Here is my fourth installment of my “Misconceptions About Christians” series for the Orange County Record.
If you missed the first three misconceptions read them now!
- Misconceptions About Christians: Part I
- Misconceptions About Christians: Part II
- Misconceptions About Christians: Part III
This is the fourth installment in the series “Misconceptions About Christians.” So far I have discussed three misconceptions: that being a Christian one must read the Bible literally, that being a Christian means you have to go to “church” and that TV minister/evangelist are representative of all Christianity. Today we tackle another misconception.
I was walking through a parking lot the other day and I saw a bumper sticker that made me stop to examine it more closely. It was a blue sticker with white words and a yellow Christian cross; it read “Christian Democrat.”
Misconception #4- Being a Christian means that you have to vote for Republican candidates and conservative ideals.
Generally I shy away from mixing politics and religion. It is of course the two things we are warned do not mix. We are taught this adage for good reasons, people are passionate about their faith just as they are passionate about their ideals about how the country should be run and organized. But somewhere along the way the two were interlinked and interconnected.
When did it become the norm that stating that you were a Christian meant in the same breath you were saying that you supported conservative ideals?
Christians for years have been reading the same Bible and yet due to their life experiences and personal understanding of God glean a completely different interpretation. Christians for the most part have never been unified on much of anything. Debates, often heated ones, are still raging today over women in ministry, homosexuality and contemporary music. Debates and differences are nothing new to the church and the Bible has been at the center of most of them. For the most part, the Bible has been used for and against war, used for and against slavery, used for and against accepting homosexuality and the list goes on and on– the same book at the center of all it.
Christians are free to express their understanding of God and Jesus Christ in the world in a variety of ways. Some take to the streets and feed the homeless and needy, some fix up homes for those who are unable to do so, some go door to door inviting neighbors and strangers to church. It is the same when it comes to government as well. Some Christians believe that government should be as giving and caring as Christ was, some believe that charity should be the work of the church; herein lies the problem.
Most Christians would not object to some people living out the gospel by feeding homeless people, but once you start making statements about politics, then all bets are off.
Why do Christians who agree with the philosophies of other political parties than the GOP have to resort to bumper stickers to show that they are different? Does the fact that some punched their ballot for a person with an “R” or a “D” by their name really matter? How is this any different than having a different interpretation of the Bible? For some people being a Republican or Democrat and Christian is fine, but there are some who believe that the Bible commands all of Christianity to come under the banner of the conservative movement. This is not what Christ came to this earth to do. Christ did not come to start a political party or even support one; yes, Jesus was political in his time, but he did not ever want to be President of the United States of America.
With all of this said, this does not mean that our faith does not inform our political assertions.
If Christians are supposed to be about sharing the love of Christ in the world today, why bring politics into the matter? Should politics be in the church house? Maybe… but then again maybe not. Does it matter if someone votes for a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Green Party member and still calls themselves a Christian? No, it does not. The church has bigger problems to worry about than whether or not a particular party’s candidate is in office come November.