Tuesday, October 12, 2004


For more on this issue and to read the piece that inspired this blog, please refer to my response to Jonathan in the “Comments” section of: “The President and the Vice President may well be the last two people….” It is an in-depth response to some of those who take odds with these blogs which I chose to post as a comment rather than a separate and independent blog since it addressed comments specific to responses to that piece.

Recently, when a church friend and I discussed the subject matter of the first presidential debate, she discovered, in the course of the conversation, that I was not pleased with our current president nor with the course in which he has taken our country. Without probing further to ascertain who I would be supporting come November 2nd or why, she looked me in the eye and said,

“If you vote for John Kerry, God will judge you. God will judge you, Brandon!”

Though she said it half-jokingly, I know she meant it with all of her heart. She is well-meaning and sincere, but her words gave me pause. Not because I believe her sanctified threats but because her opinion is indicative of so many within the evangelical church.

Taught in church that life is a struggle of polarities—Good (God) vs. Evil (Satan), Christians adopt that same mentality in their political lives. (Let me state here that I agree with this worldview—this world in indeed in the middle of a spiritual power struggle.) What they retain of this message is a misguided idea that all the world moves in the same polar oppositions—that there is a singular right way and a singular wrong way to approach anything, with no middle ground to be found in between. This is, I feel, more a product of our American political culture than even our American spiritual culture. We have lived so long with the Republican vs. Democrat model that we have deluded ourselves into believing that one is always (or nearly always) right and the other is always wrong. Evangelical Republicans melodramatically believe that if a Democrat gets into office, he brings the hounds of hell with him. They sincerely think that Democrats are unpatriotic, hate the American system, will do everything within their power to castrate the American dream and way of life, and run for office with the specific intension of obliterating everything Christian.

Is this really so? Cannot Christians be found in all strata of political thought? Cannot God be found in both the conservative morality of the Republican party and the social consciousness of the Democratic party? Are they not both aspects of God’s attributes? Is God so small that one political party can claim Him as their own? Is it not better to believe that God said both, “Thou shalt not commit murder” as well as, “Learn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Exodus 20:13 and Isaiah 1:17)? Cannot sincere Christians vote for either Bush or Kerry for reasons deeply rooted in their faith and still be operating out of a Christian desire to see God’s mission furthered on Earth?

God is not a single issue god and therefore we, His people, cannot be single issue followers.

Abortion is a moral issue. So is social justice for the poor and downtrodden. Gay marriage is a moral issue. So is unjust war. Christians must remove the blinders of their political myopicy and champion all of God’s attributes, not just a select few.

Are our leaders combating poverty according to St. Matthew 25:35-40 where Christ reveals that in caring for the lowly we actually care for Him, or according to Isaiah 10:1-2 where God decrees woe over those whose policies oppress the poor? Are our leaders acting as proper caretakers of our planet as God instructed in Genesis 2:15 or Psalm 24:1? Are our leaders reticent of the fact that Christians are called to be peacemakers as Christ reveals in St. Matthew 5:9? Are our leaders lovers of Truth and are they relaying that Truth to those they rule over (St. John 8:32)? Are our leaders aware of Genesis 1:27’s revelation that all human beings are created in the image of God—even our enemies—and deserve the utmost respect? Do our leaders obey the biblical injunction in Deuteronomy 30:19 to choose life not only in the case of the unborn but also in the arenas of capital punishment, euthanasia, HIV/AIDS and global genocide? Are our leaders cognizant of the fact that humanity—all of humanity—is fallen and therefore evil lies in the heart of both our enemies and ourselves as is admonished in Proverbs 8:12-13?

To claim that one party has a monopoly on God is too ludicrous for a rational thinker to even consider.

The leaders of the religious right mistakenly believe that God has taken sides in this election. They preach that all good Christians must vote for George W. Bush. A self-proclaimed prophet on the Trinity Broadcast Network recently stated that it is God’s plan that Bush be reelected and that if that did not happen, humans will have circumvented God’s will. Excuse me?

