They Will Know Us By Our Campaign Slogans???

Warning…this post has political undertones. It will likely offend some. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to vote (or whether or not to vote). I’m just encouraging us to be discerning, as we are “sheep among wolves” and called to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” So, please remember, sometimes wolves wear “church clothes.”

In my local area, many political candidates are running on a “God, Life, Freedom, & Guns” platform. Many are going out of their way to communicate that they are professing Christians…and that is why they are for “God, Life, Freedom, & Guns.”

One candidate has placed a verse on campaign signs. If one takes the time to look up the verse, it’s about the righteous and wicked. In other words, “a vote for me is a vote for the righteous. A vote for my opponent (who is running on a very similar platform) is a vote for the wicked.”

If one takes the time to look at the platforms and agendas of these candidates, it’s difficult to find where the “God/Christian” part comes in. I’m sure they are all wonderful folks, faithful members of their local congregations, and truly believe they are “doing the Lord’s work.”

However, I see very little of Jesus within these faith-professing campaigns.

It almost seems like they are using their “faith in Christ” as a way to manipulate voters.

Running on platforms that instill fear, are based on unproven conspiracies, and diminish the value of the vulnerable and marginalized does not seem in line with the God I’ve encountered in Scripture.

Personal freedom over humble, loving service doesn’t sound very Christ-like.

Gaining easier access to firearms (when Jesus told his followers to “put away” their weapons…and the prophets tell of a day when weapons will be beaten into plowshares) doesn’t sound like the Jesus I’ve spent the majority of my life following and studying.

Pro-life agendas that support capital punishment while also calling for reducing access to affordable healthcare, quality education, food and housing assistance programs doesn’t really reflect the heart of the Gospel or seem all that interested in promoting the wellbeing of all lives (see Matthew 25:31-46 if you want a refresher on the far-reaching Gospel call of what it really means to be pro-life). Seriously, it’s time that we start saying “pro-birth” rather than “pro-life.”

“Freedom” platforms that ban books, place educators on notice, ignore the realities of history and privilege, fuel racism and try to negate the very existence of our LGBTQIA neighbors seems to miss the whole “love God, love neighbor, love enemies” teaching of Jesus.

So, before we jump on the bandwagon of a candidate because they profess faith in Jesus, make sure you look at the fruit (or at least the fruit they propose) they produce.

Now, some quotes from Shane Claiborne’s book “Jesus for President,” to show there’s at least one other crazy radical Christian out there…

“Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal, and powerful…

The greatest sin of political imagination: Thinking there is no other way except the filthy rotten system we have today…

We vote every day for companies, for people, and we put money toward ‘campaigns.’ We need to think of the faces behind the scenes. Who are the masters and Caesars that we pledge allegiance to by the way we live and through the things we put our trust in? We vote every day with our feet, our hands, our lips, and our wallets. We are the vote for the poor. We are to vote for the peacemakers. We are to vote for the marginalized, the oppressed, the most vulnerable of our society. These are the ones Jesus voted for, those whom every empire had left behind, those whom no millionaire politician will represent…

The danger is that we can begin to read the Bible through the eyes of America rather than read America through the eyes of the Bible. We just want Jesus to be a good American…

The church is a people called out of the world to embody a social alternative that the world cannot know on its own terms. We are not simply asking the government to be what God has commissioned the church to be. After all, even the best government can’t legislate love. We can build hundreds of units of affordable housing (a good thing by the way) and people still might not have homes. We can provide universal health care and keep folks breathing longer (another nice move), but people can be breathing and still not truly be alive. We can create laws to enforce good behavior, but no law has ever changed a human heart or reconciled a broken relationship. The church is not simply suggesting political alternatives. The church is embodying one. The idea that the church is to be the body of Christ is not just something to read about in theology books and leave for the scholars to pontificate about. We are literally to be the body of Jesus in the world. Christians are to be little Christs—people who put flesh on Jesus in the world today..”