I’m going to host a discussion on this blog on faith and politics.

My hope is that we will share our views humbly and with civility.  No attacks or rock throwing, rather let us be, “quick to listen and slow to anger.”  Let us elevate the discourse.  Ultimately, they will know we are Christians by our love not by our vote.  Amen.

Good and godly people choose to put different bumper stickers on our cars.  The problem is that is usually as far as the dialogue goes.

Are you a Democrat because you are a Christian?  Are you a Republican or Libertarian because of your faith?

Homework

Everyone is welcome to read and follow the discussion, but I’m asking that you do some homework before you post comments

Earlier this year, Relevant Magazine, did a series on faith and politics that will serve as a guide to our discussion.

Here are the links:

Why I am Christian and Libertarian

Why I am Christian and Republican

Why I am Christian and Democrat

Use these articles as food for thought and then let’s learn from each other.  This coming week we will have a day devoted to discussing each one of these viewpoints.

Ground rules:

  1. Share clearly how Jesus & the Bible lead you to your conclusions.  Let your comments flow from your faith–not republican vs. democrat; conservative vs. liberal talking points.
  2. Don’t say why you are not the other party.  That is, say what you are for, not what you are against.
  3. No attacks whatsoever upon other participants.
  4. Have fun! :-)

You ready for this?

56 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Faith and Politics (p1)

  1. Sadly, I think these articles do a poor job of addressing the subject. The Republican article speaks as if only Democrats believe in Big Government. Frankly, that isn’t true … our government spending has grown with both Democrat and Republican presidents in office. Likewise, the Democrat article speaks as if Republicans don’t believe in helping the poor. Again, this is in variance with the facts: our spending on the poor has increased through many programs throughout all administrations; we now spend a trillion dollars a year on the poor … that’s $2.7 billion dollars every day! Both political parties are responsible for that.

    Jesus straddles both American political parties and reaches beyond their borders. Jesus would never support the murder of convicted criminals (a largely Republican view) nor would he support the murder of innocent children still in their mother’s womb (a largely Democrat party view). Just imagine Jesus asking, “what is partial birth abortion?” and then having to explain it to him. He would cry and have the harshest words for parties or groups who supported such a terrible practice.

    Anyone who tries to use the Bible to justify why they are a Democrat or a Republican has to carefully pick and choose — emphasizing some Bible quotes and ignoring others. In so doing, they are taking the Lord’s words and twisting them to fit their own needs.

    The Bible is a good place to look for guidance on a specific, particular political topic. But as for helping a person align with one party or another … sorry … there isn’t a “Christian” political party in America. Neither one comes close.

  2. Ha ha – before I start let me say…you don’t have to click on the video. It’s not part of the blog. Oops.

    Honestly, I hate hate hate this time of year especially living in a swing state. It amazes me how adults can throw all manners aside when talking about politics. This week I had to have a chat w/ Kaleb regarding his demeanor when discussing the presidential nominees. His response “that’s what I heard on the commercials.” Not cool.

    Great links to those blogs. Really helped me to see a lot of other views from an intelligent, Christian, honest perspective.

    For me, my views were formulated in college. I worked at a crisis pregnancy center, and truly believed all politics began and ended with one issue. I had no really income or expenses to have to worry about. I still vote along those lines, but the Kathy I am today is much more gracious and understanding of other viewpoints. There is no “right” answer. I think a LOT of things would be solved if Christians really did tithe the way God intended us to. I know I’ve heard the alarming stats of how little believers actually tithe. Unbelieveable.

    • Kathy,
      I think a lot of people are with you when it comes to their distaste for this time of year.

      You are so right, “if Christians really did tithe the way God intended us to” then we could offer a more wholistic approach to many of the hot-button issues.

      rg

  3. Reading the three different positions in the RELEVANT series really opened my eyes and makes me wish (a little) that I could take back some of the comments I’ve made on social websites. I still believe I am in the appropriate party for the passions God has put on my heart, but I see more clearly what draws Christians to the parties they choose. The burdens on their hearts are different, but just as relevant as mine. I am looking forward to this discussion…a lot! Thanks, Pastor Robert.

  4. Question: where might these article links be? Do they exist?

    Why I am a Christian and an Independent
    (Which stems from the idea/bumper sticker that “God is not a Republican or Democrat” and that it is almost impossible to vote straight ticket and still vote for the best candidate in each race as judged by biblical standards. Rather, should we learn the individual positions of every candidate in every race, seek the Lord in prayer, and then vote for individuals not parties?)

