It’s that time of year again. One in which everyone starts misbehaving, proclaiming that if you don’t share their political views then you can’t be a Christian. This is the second Presidential election where most of us are on Facebook, and it doesn't seem like we learned anything from the first. It is difficult for some to behave themselves. Oh, what a wonderful time. I’m sure God smiles down on all of his followers attacking each other when they are supposed to be identified by their love toward one another.
But what if in this political season we got it all wrong? What if our goal in life isn’t to achieve political victory but to love our neighbor? What if behaving like jerks, to put it lightly, in the political arena actually is a distraction from our true purpose in life? What if, instead of choosing Clinton or Trump, we decided to choose Jesus?
It’s tough for many to not be a jerk when they get their news from a biased source that neglects the negative stories about their own guy or gal. In this vacuum of news from the other perspective, one begins to believe the other side is purely evil while they are on the side of the angels. But I want to propose that neither side is on the side of the angels. They are both flawed human institutions that forget their true purpose in the hopes of winning the temporary and fleeting praise of the masses and/or some select wealthy donors.
As followers of Jesus, we must not align ourselves too closely with any human institution for in close alignment we risk losing our prophetic voice. What that means is that we can never become so Republican that we don’t speak out against the injustices of the Republican Party. Or likewise, we must never become so much of a Democrat that we can’t speak out against the injustices of the Democratic Party.
The church has a purpose in our society. We are to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city on a hill. We can’t do that if we just become another cog in one of the political parties, a cog that they can depend on no matter what they do. How different both of our parties would be if the people, especially the Christians who should know better, in those parties started cleaning up their own house rather than just constantly throwing mud at the other?
If one party feels that they have a specific demographic locked in, they won’t do anything to win the vote of that demographic. Why would they? They already have them. Each of the parties, like all human institutions, are inherently flawed. They are better when they are striving toward loving others and seeking those things that are good. They are worse when they are living selfishly. We, Christians, must play hard to get when it comes to the political parties. True, we might grow old and lonely some day, but at least we won’t be a dirty whore, sleeping in bed with those who are committing atrocities of all sorts that our Savior would be ashamed of.
So the church, needs to be a place where people of all political persuasions can get along, keeping our prophetic voice alive by drawing closer to Jesus. The Democrats needs good Christians in their midst. The Republicans do too. Likewise, so does the Green Party, the Libertarians, and every other political group. Every group needs a little salt and a little light.
So let us not denigrate our brothers and sisters who might have different political views than us. That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about the issues we disagree on, but let us not pretend that our side in the political arena is the one on God’s side. I’ve seen both sides, and they’re both pretty filthy. And that is just from visible appearances. God sees the heart. Thankfully, he has grace enough for Republicans, Democrats, and third-partiers too.