As we move ever closer to the upcoming presidential election, debate as to the best candidate is heating up. I, for one, think this debate is healthy. I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion and has the right to express it. Most of the time I find value in opinions I disagree with and can respect the person despite my disagreement. Even if an opinion happens to be offensive or inappropriate, I can usually ignore it and move on without another thought. However, a recent trend in political manipulation has caught my attention and it bothers me a great deal. This trend is the use of God to leverage people into voting republican. This maneuver takes various forms, but really caught my attention when a blogger recently wrote that you cannot be Christian and a democrat. You can also find this argument all over social media in different varieties. As a Christian, even a conservative one registered as a republican, I find this terribly offensive and I believe God does as well.
I know that faith has played a part in our nation’s government since the very beginning and I am fine with that. I know that every election one candidate or another claims to be a Christian and automatically gains voters simply by association. What troubles me is the claim that God somehow supports one political party over another. This type of claim or belief requires a tremendous amount of both arrogance and ignorance. It is arrogant to think that we can know the mind of God when it comes to something like government and politics and it is ignorant to believe that any aspect of our political system is untouched by corruption and immorality.
God’s primary concern is His kingdom, not any one earthly government or nation. His plan is to redeem men and women and move them from the kingdom of darkness into the light. He requires that His children obey His commandments and walk in justice, mercy and love. He honors morality of nations, but does not dictate their actions. His concern is with the actions of individuals within those nations.
Furthermore, He is sovereign over all leaders and places and removes kings (and I think we can say presidents) as he sees fit. Throughout history, God has allowed wicked men and women to rule for his purposes. He used pagan nations like Syria and Egypt to punish the nation of Israel and used men like Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh to preserve them. Jesus urged submission to Caesar and through the writings of the apostles God urged Christians to honor emperors like Nero. Do any of these facts indicate that God was “on their side” or in their political party? Of course not!
What scripture indicates and history bears out is that God is in control regardless of what individual or political party is in power at the moment. What he cares about far more than your vote or political persuasion is that you know Him and love Him; that you love others and treat them with respect and compassion. Being a Christian isn’t about being a republican, democrat or even American! Being a Christian is about a personal relationship with God through His son Jesus and a commitment to follow Him. We should make this our focus, and instead of fighting over political positions and opinions we should busy ourselves sharing the love of Christ with everyone – regardless of whether they are voting as we are.