    Or

    Why I am a Christian and choose not to vote
    (Perhaps the American Revolution was a violation of the Romans 13 instruction to “submit” to the ruling authorities, and it seems that democracy, while a great idea, is completely dysfunctional and broken in our country – a victim of greed and the lust for power. Paul was writing within the godless and wicked Roman Empire, an extreme dictatorship that killed all kinds of people. Yet he called Christians to submit, not throw a Tea Party in opposition to taxation without representation, take up arms and overthrow the government. Jesus did not protest the most unjust decision in all of human history, his death sentence at the hands of a violent and cruel “mini-dictator”, Pontius Pilate. Instead he submitted by taking up his cross. What if Christians chose to fast and pray on election day, and lead by serving the cause they feel the most passionate about? What if we made it a national day of prayer and service that every Christian observed? And we all trusted God to raise up the leaders that he chose, by surrendering our right to vote. Would that act of submission to our true Lord and King be the most “patriotic” thing we could do as citizens of heaven? What if we chose NOT to vote for the candidate that we felt was “most reflective” of our biblical values, but may only be the “lesser of two evils”? What if instead we voted for the purest form of submission we could demonstrate that day? What impact would such a “surrender and serve” day have on our nation? And if one might reject this idea because it would seem impossible to organize such a national effort, consider the impact of one man following the path of submission, Jesus Christ.)

    I just wanted to offer a few other ideas to ponder beyond the standard Republican, Democrat or Libertarian options presented above. Perhaps these are also worthy of biblical debate and civil discourse, even if the second one is “outside the box”? If we are to truly “live differently” as Christians, what does that look like in America on voting day?

    • I love your assertion to educate, pray and vote… in that order! I believe through prayer and submission to God we are in fact surrendering our will in the election process.

      Somebody in here said that voting outside the two-party system is throwing your vote away. Many feel the same. As long as we adhere to that belief we will never change the political landscape in a meaningful way.

      Proverbs 3:5-6. I try to live my life by it… personally, professionally and spiritually.

      • “Somebody in here said that voting outside the two-party system is throwing your vote away. Many feel the same. As long as we adhere to that belief we will never change the political landscape in a meaningful way.”

        My sentiment, exactly. I hate being pigeon-holed into a two-party system. On my ballot for president there were 16 candidates to choose from. That means there will be one winner, and 15 losers. Does everyone on the losing side feel like their vote was wasted, simply because their candidate did not win? The only way we can bring about change is by voicing our opinions to those running for office. 6 years ago I did not know what a “Libertarian” was….but now the party is on the cusp of being a viable 3rd party to contend with! I say vote your conscience….not your partyline.

        Oh, and I always vote “no” for all of the judges seeking re-election, unless they have a really cool name. Anyone else to this? Just curious.

    • Hello Mark,

      The articles are just meant to be food for thought.

      Feel free to find the articles that express the views you outline in your comment. They would be helpful for the discussion.

      Though, your comments say it rather well too!
      rg

  5. I registered Republican decades ago, when I was more prone to think in black/white terms. You have to register with a party to vote in any primary election. For a long time I’ve been very unhappy with the Republican party, for lots of reasons. The obstructionist stance of the present House is disgusting. It seems so unfair to me that they kept President Obama from making more economic progress and then critcize him for not curing the economic mess in four years.

    I have not changed parties, because there are several Democratic views that I cannot support, either.

    The libertarian article in Relevant magazine is especially thought evoking, but I have never voted for a minor party candidate in a presidential election because it would waste my vote. The person who wrote the pro-libertarian article highlights the fact that the government bears the social justice burden God assigns to the church. Deographics demonstrate that the Body of Christ population is the minority, however. The church cannot do it all. Furthermore Jesus gave us other assignments that we cannot fulfill in one big leap. Obedience to Christ is a process through which we grow, and our primary focus should be to make disciples. Social justice is a part of that effort, but not the main priority.

    Zechariah paints a word picture of the Kingdom of God on earth as it will be when Jesus comes back. Our present era is setting us up to recognize that only He can straighten out government. He is waiting until we get to a specific level of self-destruction. Then He’ll come back with His solutions. In the meantime, I don’t see the point of changing parties, when none of them have it right.

    • Hey Mary,
      Thanks for sharing your development of thought when it comes to politics. Zechariah does evoke the imagination and the yearning of our hearts.

      rg

  6. Ground rules 1 & 2 hamstring this discussion and make it harder for people reading these comments to honestly make up minds about who/what to vote for. As one of the articles from Relevant Magazine said, folks often vote more against something or somebody rather than for it.

    Second, it is nearly impossible to use the Bible to honestly find a path to party affiliation. Rather, most people use the Bible to justify their current political persuasions. As the first comment points out, there is no Christian party in the U.S. at this time. If there were, they wouldn’t stand a chance of electing a president anyway, as our society has gone too far toward secularism and politcal correctness. My gosh, look what they’ve done to Christmas!

    The best way to decide who to vote for is to ask some basic questions. First, what is the role (and hence the size) of the federal government. You have to go back to the founding of the nation and the Constitution for the answer. The individual states were concerned from the beginning that the federal government would become too big and too strong, and states would lose control and power

    That’s why they put in the 10th Amendment, listing the rights already given to the people by The Creator. The 10th also proclaims that rights of the federal government not specified in the Constitution were reserved for the states. All of the big programs put into place by the feds (social security, medicare, medicaid, general welfare, education, and now health care) are nice, but are in reality unconstitutional. And, as should be apparent, they are bankrupting the country and will destroy our economy. All one needs to do is to look at Europe and watch it slowing collapsing under its own weight.

