Monday, August 04, 2008

Politics, abortion and evangelicals

When it comes to politics, sincere believers in Jesus Christ can be found on both sides of the Republican-Democrat divide. This may be news to some evangelicals, because the Republican Party has had a lock on the white evangelical vote for at least the past 28 years, since Ronald Reagan’s first election. However, the Republican Party has never had 100% of the evangelical vote. And, we must remember, most Blacks have voted Democrat for at least the past 40 years, and many Blacks are solidly evangelical in their faith and theology (I’m assuming Black evangelicals are included in the Black voting numbers, since I don’t recall ever hearing of any polls of Black evangelicals as a separate group. I guess pollsters simply assume all evangelicals must be white. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve voted for the Republican candidate in 5 out of the last 6 Presidential elections since 1984.).

The political divide amongst Bible-believing Christians between Republican and Democrat still exists as we head towards November, and it seems this fact is about to cause some believers to become unhinged. As hard as it may be for some political conservatives to realize, there are theologically-conservative Christians who support Sen. Barack Obama. Supporting the Democrat candidate doesn’t make one less spiritual or less biblically-informed. There are good reasons not to vote for Sen. John McCain, just as there are good reasons not to vote for Obama. There are good reasons not to support the Republican agenda, just as there are good reasons not to support the Democrat agenda. It’s simply a mistake to wrap our Christianity in the banner of a political party (or in the American flag!).

I’ve been saddened, angered and/or discouraged as I’ve read some of the sarcastic, mean, angry, condescending and hateful things written by some evangelicals about those evangelicals who are not towing the conservative party line. Clearly, some of us evangelicals have put too many of our eggs in the Republican basket. The Republican Party is no more the hope of this nation than the Democrat Party has been the hope of Black people. Just like the Democrats have always promised the Black community more than they have delivered, so the Republicans have promised evangelicals far more than they have delivered. Folks, we need to look to God for change, not to a politician.

The apostle wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God…” (Eph 6:12ff). The text makes no mention about taking up the weapons of politics or the Republican Party. There’s no mention about taking up an attack against fellow-believers.

Many evangelical Christians are up-in-arms about abortion and, hence, about Sen. Obama. In my opinion, more disturbing than the sin of abortion (and, yes, abortion is a sin) or Obama’s support of abortion rights, is the unkind, even sinful, attitude displayed by some believers towards anyone who disagrees with them in any way about anything at any time. I don’t expect righteousness out of the unregenerate. But, I certainly expect better from those who are indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. Those who promote abortion, perform abortions and seek abortions (and those who have had abortions) need the gospel, they need to be the subjects of our prayers and the recipients of our concern. The world doesn’t need our hate.

The Bethlehem Institute writes that “abortion is primarily and ultimately an injustice against God.” That’s true! But, the same thing can be said about racism, about societal injustice towards the poor and the residents of our inner cities, about injustice (and hatred) towards foreigners, and many other sins against humanity right here in our country. ALL sin is an injustice against God! There is absolutely no justification for all the vitriol that is being spewed by some Christians over abortion (all while they say virtually nothing about other societal evils).
That kind of attitude is just not right; it doesn’t honor Christ, and reveals our trust is not in the Lord.

I don’t know how I’ll vote this November, but I do know this: I’m not looking to any politician for change. Meaningful and lasting change will only come from the Lord. Our only hope is that God would be pleased to pour out His Spirit on country. Our hope must be in the Lord.

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