3/28/2005

For the record, here’s where I stand politically:


After being a political conservative most of my adult life, I began to feel quite uneasy with many of the things the conservative politicos were saying. I had assumed, as an evangelical, that in order to be a good Christian, one must rally around the conservative movement all the way across the board—I was “conservative” when it came to biblical interpretation (holding to orthodox views about Jesus, sin and God’s provision of salvation, miracles, etc.), and everyone I was around in my church were convinced that evangelicals must also be conservatives when it comes to political policies (especially economic policy and foreign policy) as well.

But when I began to realize that there really was not a whole lot of compassion for the poor in conservative economic policy (in spite of the rhetoric otherwise), I began to have my doubts. Also, the idea that the USA must be “hawks” rather than “doves” in the world when it comes to international affairs disturbed my Christian sensibilities as well.

Let me be clear: In every election until 2004, I voted mostly Republican. In 2004, I felt I had to shift away from this simplistic way of seeing issues and begin to seek if there is a better way.

Therefore, I voted for George W. Bush in 2000, and voted against him in 2004. Why? Mainly two reasons: His Foreign Policy did not line up with what my Christian conscience was telling me was ethical, and his economic policies disturbed me as well.

So, as one who is in process—having understood the arguments from the “inside” from the Religious Right, and now seeking to hear other voices from the Left and from Moderates, I feel that I am free!

I no longer have to “tow the party line,” and I can be critical of the Right, while still being critical of the Left. On this blog, it may sound like I come down hard against the Right a lot, but that is only because I am convinced that American Evangelicalism has becoming syncretistic: We have conflated economic and social conservatism with biblical Christianity to the point that we think they are one-and-the-same.

Of course, the Christian Left does the same with liberal ideas…
But here’s the rub for me: In evangelicalism (of which I claim to be a member), political conservatism has ruled the day for the last 2 decades (the time I have been an adult). It is time for my generation (and the generation to come) to re-evaluate this in light of the Bible.

4 comments:

cal said...

Being from northeast Ohio and living in Texas. I am really upset with my fellow Buckeyes. You posted just my point. Why can't they understand the issues as clear as you do. How we treat the poor, the rest of the world and the people who truely want a job and want to work for a fair wage will be the issus that make this country great or take it to it's demise. I really think there will be a class war in the future, if the rich keping getting richer and the poor poorer.

Bob Robinson said...

There is hope for us Buckeyes!

I know a growing number of Christians who echo my feelings, only they are often afraid of a McCarthyism-type of blackballing in their churches. They still feel it when their church pulpits do not "explictly" endorse conservatives but certainly implicitly do so. They feel it when the political discourse in their small groups belittle anybody without the "moral values" to vote Republican.

But they are getting bold and speaking their minds, and are backing it up with the Bible. They are convincing people to think more holistically about the Kingdom of God and its implications on all of society--including who we vote for and how we view issues.

Rick said...

I'm with you -- though I'm coming from the other direction. I'm a lifelong Democrat, disturbed by my party's dogmatism on abortion. Though, the events of the past 4 years made me unable to vote for too many Republicans in good conscience, this time 'round.

I'm trying to develop a blog primarily around the issue of how faith informs politics. Sorry to self-promote, but I think you might be interested. Hope you'll stop by.

Scot McKnight said...

How Christians vote is not as simple as many evangelical Christians think. The issues are profoundly theological, and they are more than "life and death" politics.
Here are some that concern me? What does the Bible say about the poor and how should we respond to them? Which political arrangement best favors helping the poor?

What about war? How can a Christian take a person's life who is an unbeliever before they hear the gospel and/or how can they put to death a Christian in the name of something less than the gospel (freedom, civil rights, etc)?

What role do economics play in the life of a Christian? Is it all about getting more? Or, is it about distribution for the sake of the gospel?

Well, I've got these questions and I think it is important for Christians to consider them. I fear many haven't.