Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Not The Same

I'm sure that many of you out there are just dying to see a blog post about politics. You've been searching fruitlessly for just one little shred of political opinion on the internet. Right? Right?! Ha. Well, primarily for my own sanity and not for your reading pleasure, I am adding to the noise.

I already expressed my disgust with the illogical, uninformed, and fanatical behavior we saw from both parties' supporters during the election. Now that the election is over, I am seeing a new and possibly even more disturbing behavior: the complete and total union of religion and politics in the minds of many Christians. Here are two statements I read this week, both from professed Christians, one from an Obama supporter and another from a McCain supporter.

"We've been waiting so long for this. He is our Moses!" (quoted from Seattle Times, who identified the woman as a 'church stewardess')

"Maybe McCain on his own cannot defeat Obama, but our God can and He will if we take to our knees in prayer and raise a mighty cry to the heavens to 'Save us O Lord'" (quoted from a message by Dr. Charles Stanley, founder of In Touch Ministries and senior pastor of First Baptist Atlanta)

Both of these statements make my skin crawl.

I am absolutely appalled that the line between politics and religion has become so blurred for people that they believe these things. Obama is not Moses. Only Christ can set us free. And McCain was not God's Chosen One either, so praying against Obama is nothing more than unbiblical nonsense.

But my observation of this unholy marriage between religion and politics goes beyond what I've read in the newspaper and online. I'll call it a vibe, because I can't really pin down where it's coming from, but there is this arrogant and judgmental vibe I am getting from other Christians when it comes to politics. As Christians, our central belief is that Jesus is The Way. We believe that we are objectively right in our religious beliefs, and that other religious beliefs are objectively wrong.* HOWEVER. Religion is NOT politics. I don't care how sure you are that God Himself is calling you to passionately support, campaign for, and give your life savings to a candidate. If I do not support that candidate, I am not by definition outside God's will. I am not categorically, objectively wrong if I disagree with your politics.

As Christians, for God's sake, let's stop thinking a politician can save us. Let's stop praying for our own agendas and instead pray as Jesus did: Thy will be done. Let's stop thinking that politics = religion. Finally, let us pray wholeheartedly for those in authority, while remembering Christ's ultimate authority.

*Update: I want to make a slight clarification to the statement about Christian beliefs being objectively right. I certainly do not assume that every religious belief and doctrine I profess is 'correct', only that I believe the central tenets of Christianity to be Truth. (i.e. Jesus Christ crucified & resurrected, the Bible as God's Word)


tiffany said...

amen! also as i'm sure you know we are being called "hateful bigots" here in california. i'm sick of politics! i'm sick of being attacked for my beliefs! this whole time when praying about the election i have prayed that God take contol of everything and allow his will to be done in the polls i have never once asked that the voting go a certain way, yet because i expressed MY opinions with MY vote i am ignorant and judgemental of every homosexual person that ever lived. i can't express the range of emotions that i go through when reading things on blogs or facebook or other places simply about prop 8. it makes me cry. christians are getting a bad rap because people take scripture the wrong way and attack others, don't they see that we are supposed to love all and not condemn them? yes, i understand that church and state need to be two seperate things but the sad reality is that they are not. our country was founded on chirstian beliefs. look at our money it clearly says "in God we trust" look at our government buildings there is scripture written on them. when the president is sworn into office he places his hand on a bible. so therefore until church and state are completely seperated yes i am going to use my religious views to determine my vote. furthermore as a person who voted for McCain i can honestly say that i couldn't care less who won this year becuase honestly i didn't like either canidate BUT after watching the speeches at the end of the night and seeing how much it meant to others i think that obama winning was a great thing. even though i disagree with what people say he does inspire people that change will come, what kind of change it will be i don't know and seeing people believe that there is "hope" for them is a good thing.

sorry this rant went on for so long. it's been building up in me and this looked like a safe place to release it all.

Carina Schoen said...

Thanks for writing this. I think that sometimes it is hard to seperate religion and politics because we are people driven by our faith. I am one of the many that were somewhat discouraged by the outcomes this week - primarily with I-1000 passing here in WA. I can't say I am excited about the direction the country is heading - I think there are a lot of things that will be put in place, things my tax dollars will pay for, that will go against the very core of my values. That makes me a little sick. On the other hand, Obama was elected and he is my president. I don't think it does any good to moan and complain over where we are headed. We can stand up and make a "change" in our communities, in prayer, as the Body of Christ, and continue to trust in our God, who is KING.

Haley Ballast said...

@tiffany: thanks for sharing your views, i'm sorry people have been ugly to you. :(

@carina: love your perspective, especially the note that we are people driven by faith. in some ways it is good to see people combine religion and politics, to the degree that it allows their faith to inform their decisions. what upsets me is the accompanying judgment... here's to change that happens by faith, love & prayer!

Bruce Ballast said...

I love you, Haley. I love that you do the thinking it takes to reflect on things like this.
Mom B.