    Fact is, the federal government should not be in the business of doing any of these things, even though they all are important and worthy ventures. All such programs should be run at the state and local levels. If that were the case, states would have more resources for such things because the massive federal bureaucracy would be eliminated and the cost savings would be enormous. Does it make sense to send 10 dollars of education money to Washington, and get back 6? Same with infrastructure. Plus, there would be far less fraud and corruption at the state and local levels, as the size of programs would be more manageable.

    It’s true there is no Christian party, but there is a party that is home to unrestricted abortion, homosexuality, secular humanism, policital correctness, and atheism. It’s hard to see where any of these ideas come from the Bible.

    • I disagree with the assertion that rules 1 and 2 discourage open conversation because I believe they are necessary to keep the conversation in the appropriate, and desired, realm. I do see your point and would concede it if this topic wasn’t meant to be a faith-based political conversation, specifically.

      I DO agree with you that following the Bible and a political party are impossible. If you vote FOR someone you have find the lesser of the evils to vote for. I also agree with your points about the federal and state governments. The Framers had a good thing going from the start – too bad we’ve fallen from those ideals.

      Separation of church and state was mentioned only to say that there will never be a “Church of America” or “Church of the United States.” State-sponsored churches would not be allowed in this country.

      The point of the 2nd Amendment is never discussed properly either. It’s there to empower the people – that a government that no longer fears the people no longer represents the people and will become corrupt and unjust and thusly must be challenged.

      We are no longer a God-fearing nation. Our political system demonstrates that point painfully.

  7. Matthew 22:15-21, Matthew 22:34-40, and Matthew 25:31-46 are my primary guides in the voting process. While I don’t think these verses are necessarily support for one specific party, they guide my decision making. I’m tired of the hate (on all sides) and I pray for peace after this election is decided.

  8. Since I was a young child, when I would fight with my siblings, I would be answered “Love one another as Jesus loves you”. My Christianity has led me to love all of my friends and family equally and that is how I am being led in this election. I am a Democrat because that party platform supports my beliefs – to love equally. Obama has made it clear that he plans to stand up for others in this regard. He signed the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act that will pave the way for women to paid as much as men- one day. He helped repeal “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”, which was a clear discrimination issue. The problem is that many Christians are voting for certain issues that I believe should be separate from the government, as our founding fathers intended for this country. The decisions that a woman makes with her body should private between her and God and I do not believe the government should have a say in it. I am a fan of Obama Care because I have been denied health care in the past due to pre-existing conditions. I also have family members who have special needs that are protected by this plan. Democrats also have a solid plan for the economic issues that we face, but the Republicans stand in the way. The problems that Obama has encountered with the Republicans in Congress is the biggest issue of all. He has tried to make so many changes for the better and has been blocked again and again. Most of all in this coming election, I pray for peace in Congress to make our country a better place.

  9. Well, I wrote a long answer – but somehow it got deleted :( The bottom line for me is that my Christianity leads me to believe that we should love one another equally. To me, Obama represents equality. His support of things like women health care and the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act represent his respect for women. The repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was also a step in the right direction for human rights. Although I am a Christian, I believe that the church and state need to be separate. Things like a decision of who you can love/marry and what a woman can do with her body are a personal decision between a person and God. Obama care protects a lot of people under the “pre-existing” condition clause. To me, it is clear that Obama/Biden are best for many reasons for all of us, not just some of us. Most of all, I pray that our President and Congress can come together and agree on some changes instead of a Congress who blocks the changes that are attempted.

    • Am I hearing you right? You think people are to make up their own minds about gay marriage and abortion? Invent your own morality? How do you support this from the Bible? Are you aware the Democrats removed all mention of God from the Party platform at their convention this year? When the media spilled the beans, they put back in a lame statement about “God-given talent” or some such thing, just to put the word “God” back in. The voice vote from the floor was overwhelmingly against that move, but the moderator rammed it though anyway. I wonder if you have seen the two full-page ads in the Denver Post recently by Billy Graham, urging people to vote for candidates with Biblical views regarding abortion and same-sex marriage. That’s good enough for me, and I can’t understand why all Christians don’t heed that advice. Hope you are not offended by my comments. That was not my intent.

      • Hey Ed,
        Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate your desire to hear and not to offend.

        Thanks,
        rg

  10. This long… but I couldn’t settle on a more condensed version; it’s just too charged a topic and Pastor Robert opened up the flood gates… and good on him for it!

    I started praying for God to elect the person He wanted, to do His will in this country. I don’t profess to know what that will is or how He makes it happen. Sometimes “no” is His answer. Did the guy I thought should be elected get elected – no. But that doesn’t mean that the current president isn’t the person God needed for His plan. Judas and Pontius are not generally considered heroes and are often criminalized in the Christian view but God put them in those positions to fulfill His purpose, and Jesus’ obedience to that purpose is the example by which we should model ourselves.

    So I look to the candidate that most reflects my spiritual beliefs and social views. I find that I more closely align myself with the original framers of the constitution 236 years ago. Christian men, in all their sin and best intentions, who dared to create a nation with a new system of personal self-destiny. I believe God blessed them in this endeavor and that we have slowly fallen away from that ideal.

