Thoughts on Election 2012
Most of you are aware of my conviction that there is no distinctively "Christian" position on political issues. In this light, it seems to me that in principle there is no inconsistency in being a Christian and voting for a non-Christian (or a Mormon) for political office. (I'm not saying I would do this, only that I see no inconsistency in acting this way.) As I pointed out in my book Christian Archy, followers of Jesus aren't called to get (overly) involved in political causes or disputes.
At the very least, we have to resist the temptation to put our hope in any political solution to what ails our society. Our time, effort, energy, and financial resources should be invested in serving the world sacrificially and in sharing the Gospel both relationally and relentlessly. This is why I've gotten out of politics on my blog. (This is quite an admission for the man who gave the convention sermon at the Constitution Party's National Convention in Valley Forge when Michael Peroutka was running for president!) I think it's every Christian's job to be well-informed about politics, but I think it's fruitless and self-defeating to engage in movements and political causes.
I suspect the reason so many American Christians are rallying behind their "Christian" candidate is because the church in America has largely failed to live up to its calling to be the conscience of culture. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost, to turn society right side up, but most people do not realize this. They think Christianity is about rules and regulations and political platforms and social causes and have no earthly idea that Jesus can solve their greatest problems and meet their deepest needs. This sad state of affairs will likely continue until the church decides to take up the cross instead of the sword. In the meantime, I'll vote my conscience come next November (or not vote at all -- that too would be exercising my democratic rights), but I won't waste my time or energy expecting government to do what the kingdom is intended to accomplish.
Church, let's get busy being the church. Let's get busy looking like Jesus, and this means sacrificially serving others. It is only as believers come together and lay aside our political differences in repentance and ask for God's Spirit to bind us together in love -- only then will the church be stirred out of its apathy into service. We as American Christians need the power of the Holy Spirit of God as we need nothing else. When people see that we have found treasure in Christ and are not ashamed to radiate His love; when they see us taking responsibility for homelessness and poverty and racism; when we begin to show solidarity with sinners, they will perhaps glimpse something of the radical love that Jesus has for each and every one of them.
So, I believe, our focus this election cycle should be on being the church, not mobilizing political movements. Think of the moral and transforming power that lies behind such an attitude. But before the church in America can do this, the Spirit has to break us of the disobedience and lethargy that come so naturally to us. When He is allowed to have control in our churches, and in our individual lives, then the possibilities for societal renewal are endless. But only then.
October 14, 2011
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.