Monday, October 25, 2004

What to think about when voting

I want to add one thought to the political frenzy. The majority of my thoughts have already been represented in one way or another by someone more eloquent or experienced than I. But one thing has become increasingly clear to me and I don't see it in the religious or secular press.

The term "conservative Christian" is an oxymoron. One cannot hold to conservatism and still be a Christian. Conservatives accept the status quo and resist change - that is what it means to be conservative. Christians are called to the opposite: we are called to change the world, to transform it, by God's grace and power.

Notice it is not by our own power. It is not by our getting our commentaries published or our leaders elected or ourselves into the government.

Our job is to effect change by loving. Our neighbor, our enemy, those who persecute us. Our call from our fearless leader is to live fearlessly in the Kingdom of Heaven - which is at hand, here already.

If Christians were supposed to be conservative then the world would be utterly different than it is. Christianity would not have survived the Roman Empire, for one thing. But being strictly American, we would still have slavery had Christians not been progressive. Women may still be second-class citizens and minorities almost certainly would be.

Should we not consider leading the charge for our generation's oppressed - namely, the GLBT community?

And should we not call for an end to war and a commitment to radical peacemaking in the world, including feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, providing shelter and water and clothing?

And should we not give to our church and our community and our neighbor freely and without remorse, realizing that any earthly treasure we have will only rot? I mean, really, how can a Christian rightly give a rip about how much they pay in taxes?!

This is not idealism. This is what the Church is supposed to be. If these are not in your mind when you vote, you are not a Christian. If you are conservative, you are not following Jesus' example.

Jesus came to transform the world and calls his followers to do the same. Never accept the world's status quo. Never resist change. Never believe for a millisecond that a terrorist or an activist judge or a liberal politician can somehow overpower God's will for the world.

God has already won his battle, we are already on the winning side. So quit hemming and hawing over temporal things and start loving your neighbor as yourself. And love God first and most of all.

Do not vote in fear. Do not vote for someone who will "protect" you. Your heavenly father will protect you. Do not vote for someone who will shelter your wealth. Man does not live by bread alone. Do not vote for someone because they will further the conservative, status quo, slow-to-change causes. God is not about our status quo. God is not about the world never changing. God Godself is consistent but we can never suppose that our beliefs are equally inerrant.

Vote as if God were really in charge, not the President. And see whose name you check.

8 comments:

TKP said...

Amen and amen. I am continually annoyed with the dangerous equating of evangelical Christianity and patriotism. But that's another thing altogether. I love Sojourner's political ad: "God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat." Oh how I wish more believers would learn to think critically and for themselves about these important issues. Lately, humanitarian work has really been on my mind. I've recently written posts on Sudan, so you should check them out. Oh, and remember that blogger.com doesn't update the "latest posts" on the profiler until Saturday, I think. So click on "GASB Forever" at the bottom of my profile to see the latest blogs. Great blog today.

Mom said...

That was beautifully said. Wonderful.

RightAllTheTime said...

I liked your article, and I agree with alot of your points that lie outside your basic premise. I think that, while the dictionary does define conservative as apt to resist change, I don't think that's really the concept that defines conservatives at all. For example, I am a Christian conservative, but for me and everyone else I know, we would identify more with the dictionary's many other definitions of conservative:
(1) Favoring traditional views and values; Traditional or restrained in style; Moderate; cautious.

Just as I think it's unfair to identify the word 'LIBERAL' with only one of it's dictionary definitions meaning 'morally unrestrained or free from dogma' as many liberals are not morally unrestrained. In fact, other definitions of liberal include 'generous, progressive, tolerant'.

I think by setting up the dictionary's definitions of 'conservative', then assigning us all to those qualities, and THEN deconstructing us, is at best a straw man argument, and at worst it's unfair.

As for the tax issue I DO agree with you that conservatives whine alot about taxes. However, alot of people don't trust just throwing money at the government because they don't trust that the government will really be charitable with their money. For example, I would much rather give 35% of my income to the local food bank because I KNOW it's going to reach the people who need it.

Anyway, after alot of thinking and research I am voting for Bush this time around (voted for Gore in '00) simply because I don't think Kerry has made the case.

Anyway, as much as I disagree with you on some points, well written and I like your blog.

BrianP said...

Very insightful comments. Too bad the elections over now, and the great polarization will only continue. Hearing evangelicals gloat over the Bush victory as divine justice makes me very sick.

Good luck at Fuller and make sure you take some classes from Robert Johnston and Charles Kraft.

orthofem said...