    First and foremost, we should be following God’s laws over man’s laws, although we should still follow man’s laws, unless they’re in contradiction to God’s laws. Of course there are repercussions regardless.

    As to what I’m for, well, it’s hard to say I’m against abortion empirically. Do I think it’s murder? Yes. Do I think it should be outlawed? Yes. Do I think a law will solve the problem? No. Do I think it should be a political talking point? No. Society, in all it’s wickedness, is prone to sin and falling well-short of the glory of God. Passing a law will not fix the problem completely but rather make other problems which are just as vexing. Federal money going into Planned Parenthood or any other such organization is wrong. We as Christians should be responsible for taking care of those who are in need of such services without tax dollars. (Fewer taxes means more money to go to gifts beyond tithing.)

    Homosexuality is wrong. It is not something you’re born with. Nobody is made that way. It’s no more an alternative lifestyle than a habitual gambler or serial killer. It’s a deviant behavior that is not derived from God but by Satan. While GLBT participants are children of God, and thus worthy of love and respect, they are still wrong.

    Medicare, Medicaid and other such programs are bankrupting this country. We, as Christians, should be able to take care of our neighbors without ANY involvement by the government. They shouldn’t have any place in this area. Medicare was never intended to be carried along this far and bad management has put it in a pickle. Obama-care is more of the same. Yes, the medical system needs dramatic changes but socialized medicine, as it’s being pursued, is not the answer. Ask a Brit or a Canadian. You want socialized medicine? Let’s go back the Christian model 2000 years ago where the church body helped each other out. Let’s reign in the ridiculous over-pricing and billing practices within the industry. The Obama-care tax will be excessive because it doesn’t address the root causes of the medical crisis.

    And speaking finances, God calls on us to be good stewards of all He has blessed us with. I think it’s fair to say that the feds don’t do this well. Big government has bankrupted the country and everybody wants a handout from the government. We’ve become a nation of entitlement. We’re seeking our provision from the wrong source.

    Finally, I’m 2nd Amendment. As much as anything it’s because the government must fear the people to be a force for the people. Sadly people are more and more willing to give up their will to the government. I can go on for much longer on this but I will leave it at that. I believe it is necessary for this country to remain free and for my right to worship the one, true, living God in Heaven.

    That’s how I try to vote. Unless I vote for myself I never find a candidate I’m truly happy with. I pray and pick the best option available… which, like myself and all men, is still a candidate that falls short of the glory of God.

  11. I’m afraid that the yoke of Obamacare will bankrupt the middle class. I know looking at the figures my family is expected to pay in the next four years will drastically change our financial outlook.

    Obamacare asks everyone to pay for everyone who can’t pay. That is not the job of the government Socialized medicine. When government decides what is morally right or wrong, we have a problem. God dictates what is morally right or wrong. To fund tax-payer abortion is wrong. To ration healthcare based upon whether you are relevant is also wrong. Those are decisions for God to make. Not government. Our elderly and our disabled will be greatly affected. Government is trying to take the place of the church. We have let them. Without God’s covering over this, it will end up like most of government programs. It will be abused by those who know how to work the system and unavailable for those who really need it.

    I love people. I love all of God’s people. I love Democrats and Republicans and everyone else. I want this nation to be one nation under God once again.

    “Religion God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being poluted by the world.” James. 1:27

  12. I agree with Jeff (above). I cannot understand how “Christians” can continue to vote Democrat, when that political party continues to promote the banner of abortion and support this law? There is no other political topic more significant to me than this.

    We can have civil discussions about any number of political topics: taxes, welfare, big gov’t. vs. small, state vs. federal involvement, gun laws, gay marriage, marijuana laws, socialism, fascism, communism, birther conspiracies, etc. But NONE OF THESE discussions have any clear-cut right/wrong bearing when it comes to biblical principles. I have listened (and argued) and heard both sides on most of these topics. Cases can be presented for both sides.

    But how can anyone in the church completely ignore that ABORTION is murder, which is directly disobeying one of God’s 10 commandments. I’m not a legalist, in any way. I’m also not a Republican (I have to mention this, because anytime I start criticizing the Democrat party, I am immediately branded as a member of the “other party”. Especially since I am a white middle-class male. For those that care, I am a registered Libertarian, and have never voted for a Rep. nor a Dem. candidate for president….until this 2012 election.)

    My point is this: when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, He dictated: Thou Shall Not Murder. And yet, here in America, our government continues to protect a law that 100% completely allows for ANY woman to terminate her pregnancy at ANY TIME. I’m not even going to listen or engage with the “when is it a child” debate. No Christian, nor any parent should stoop this low to justify abortion.

    Pregnancy is a gift from God. And I am the product of an un-wanted pregnancy, so I am EXTREMELY grateful that my mother chose life vs. death for me.

    This is my question that has been burning me to no end: how can church members, those who attend church week after week, even those that preach from the pulpit, continue to vote for men and women, electing them into a political position, when these people belong to a political party and subscribe to values that are in a direct violation to one of God’s commandments?

