I’ll preface this post by a personal revelation (not that anyone is likely to care one way or another), but the candidate for whom I voted did not win, though I knew that would happen when I casted my vote. I will also reveal that of the two candidates that had a chance to win (neither of whom I voted for), the candidate that I would have preferred to win did not. Either way, I had settled it in my mind prior to the election that the candidate that I would prefer to become the president did not have a chance at the presidency, so I was not terribly disappointed by the news when I awoke this morning.
What I am disappointed in, and what I have been disappointed in for years and through numerous election cycles, is the conduct of many Christians during various campaigns and following elections. And though I could justly be thinking of the rhetoric used by Christians, their tendency to fall in line with a political party without reservation, or their seeming love affair with war, I am mostly disappointed in their passion and zealotry for politics. In this respect, this election year has been particularly poignant, having witnessed Christians, with great zeal, placing their hope and their future in man who, by its basest definition, is anti-Christ. Even our most beloved “reverend” Billy Graham saw it fitting to remove Mormonism from his list of cults for sake of the political “good” of the United States.
The reason that this zealotry, this unbridled passion for politics by Christians is so distasteful and so disappointing to me is that it is symptomatic of the church’s condition in this country. While Christians who voted for Romney are moping off to work today or carrying themselves about elsewhere in dejection, they are testifying to the unchristian world that their hope was bound to this life, to this country, to the Republican party, and to a Mormon. And while this reaction might carry with it consequences toward the general openness of persons to evangelism (for who would listen to a people who claim to have their hope in a King and Kingdom when they clearly are vested in a president and a transient government?), the bigger and more substantial matter is that we do not hope and trust in our King and are more passionate about a kingdom of men than the Kingdom of God, thus spitting on the Man who died to establish himself over all rule and authority.
While there are credible issues to be passionate about (e.g. abortion), it is apparent through this election that most professing Christians are more concerned about taxes, opposing Obamacare, taking welfare from the poor, and killing those who oppose America (as was evidenced at the SC Republican Primary Debate by the cheers of the “Christian” audience to Newt Gingrich’s “Kill them,” and the boos to Ron Paul’s recitation of the Golden Rule). Though is it not by necessity wrong to have political theories and to voice them, the predisposition of Christians to tow the entire Republican line, even those matters which we should oppose (e.g. bloodthirstiness), calls into question our integrity and our intellectual honesty. As Christians, should we really be excited about drone warfare (as both Obama and Romney are) when it has been responsible for the deaths of countless civilians? As Christians, should we really be as a passionate as we are against those who are poor who receive aid from the government? As Christians, should we despise the foreigner in our land as much as we do? These are but a few of the questions that those of us who profess Christ and are die-hard Republicans need to ask ourselves.
There are, however, other, more important questions that we must ask ourselves everyday in every sphere of our lives, including politics, namely, “Do I sincerely believe that Jesus Christ is seated as the King of kings and presidents?” and “Do I count myself as I citizen of that Kingdom first or as an American first?” For if we do believe that Jesus is our King and that being a part of that Kingdom requires that we conduct ourselves in a certain way toward our King and the people on this earth, then our American political theory will necessarily become subservient and not contradict the Kingdom of Christ. As it stands now, the testimony of the general Christian populous is that they do not believe these things, for some of the things they endorse and propagate are neither Christ-like nor accord with his Kingdom. It would be worth our while to reflect on ourselves in times such as these to ensure for our own sakes that our lives exhibit what we profess to believe.
Self-reflection and circumstantial-loathing aside, the reality of the matter is that Jesus Christ has placed Barack Obama in his position for another four years. This act is according to his good pleasure and his perfect will, and he is due praise for his decree. In this light, we in Christ must respond accordingly. Will we therefore these next four years pray for our president, Barack Obama, as our Lord instructs? Will we give him the honor that is due his position? Will we acknowledge that he, like all others in the world, is a sinner in need of the Gospel? Will we commit ourselves not to slander or to deride the leader to whom Christ has given power for the sake of peace and the Gospel? Or will we neglect these duties and do as American Christians typically do? How we respond to these things will reveal the kingdom to which we truly belong.