Beliefs Should Determine Our Politics, Not Politics Determining Our Beliefs
In today’s American climate, increasingly our political beliefs have been determining our Christianity. What I mean is believers listen to politicians they like espouse certain views, and then those believers somehow say this is the Christian position.
The truth is we should be reading, studying, and praying to ask God what his word teaches and then armed with that truth, look at candidates’ positions and then vote accordingly.
Over the years as I have studied what the Scriptures teach, I have come to the conclusion politically that both major parties platforms contain positions I agree with spiritually. I also feel that both parties also take an approach in which neither one is Biblical (more on that in a moment).
Before I list my Biblical understanding of issues, I realize that many well meaning Christians might come to a different conclusion. My hope is that conclusion is not based on politics, but on what your study of Scripture concludes.
So here we go with my thoughts on a few issues.
Regarding abortion, I would definitely be more in line with the Republican platform that sees life beginning at conception. But in areas of helping poor women and single mothers, I see the Democratic platform as more in line with Scripture. Why do I mention that here is because research shows that the number one reason women get abortions is because of economic hardship. So ironically, this is a win for both parties.
On the areas of race, I see the Bible talk clearly about love and respecting all peoples. Ephesians, chapter 2 devotes the concept of Jesus breaking down the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles. Since Gentiles are anybody who is not a Jew, essentially Scripture teaches the importance of races getting along with each other and that Christians should always be people of racial reconciliation.
When reading both parties’ platforms, I lean toward the Democratic one on this issue. Especially in recent times, there has been more hostility in many Republican circles towards minorities than I have ever seen before. This does not mean that all Republicans are racist, but more often than not there is increasingly racial ignorance and insensitivity. So in race relations, I give this one to the Democrats.
Regarding economics, free enterprise is preferable to government control. The free market rewards work and that usually translates to more and better jobs for all. Too many regulations can stifle business and thus cause more issues than benefits. Rewarding work is something you see a lot in Scripture, particularly in Proverbs. So this is best reflected in the Republican platform.
However, we do need regulations that protect the environment and health. Unless it is extreme overreach, Christians should be promoters of these regulations, because God desires we take care of the planet he created. Notable examples are the way Israel was to practice agriculture. I believe the Democratic platform best exemplifies these practices.
Regarding religious freedom, believers need to feel safe in sharing their convictions. For example, while we are to love everyone, Scripture teaches that certain moral practices are wrong, such as sex outside of marriage, and homosexual behavior. So for Christians that should not be considered hate speech. Here the Republican platform is more in line with these views.
On immigration, while neither party believes in open borders, the Democrats take a much more humane and pragmatic view on this issue. For example, dreamers should be given a path to citizenship. Illegals that have been in America for a quite a while, as long as they are not criminals, should also be treated in a way that they can at some point become citizens. This means they go to the back of the line, but help them to come out of the shadows. We can go this by having illegals under some kind of temporary allowance. This fits with the Bible’s encouragement of how to treat the alien in your midst.
In regards to national defense, it appears that both parties want to see a strong military. While Jesus teaches that violence is something that is not to be done on an individual basis, like revenge, the Scriptures also talk about respecting the role of government for protection, both locally and globally.
What I vehemently disagree with both parties is the overriding attitude of non cooperation. The Bible teaches about working things out with others that we have disagreements. The name calling and unwillingness to compromise on both sides have become a standard that needs to be challenged.
So which party is the “Christian” party? From what I just listed, I would say both and I would say neither. My prayer is that we believers diligently study the Word and then determine our politics. Otherwise politics is God, and not Jesus.