    Do we just ignore this? Do we write it off as Old Testament law? Do we focus on the other issues and say that they are more important than abortion? One person in the church that I asked this question to answered it with, “Well, I just pray that they make the right decision when it comes to this issue.” But you already know how they align. We know that Obama is morally against abortion, but politically supports it. So he tells us that while he thinks it’s wrong….he feels that it should still be legal. How can we continue — as Christians — to support leaders that feel this way? I just can’t wrap my head around it. Is Medicare, and Social Security, and Welfare that much more important than legalized murder? Or is abortion not murder?

    I guess that’s the real question: does the U.S. abortion law violate Exodus 20:13? If it does, then why is the church not more enraged about this? If it doesn’t, then why do I even care? Why has this topic become a “gray” area?

    I am a Libertarian. And I don’t feel that I have ever wasted a vote, because by not belonging to the Republican or Democrat party, I am free to vote on the candidate that I feel will best represent me and my values. I don’t have to vote party line, particularly for a candidate that cannot support my personal values. And I have never, nor will I ever, cast my vote for a candidate that defends abortion.

  13. Okay, I posted my biggest issue above. New topic.

    There are currently two divisive political topics out there: gay marriage and abortion. The Dems are for both, and the Reps are against both. So if you feel that increasing taxes to solve our nation’s $$ woes is the answer, you have to vote Democrat — even if you are morally against abortion and gay marriage. OR — if you feel that our government has grown too large and is taxing us too much, you have to vote Republican, even if you are morally FOR abortion and gay marriage.

    Why is the government even involved in these two topics?

    Let’s take marriage first. Why does our government give one rip as to whether or not I’m married? Sure, I can understand insurance agencies needing to know this. But why our gov’t.? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Why has gay marriage become a political hot topic? I mean, if the state of Colorado simply didn’t register marriages any more…then this topic would no longer be a divisive political element. The only reason it’s divisive now is because the political parties have polarized the issue. If you feel it’s wrong, then vote Republican. If you feel it’s right, then vote Democrat.

    Okay, what a load of CRAP! I got married, in my wife’s home church, by her pastor, in front our our friends and families, and vowed “Till Death do us part.” I didn’t do this for any other reason than to honor my God. I didn’t do it for tax reasons or political reasons. I did it because my faith commands me to a pure and holy life.

    So what exactly is our government: both federal and state, what are they trying to police by registering marriages? I don’t rely on the gov’t. to be my moral police, nor to enforce my biblical principles.

    If the State and US gov’t. would remove themselves from our lives, then we could let the churches be the foundations for our moral compasses. Honestly, I don’t care if you are gay or not, married or single, or married to multiple spouses. For some reason the government cares….and I struggle to understand why.

    But everyone knows why. It’s a political move. A way to ensure votes. Which is absolutely ridiculous.

    Regarding the abortion law. I think that the Democrats and Republicans are failing this. Everyone says, “What about rape and incest.” According to an article I read last week in the paper, less than 2% of the women who get abortions is due to rape or incest. 75% of the women say that a baby will simply get in their way for future plans (work, school, etc).

    Yet, when a mother-to-be is struck by a driver who ran a stop sign, if the baby dies but the mother lives, the driver simply receives a ticket for failing to stop. How can politicians continue to support this law? It is absolutely mind-boggling.

    Okay, so you want to keep abortion legal. Fine. Remove ALL FEDERAL AND STATE TAX DOLLARS from the funding. ALL DOLLARS! Planned Parenthood should receive ZERO tax dollars or credits. And unborn children should be protected by the laws. If a drunk driver kills a pregnant mother’s child, he should stand trial for manslaughter. Nothing less.

    I hate polarizing the political spectrum and narrowing it down to two parties. Tom Arnold put it best for me during an interview on Jay Leno, “If you remove the 10% on the far right, and the 10% on the far left….the rest of us Americans can get along just fine!”

  14. My journey of faith as it has influence my political views–which I hope to share more of on Thursday–has been an interesting one swinging to both political extremes but now ending up firmly in the middle. I am an independent. So Instead of repeating what I might type on Thursday I simply want to leave some quotes that have been influential to me as I try to reconcile my faith with politics.

    “If America were truly a Christian nation then we would not pump hundreds of millions of dollars into political campaigns every four years. Instead we would put that money into missions because we would realize the only hope for our nation and the world comes from the work of Jesus, not politicians.”
    -Pastor Allistair Begg (paraphrased, but the idea remains unaltered)

    “If you’re a Christian then they shouldn’t be able to peg you as left or right, democratic or republican.”
    -Pastor Tim Keller; “Doing Justice” Resurgence Conf 2006
    link: http://theresurgence.com/2006/07/18/doing-justice-audio

    “Christians may at times be co-belligerents with the left or right, but never allies.”
    -Francis Schaffer

    • I love this post because in the context of the political map (and your post made me realize this) you have conservatives on the right (east), liberals on the left (west) and Christians to the north! Every Christian should be asking themselves: “Where’s my moral compass pointing? Shouldn’t it be pointing true north?”