Such assertions—that Bush’s role as President is by divine appointment and that “it doesn’t make any difference what he does, good or bad” the Lord is blessing him as Pat Robertson recently said on Fox News—is both dangerous religion and bad theology. Perilous things have happened in the past when humans assume God is on their side alone—whether it be politically or militarily.

“You have to vote for Bush,” several at my church have told me. “After all, he’s a Christian.” One can be a Christian and still be a dreadful leader. Christianity saves your soul and should, if one truly accepts its yoke, make you into a better, wiser, more loving human being but it is in no way a guarantee.

That said, we MUST remember one overriding principle found in St. Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…”

Christians are merely sojourners on this sphere. This life is but a blip in eternity. Our perspective must be eternal. Our focus must be heavenward, not earthbound.

The idea and ideals of America, while laudable and perhaps the best form of government this planet has ever seen, are not sacred. They are not to be held with the same reverence and veneration as Holy Scripture. America can never become a utopia on earth no matter how many Christians are in public office. This planet is fallen and we are not to put our faith in it or its governmental systems. America, a shining light to the world throughout its short history, is still a wretched cesspool of iniquity—it is still governed over by humans. This planet will never see perfected government until Christ rules. Christians must never forget that even as we use this world’s system of government, we are ambassadors of another land. What sense does it make for a foreign ambassador of the most opulent and enduring kingdom in the universe to ignore his riches and position in order to grovel in the sand and excrement of the kingdom he has been sent to, ignoring his orders, his sovereign, his heritage?

Christians are not on earth to legislate morality. They do not win the cause of Christ by their laws but by their lives.

Christ did not use the Great Commission to tell us to go into all the world and control and enforce its morality—He sent us to change their hearts toward him through salvation for all who call upon His name. The morality then takes care of itself. Modern Christianity has this completely backwards and we wonder why we are so ineffective at making a dent in our secular society.

A Godly utopia has never worked. It didn’t work in Eden. It didn’t work when God manifested Himself to the Israelites during the Exodus. It didn’t work when God personally established judges to rule over a nation which instead bartered for an earthly king. It didn’t work when Christ was crucified in part because He did not fulfill the expectations of Jews desperate for a physical kingdom to displace their Roman oppressors. It likewise will not work on the North American continent.

It is vital that Christians have a heavenly perspective.

Having recently married and moved into a new apartment, I had to contact my local voter administration to change my address. I took the opportunity to also correct something else I have been toying with for some time. My registration card now lists me as a registered independent. I no longer wish to affiliate myself with any particular party, but wish to draw from all pools to install a leader, regardless of party affiliation, who most closely resembles Christ.

This is true Christian citizenship.


Blogger supermn said...

First, I find it interesting that "this blog does not allow anonymous comments." This keeps people from voicing a strong opinion and regulates who (and what) is posted.

Second, I think we as Americans have a better chance of being sucessful with a President who daily seeks God, reads His Word, and relys on Him for wisdom. Moses was a terrible orator, yet God was able to use him to do mightly things.

Third, our President, at the second debate, stated that he is willing to take the consequences for his decisions. Because he made a decision based on bad evidence (not his fault) does not make the war a bad decision. Someone needed to step up and be a man and do what is right. Thank you Mr. President for doing just that.

5:51 PM  
Blogger bethp said...