Feminarian writes:
The term "conservative Christian" is an oxymoron. One cannot hold to conservatism and still be a Christian. Conservatives accept the status quo and resist change - that is what it means to be conservative. Christians are called to the opposite: we are called to change the world, to transform it, by God's grace and power.
*********************************

Again, Feminarian, it your imprecise and limited definition of conservative that is at fault.

It makes sense to be a "conservative Christian" if what we are preserving is the Faith of our Lord.

I agree that Christianity is apart from the World and it is the task of the Church to transform the World. Certainly you agree that the Church is to resist being transformed by the World.

Conservative Christians believe that the so called gay rights movement is "of the World" and that it is a movement organized to change the Faith.

When someone flately contradicts the Scriptures as understood by Christians over 2,000 centuries, it is the Church that is being changed not society.

orthofem said...

Feminarian writes:
And should we not call for an end to war and a commitment to radical peacemaking in the world, including feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, providing shelter and water and clothing?
***********************************Pacifism: There are individuals who and religious denominations which espouse pacifism. The Quakers come to mind. I respect someone who chooses this path, however, Feminarian, you analysis is sloppy once again.

You need to distinguish between individuals making a choice to be a pacifist and a country adopting pacifistic policy. It may well make religious good sense for an individual to decide not to use force in any case, even, to refrain from defending himself from attack. The person making the decision, is the person bearing the risk. If a pacifist is mugged and injured, he knows that that his injury was partially the result of a conscious decision he made.

However, when you talk about politics in a secular state with no established Church, you are asking non-pacifists to adopt a pacifistic approach for the country as a whole. If you do that , you have to answer certain questions? Are you proposing that the United States should not have resisted Hitler? Are you ready to stand responsible for the damage that people like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot will due in the absence of contervailing military force?

If we are to stand down our Army should we not disband our police force?

Should Christians work for peace, of course, but there are things worse than war, that is slavery and the abolition of the civilization that invented democracy and the concept of individual rights and the concept of the rule of law.

Many historians now criticize the governments of the U.K. and the U.S. for failing to respond to Hitler sooner. Now that the Berlin Wall has fallen, we have learned of the terrible suffering under Communism of so many people. We signed on to that suffering at Yalta through Roosevelt because the U.S. was too fatigued and strained by war to confront Stalin. Millions of people died in Russia in the gulags and by starvation. Perhaps nothing could have been done, but, a military effort to free Russia would not, in my opinion, have been immoral.

Remember you can intelligently choose to risk your own safety, but I don't think you have a moral right to argue that our country sould risk its existence or its civlization.

Anonymous said...

Feminarian writes:
And should we not give to our church and our community and our neighbor freely and without remorse, realizing that any earthly treasure we have will only rot? I mean, really, how can a Christian rightly give a rip about how much they pay in taxes?!
**********************************
Tsk, tesk Feminarian. You need to refine your analysis. There is a big difference between a voluntary commitment to contribute to a church or a non-profit institution and to pay tax. What could that be? When I contribute to a Church it is voluntary. I can review the theology and activity of the Church and decide whether to support its activities. I suspect from your comments that you wouldn't want to give alms to a Church that upheld the traditional teaching against homosexual conduct?

Now, look at taxes. Granted that taxpayers have had a chance to vote for the legislators that impose the tax, but, many times a government will engage in specific activities that could potentially violate the individual taxpayers
conscience. I don't want my tax dollars going to support abortion .

Certainly you aren't willing to given GOVERNMENT a blank check? Surely, you can review history and find a few times in which GOVERNMENT has engaged in non-Christian, even anti-Christian activities paid for on the tax dollar.

Sorry, Feminarian, the modern, mega-state has been in existence only about 150 years. Christianity has been around much longer. Prior to the beginning of the modern, mega-welfare state, Christians built schools, organized Universities, and provided medical care through hospitals independent of the State.

I shall continue to jealously monitor where my taxes go. I shall also continue to oppose the growth of government to a point where it dominates all life in this country. We do not live in a theocracy by a long shot, nor would I want to live in one. Given that I have every right to question the amount of taxes given to a secular state.

We don't worship the State, we worship God and we support the Church.

Sheez!!

Anonymous said...

What to think when voting?

I suppose you voted for Kerry. You might want to replay the tape of the Democratic Convention and notice that Kerry opened his acceptance speech with "Reporting for Duty." He meant military duty. He was claiming that he had the stuff of military leadership.

So how would voting for Kerry been a rejection of voting for "someone who will protect you."

Answers welcome, Feminarian.