I have an admission…
I don't like election days. They bring out the worst in people. We gloat when we win and feel shafted when we lose. We grab for power and are willing to do nearly anything to see the candidate or Proposition go our way. We project our politics onto God's will, thinking they are synonymous. They usually aren't. This isn't to say that elections don't have profound social implications or that all people act untoward at election time. It's just a generalization—and I believe an accurate one.
Even some of my best Brothers in ministry feel strongly that thinking Christ followers who have any clue what Jesus really wanted will vote their particular way. Democrats think Jesus would vote with them because they believe they care more about equity and the poor and marginalized. Republicans think Jesus would vote with them because they believe they protect life, public safety and "purity" more faithfully.
I will confess that I would prefer a Christian America to an Islamic America or a Pagan America. However, I still believe the church is God's primary, chosen vessel for his work in the world—not government. This doesn't mean that elections are completely irrelevant, Christians shouldn't serve in government or vote (as David Lipscomb believed), or that Christians should never be politically active. It's just to say that God remains ultimately in control regardless of election results and that Christians can often disagree on politics without it proving disagreement in the Gospel.
I am not a Lipscomb guy in my thinking about Christians and government. However, I am probably closer to him than I am to Jerry Falwell, Brian McLaren or Jim Wallis on the subject. Here a couple of quotes for election day from David Lipscomb's work, Civil Government:
- "To go into political strife is to admit the leaven of evil into the church. For the church to remain in the world and yet keep itself free from the spirit of the world, is to keep alive an active leaven of morality in the world."
- "Human government is the sum of human wisdom and the aggregation of human strength. God's kingdom is the consummation of Divine wisdom and in it dwells the power of God."
What do you think? Do you think it's important that Christians are politically engaged? If so, is God a Republican, Democrat, or neither. Or, let me put it this way… in what percentages would Jesus vote Democrat, Republican, or Independent?