Absolutly true! God is NOT a republican or a democrat. But the fact remains that there are some vast differences in the parties and Republicans generally choose to adhere more to the laws of God or at the very least seek them! Not many Dem's are going that route that I have seen or known. Does this mean that all democrats are evil and should die? Not at all! I have family members who are awesome people and are democrats!
We are a fallen people. Let's just take a quick peek at David. A "man after God's own heart"?!?!? The man commited adultery KNOWINGLY and then to make the sin worse ordered murder. HELLO. And yet God gave him that esteemed above "name". And can I please just remind everyone that David was also a "War King." God had specific plans for David and they included wars and lots of them, he was a king that ruled in bloodshed! Do any of us really think that all of Israel was behind David 100% each time he said "going to another war"...no way! There had to have been some within the camp that disagreed (just look at those who rebelled and disagreed with Moses). Just for a moment let's step out of the world view, the world perspective, the world opinion and try to see things through the eyes of God. He called David to war, he called Esther to save his nation, through history he has called men and women to things that the world may not or has not agreed with. What if he called George W Bush to be the "War President (King)" for our time? I said IF, not that he has! But what if? What if George has been called "for such a time as this?" IF he has been called by God for this time in history then apologizing for doing what God had asked him to do would be slapping God in the face and telling him he had made a mistake! In all of history has God made a mistake? Not once that I am aware of. All I know is that he sure was the man I wanted when 9/11 happened and he is definately the man I want now. Strong, resolute, unwilling to give in to peer pressure even in an election year. When the war started he knew this could hurt the election but he also knew what had to be done.
Do I relish the idea of war and losing so many of our brave (and let us not forget those from other countries who have served and lost their own)? I don't relish it at all. But I choose to step outside of any party lines and try to see it from a different perspective. As Christians we are "aliens in this world." Sometimes I can see where wars were God's idea, sometimes I can see where we had no business being involved. Who else would have taken on SH? Who else might God have called? Any other world leaders pop up in your mind as courageous and resolute, willing to take a stand? I can't think of one. SH had to be dealt with, the world had watched his regime for too long in silence. And eventually God will break his silence - eventually he will deal with the hardened hearts - take Pharaoh for example. So sooner or later this war was going to happen, it happened to be George W that finally said enough is enough. Did God lead him to that decision? We'll never know, that is between him and God but I sure can see how he might have. After all this is a man who seeks the ways of God. Not one of us is a perfect Christian, neither is Bush.
Have I agreed with every decision this administration has made? Nope. BUT I know he is who he is behind closed doors and open doors and I know he doesn't change his mind with the direction of the wind and I stand by this man because I have seen the power of prayer work in his Presidency and I know that this is an imperfect man seeking a perfect God.
What does John 15 talk about? The vine, the fruit. When one is seeking and following the ways of God there will be fruit as evidence. I've seen that in George W, I can't say the same about his opponent.
Election years are always so interesting, we can at least all agree on that can we not? :)

8:02 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

It has been stated that God endorses and upholds even imperfect people. You bet he does—every single individual that finds themselves within the pages of Scripture—every one. I totally agree with you Beth, that David was indeed a man after God’s own heart and that God called him to war and to other unpleasant things that doubtless didn’t please every “constituent voter” of Israel. However, even this man after God’s own heart made horrific errors as you yourself stated. The adultery with Bathsheba for which God was furious and claimed the life of the child produced by the union was only one of them. Another includes David's prideful insistence to take a census of the people in direct defiance of God’s instructions. As atonement for his sin, he was allowed to choose either a famine, an unsuccessful war, or pestilence. He chose the third and in three days 70,000 died!

Was David a man after God’s own heart? Yes. Did he sin? Yes. Did God punish him and others for his sin? Yes. Were those events ordained of God or did they occur as a result of human folly and disobedience? We all know the answer.

God’s love and even approval of his monarchy did not change the fact that David was disobedient, David sinned, and David acted in ways contrary to God’s desires. Again, as I tried to stress in the blog, just because one is a Christian, it does not make him a good leader, nor does it give him automatic exemption from his actions and uncritical affirmation of his policies. We do not sit back and let even godly people make grievous errors simply because they have been adopted into the family of God. God didn’t, the prophet Nathan didn’t, and I won’t (no, I am not comparing myself to the two—I am simply following the line of reasoning).

If your argument is that Bush may still be a man after God’s own heart and may even be God’s man for the job EVEN IF (and no one knows this but God) Iraq was a terrible departure from God’s will, then I am confident that all of my rhetoric and all of my bombast will in no alter the will of God a whit and Bush will find himself President again sometime late in the evening of November 2nd (though of course that possibility doesn’t mean it’s His will definitively either!). All I am saying is that, from my perspective, Bush has sinned mightily and should be held accountable. As for the possibility of my being wrong and opposing God’s plans, I concede none of will ever know the answer to that while in this world and will leave the consequences up to God.

10:09 AM  

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