    • To bring this post within the boundaries of guideline 1 in the Bible Jesus does not side with the Pharisee who are set on a religious way of life (i.e. just following rules) and he does not side with those the religious groups consider “sinners” (tax collectors, prostitutes, etc.) instead he shows an entirely new way of doing things–what Tim Keller calls the “Gospel 3rd Way” of doing things. That seems to draw an interesting parallel to today. We have two primary political parties one that in my mind is focused strictly on rules so that anyone who doesn’t fit inside of the their box is a threat, while the other party adheres so strictly to an “anything goes” philosophy that there is no room for objective standards of wrong and right. In my own life I bounced around to both political extremes and tried to reconcile the words and values of Jesus with the political values at both ends. But every time I tried to fit Jesus within those values I could not–even I claimed I could at the time. I want to get away from generalities and speak concretely for a second though I may be stealing my own thunder before Thursday arrives. This is how I feel the Bible tells us to deal with the issue of abortion:

      Jeremiah 1:5 tells us God foreknew us before we were born so I feel that life does indeed start at conception. I feel like as a Christian reading this verse I cannot support abortion in any form because it is ending the life of a person. But Jesus’ example will not let me by with simply voting “pro-life” or voicing to others that I think it is wrong. John 4:4–my favorite verse in the Bible–says that Jesus had to go through Samaria which is an area that Jews did not go because they considered Samaritans to be “half-breeds” and even use the word Samaritan as an insult toward Jesus. But he went, loved on the women at the well, and proclaimed his identity as the Christ. Over and over again he loved sinners affirmed the fact that they were valuable because they were people without affirming the sins they were caught in. (So back to abortion) I can take steps to voice or vote against abortion but as a Christian I think Jesus is charging us with the task of loving those who might have an abortion, giving them a place to stay, resources, whatever it may take to show that young women that Jesus loves her, wants to know her, and wants to her to keep her child despite the circumstances surrounding the child’s conception or future. Now I know that some of you are thinking, “but this might mean I have to completely change my life to save this unborn child” and I know you might be feeling that way because I remember the first time I was hit with that realization that as a Christian my life is not my own. But I don’t see either party fulfilling both sides of that equation and in good conscience I cannot vote for a party that does not uphold values which I hold so dear–in this case it happens to be neither party.

      • “but this might mean I have to completely change my life to save this unborn child” and I know you might be feeling that way because I remember the first time I was hit with that realization that as a Christian my life is not my own.”

        Well said.

  15. I also have a hard time understanding how a Christian can justify voting for a candidate who supports legalized abortion and same-sex marriage and I would really like someone who fits this model to explain it on this forum.

    I don’t believe the fact that a man is a Christian automatically makes him a good president. (As a matter of fact, I remember one such self-proclaimed Christian man who was a terrible president.) However, every person has convictions, whether biblical or not and those convictions will surface in every decision that person makes. Generally, a Christian’s core beliefs will serve as a restraint against immorality, corruption, etc. I would prefer a president who feels an accountability to God as well as to the people he represents. God’s favor or disfavor with our leaders will spill over to we the citizens as well, so it makes sense to vote a Christian into office.

    Jesus Christ is Lord, not just over Christians, but over everyone. Whether a person accepts that or not does not change that fact that He is in control of everything that happens on this earth. I don’t believe any of the candidates will change the world once elected, but I would like to see our government turn back towards what our founding fathers originally intended for this country. And that definitely includes God.

    By the way, Aaron, even though I am a registered Republican, I too am permitted to vote for whichever candidate I want. I even voted for Bill Clinton once. =)

  16. “… less than 2% of the women who get abortions is due to rape or incest. 75% of the women say that a baby will simply get in their way for future plans (work, school, etc).” and
    “…Remove ALL FEDERAL AND STATE TAX DOLLARS from the funding. ALL DOLLARS! Planned Parenthood should receive ZERO tax dollars or credits. And unborn children should be protected by the laws. If a drunk driver kills a pregnant mother’s child, he should stand trial for manslaughter. Nothing less.”

    Amen, Aaron! I totally agree with your stance on abortion. Abortion should only be allowed in a case where the mother’s life is threatened and then it should be the mother’s choice. On-demand abortion, any time for any reason, is just plain wrong. And the fact that a majority of abortions are performed on the poor, I wonder if those decisions are being made in the best interest of the woman or of society.

  17. Conversation is going well everybody…let’s be sure to keep the guidelines in mind. Specifically I’m thinking of #1: Share clearly how Jesus & the Bible lead you to your conclusions…

    Thanks everyone!

  18. Good point, Robert.

    “Share clearly how Jesus & the Bible lead you to your conclusions…”

    I cannot vote for any candidate that blatantly ignores Exodus 20:13. That is the single most defining issue for me when choosing an elected official. I know there are other issues, but as I pointed out above….the abortion law legalizes (condones) murder.

    And I am with Cathy on this one: I would really like to hear the other aside to this. Specifically, how Christians can vote for candidates that apparently ignore this commandment just to keep the US abortion law legal?

