Why do we even attempt to engage in the divisive arena of politics?
Anytime in church history that Christians are involved in the power play of leadership of the state, it has been nothing but disastrous to the state and to the body of Christ. The more I journey this life, the more I contend that the original Anabaptists were correct to avoid political office and political engagement and participation in state affairs, and what has become known in Western Democracies as “civic duty.”
This season in the USA Presidential election, what I have seen and heard, and what I myself have engaged with, through social media, in my discourses with people, especially those who consider themselves Christian people, it has convinced me more than ever that the “Evangelical Right” is an oxymoron and that those who advocated 30 years ago that Evangelicals should seek to dominate the right and “take the country back” from the abyss of the progressive liberal left, were no different than those who perpetuated the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Religious Wars in Europe, and even the Salem witch hunts in early America.
Why is it that sincere and devout Christians of every denominational stripe must castigate, criticize, ridicule not only those contending for the Presidency, but equally ostracize and ridicule and besmirch those fellow believers who think differently than they do? Believe me, I know, I have been equally guilty in my own comments on the primaries and the now current Presidential election. I have found myself pitted against people I thought I would never be against, especially when it came to political opinions and views. But here I am now, months into this, and I find myself at the point for my own sanity, I cannot any longer take part in such things. I must separate myself from the whole debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
It is the same when we come to the whole question of Christians and patriotism. Just look at the whole unfolding of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the stand, or kneeling taking place through the inspiration of Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49rs. He wanted to make a point of showing that America and its ideas of opportunity and equality for all is not working. He happens to benefit as an athlete, but he wanting to address social injustice and the fact that racism is systemic in America and that it is not equal opportunity for all, and that many people are dying through the hands of law enforcement, and the inappropriate use of guns. This whole Kaepernick debate is stirring up the pot in this election cycle, and even this week Kaepernick pointedly pointed out just how both candidates are just not good enough for America.
Some of the most vile comments concerning Kaepernick I have heard have come from self-confessed Evangelicals who have wrapped up themselves in the US flag, the anthem (Star Spangled Banner) and an insidious form of “Christian nationalism,” and they sound an awful lot like the German Christian voices that were bellowing nationalist slogans in 1930’s Germany.
We cannot marry the state, nationalism, with biblical Christianity.
God rules overall and over all, and yet the vitriol that comes from some Christian circles, makes it all seem that if you don’t support a certain candidate, or vote a certain way on certain issues, then “you are not a ‘real’ Christian” (whatever that is supposed to mean). I am writing here out of a heart that is hurt, grieving and saddened.
I am not even an American and this is really causing me grief
I am a born Brit who is Canadian by choice. What happens in America affects the world, not just the USA. But as a Christian, I am more convinced than ever that it is only the Gospel of Grace and the work of God by His Spirit, which can bring about all the change the American people are yearning for. The establishment and politicians don’t seem to give a care about it at all. This is why both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have struck a cord with disenchanted Americans. The status quo just won’t do. This is why this thing even with Kaepernick is not going to go away. He and those who stand, or kneel with him, are saying that America is not only broken, but it has never worked like it was intended to work.
The ideal of America and the “American dream” has only benefit some of the people of America
The disenfranchised, the oppressed, the persecuted, the disadvantaged, from people of color, race, creed, country of origin, sexuality, are all crying out for change. So many are turning to politicians for change, but the politicians are not listening. I happen to believe that God can bring about the change that needs to come, and God will use people like he always has to do it, but it has to be with people who put God and others first, based on love and respect.
I am seeing neither in this election cycle. I am seeing a lot of pain and injury caused by people who are dissatisfied and angry, and who have no hope, and there are no answers coming, because the leaders who are looking to be elected really are not listening regardless of political party, and are not engaging with the people. All they are looking to do is woo people for their votes and then forget them and keep going with the status quo.
Without God, I am afraid that America faces another troubling racial revolution that will affect the right and the left
If Christians are not standing with God and the Gospel first, and are not displaying love and respect and reaching out in compassion and a desire to be agents of grace and change, then there really is nothing that can help or save America. Christians need to stop trying to fix America through politics. US politics wrapped in the flag and anthem is not fixing this. Only humility before God, and a broken and contrite spirit, and loving each other, no matter the color, creed, race, orientation or ethnicity, and truly seeing each other as one, and worthy of love and respect, is it every going to have a hope of changing.
This is indeed the most crucial election in our time
But Christians need to stop this politicizing and start seeking God, and repent for ever trying to politically hijack their country. God can heal America. Americans need to turn to God, and those who claim to love and know God are the ones who must humbly lead the way. I apologize for my long statement. I will remain silent until the election is over. This breaks my heart.
Psst… Democracy is a Greek pagan concept. Nothing Christian about it. No, Christians DO NOT have to vote. According to Romans 13, Christians are to pray for their government, their leaders, live according to the laws of the land, pay taxes, and live at peace with all men. There is nothing there about running for office, or voting, or trying to change society by voting and using the political process. So, no you can be informed but you don’t have to vote. You can disengage from the rhetoric. You can pray and seek God. And then just keep on loving others in the power and love of Christ that is within you. I have determined for my own sake and my own conscience, I will never vote again. I will pray for my country and my leaders, and pray for God to have his way in the land. I know God is sovereign over the nations and I can put my trust fully in him. American voters can do the same.
If you vote or choose not to vote, that is your freedom to do so. Pray and ask God what to do, and do it. But let’s all calm down, and just turn to God and ask his help for America. What happens in America affects the world. Let’s get God’s take on it, and let’s turn our hearts back to God. Only God can save America, and it starts one heart and life at a time. Will you be one?
Peace and grace,
~ Samuel M. Buick