    • Aaron,
      Have you heard of pro-life democrats? There is even a lobbying group: http://www.democratsforlife.org

      The distinction is this. Some Christians ask, “How do we fight abortion by changing the law?” Others ask, “Since the law isn’t going to change for a while, how do we fight abortion?”

      Both are on the same side. A large number of people who are anti-abortion vote for democrats precisely because they are pro-life. How does that work you ask?

      One–If enough pro-life people are in both parties then we can make headway.

      Two–Have you ever seen the statistics? Abortions usually go down under democrat presidents and up under republican presidents. Thus, while you are fighting to changes the law you can reduce abortions under democrats.

      That’s the pro-life democrat perspective.

      • Robert: Don’t fall into that trap. You know full well there is no real correlation between who is in office and how many abortions take place. Same with murder of any kind. As for your basic assertion, you should know the party always trumps the person. You think you are voting for individuals, but when they get to Washington they are all part of the same gaggle of geese. Have you seen the Democratic Platform this year?

      • Not at all. You didn’t misrepresent, but you are naive if you think Obama is more pro-life than, say, George Bush because there were fewer abortions performed during his administration, or that a few pro-life Democrats in Congress are making a huge difference. Not a one of them would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. As for Obama, he’s the one who, as a state senator, voted not to save the life of a child of a botched abortion –after the child has been born! No matter how you slice it, Democrats are the party of abortion, partial birth abortion, abortion for sex selection, you name it, and it supports using tax-payer money to pay for it under ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood. Name me one pro-life Democrat who voted against Obamacare and who would vote to discontinue support for Planned Parenthood. Party trumps the person.

      • Ed,
        I feel like you are responding to something I didn’t say. All I was doing was responding to Aaron and his questions. I haven’t stated my position and don’t plan on doing so. My role is moderator. Christians–Who read the same Bible, worship the same Christ–vote differently. This forum is not for questioning each other but for listening to each other.

      • Maybe I did head too far down that road. Sorry if I offended.

        However, I do not apologize for my passion about political choices. Believe it or not, I used to be on the other side until I voted for Reagan. And when he wrote the book “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation,” I became confirmed in my conservative position. Here’s how I look at it. When faced with a moral choice or issue, there cannot be two versions of right –only a right and a wrong, one version of the truth. Jesus (and Paul) spent their entire ministries trying to get this across, and many times dispelling notions that were fully engrained in the lives and culture of his hearers. You shall know the truth, He said, and the truth will set you free.

        God has been putting choices before His people from early on (e.g., Deut. 11:26). When they chose correctly they were blessed, and when they chose wrongly, they were punished, sometimes severely. God’s people, though, somehow had a propensity for choosing evil over good. That’s still the case today. Sadly, the government has intruded into our personal lives so much that we are faced with moral choices in voting for those who represent us. I wish it weren’t that way, and that we could just pull the lever for the candidate who had the best plan and record for building a strong economy and maintaining a great defense for the country.

        So, now more than ever, we have to make sure we know EVERYTHING a party stands for before voting it into office.

  19. I have Robert. And I have voted for them in the past. Sen. Ben Nelson from NE believes that abortion is a horrific law. I voted for him for Governor, and supported his Senate race (had moved to CO by the time he ran). I’ve also voted for CO dems that are clear on where they stand and will vote when it comes to abortion.

    And I have stood against Republicans that are NOT clear on this issue.

    But you’ve hit the nail on the head….how do we fight ANY of these issues? You vote for the candidate that best represents you. Which is why I tell everyone that I have never voted Rep/Dem for president….;until this year. None of the previous candidates have stood for the issues I feel strongest about or made me believe they could lead this country in a satisfactory way.

    But the Democrat party is the key party keeping abortion legal? Being pro-life is one thing. But keeping abortion legal because your party insists on keeping it legal…well, that’s a bit of a cop out, wouldn’t you say?

    I mean, not all Germans were anti-Jewish in the 1930′s and 40′s. Yet History blames the country for the mass extermination that happened during that time. And honestly. Should their silence and inaction convict them? Or was it just the leader’s that were guilty. Elected leaders, I should point out.

  20. Robert, I just checked out the link that you provided for “Democrats for Life.org”. Have you seen it? No candidates from Colorado for any position in the current election: state, local, or congress, are on this list. But it also says that the list could be incomplete. Or maybe I missed the Colorado list. If so, please help.

    Is there another site you could point me to that shows which Colorado Democrats and candidates are pro-life? Bill Ritter was/is (I voted for him because of this stance), but I know that Bennett and Udall are strong pro-choice defenders (didn’t/couldn’t vote for them). And Obama is pro-choice. I think McCain was too, if my memory serves right. Didn’t vote for either of these men.

    Can I ask you this: from the perspective of a pro-life Democrat, what issue or issues become big enough to trump the abortion issue? This question isn’t for you, necessarily, but for anyone reading this string.

    1,200,000 children per year are being exterminated in the US. 75% for convenience (google “2011 abortion stats”). That’s 900,000 “choices”, not of necessity. Nearly 1 million Americans each year are subject to legalized genocide. What bigger social issues are there for us to wrestle with? How can the same party that fought for our right to universal heath care, bringing unbiased healthcare to ALL Americans, turn around and defend (and promote) the right for Americans to terminate their unborn children? I mean, how can you care so much for the born Americans….but not protect the unborn? Does this make sense?

    I apologize for hi-jacking this blog string. I’m just looking for some perspective on this issue, and the church, and why this topic seems to have taken a back-seat in the Political arena.

    • No prob. Aaron, this is good stuff.

      The Pro-Life Democrat position, as I understand it, is only partially about highlighting pro-life candidates.

      Their larger goals have to do with advancing policies that advance life in both parties. Given that government, are there things that government can do to effect the personal choices of people for life? Are there things the government can do to reduce the number of abortions?

      Their thinking is that there are Democratic programs that actually do increase a woman’s likelihood to keep her child, take WIC (Women/Infants/Children) for example.

      Hopefully some others will chime in as I’m just moderating this forum and not using this as a time to express my personal political views.

      rg

      • As a pro-life democrat, it’s not just about abortion. It’s about all things that take lives. I can’t understand for the life of me why someone would say they are against abortion in one breath and then in the next say cutting programs like Head Start or other entitlement spending (welfare and WIC) should be cut. It’s amazing to me that you can be pro-life but be against common sense gun-control (semiautomatic rifles for example). Pro-life but against the Environmental Protection Agency (clean air and water). I could go on, but it’s amazing to me that pro-life as it relates to abortion is only part of the conversation.

  21. Pingback: Let’s Talk Faith and Politics: Conservatives & Republicans (p3) « Robert Gelinas

  22. Today is Christiian and Republicans. Tomorrow is Christiian and Democrat. The rules did not say that you can’t do both. Because on some issues I vote Republican and on others I vote Democrat. I say I vote both ways and not that I am either a Democrat or Republican. I can’t be one or the other because of what I believe and my education. I dont agreed on abortion but how can we help women who were forced to abort their children in the back alleys or the like. Jeremiah 1:5 is a good reason to not have an abortion but I thought God was talking about forming Jeremiah mostly as a prophet for Him. I too use that scripture to justify my own design. But I also see Romans 1:18-28, God’s wrath on unrighteousness. Paul talks about a lot of unright living here and I can not point the finger at others. So I say to myself what if I let God take care of this problem we have, like He will take care of all the problems and I vote no on abortion. If the leaders are voting yes and I vote no and spread the good news that is all I can do.
    But I look at what Jesus said about the poor being with us always and what Isaiah said in 10:1-2 ” Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Who write misfortune, Which they have prescribed To rob the needy of justice,
    And to take what is right from the poor of My people, That widows may be their prey, And that they may rob the fatherless.” This and other scriptures make me vote Democrat as well. opps did I say too much?

  23. Pingback: Let’s Talk Faith and Politics: Progressives & Democrats (p4) « Robert Gelinas

  24. I am a Christian and a….bloody liberal. I am. I don’t apologize for it. My life work involves building inclusive communities. I believe it’s God inspired. That said, when you have a platform in the church (worship leading for example), being politically neutral is very necessary. I can’t tell you the number of fb private messages I get when people find out that I support very “liberal policies.” They have basically casted me into hell. I used to wail over it…seriously, and then I thought about it. If I feel called to be light in certain communities, then I also know that if my steps are ordered, everyone of them by God, then it doesn’t matter what the world thinks. I have met so many Christians who hold the emergent church philosophy and that has given me a space to be raggedy in my pursuit of God’s heart. It’s messy and sometimes, I get discouraged. I can’t really put my finger on why I vote as a liberal democrat, but I can say that when I read a report that says the electorate is growing more racist, or homophobic, or anti-everything, it makes me wonder. When I see my Christian brothers and sisters posting racist images of the president, or repeating talking points from far-right and far-left media, it makes me incredibly angry. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated in that way. It took me a long time to get to the place where I understood what I believe and it changes all the time. Pastor Robert, thanks for allowing us to discuss in a safe place.

  25. Pingback: Let’s Talk Faith and Politics: Alternative Views (p5) « Robert Gelinas

  26. It took me all week to get to Pastors Blog. Might I suggest checking out Dietrich Bonhoeffer before I continue. Will try to make this short. Checked out Matthew and didn’t see anything that said render unto Christians what is Caesars. Would the Christian Church be in charge of social programs for all faiths? Would the wealthier Churches have to share with the less fortunate ones to level the playing field? The majority of Americans are honest and earnest and hard working and not looking for the dole that so many have been deceived into believing they are. We have a Tax System and Tax Code that favors the wealthy. Taking advantage of loopholes and not paying their fair share has contributed to the deficit just as much as social spending. Should we blindly follow any candidate that claims to be pro-life and anti-abortion. The last time I checked there is only one Holy Bible! Anything else has got to be false. But remember, Love is the key. Love is always the key!
    Thanks Pastor for creating this Blog. It’s been a blessing to share and hear what others are thinking.

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