Does Your Faith Guide Your Politics, or Vica Versa? 

I have been asking this question for a very long time, and maybe it should be Part 10 of the “Politics & Morality” series I did the last two weeks. I don’t ask this question in a smug way; I have struggled deeply with this in my own life. I lean left on almost everything, but it is important to question why. I look at an issue from a theological lens first, asking what Jesus and the people who wrote the Bible would think about it. I don’t take their words as inerrant; someone who actually reads the Bible carefully can’t help but see the contradictions in it, but I do take Scripture seriously. So, while every person of faith believes they are living as closely to the desires of God as possible, I think it is important to take everything with a grain of salt (thanks Apostle Paul!)

First, a historical example: both sides of our Civil War believed that God was on their side. Slavery is approved of, or at least ignored, throughout both Testaments. Is slavery something God wants? (If you say yes, welcome to the KKK). Of course not! Those who used the Bible to support slavery during that war were putting their politics and economic needs first. This is at the root of almost every question – greed (which is idolatry). The reason I hear that is most used for not moving away from a carbon-based economy is jobs – and we all like jobs. But from a God-centered point of view, destruction of the earth is bad, so we should be doing what we can to change that. People going hungry is not political; neither is homelessness, education, or any number of societal problems. It is not a liberal idea to want kids to not be hungry; it is a human desire, or at least, should be. It isn’t a liberal idea to want homelessness to end – it is a God-thing. 

I am not asking you to agree with me on every issue (although you could, if you choose to); I am asking every person of faith to discern where our decisions come from. If we are voting for issues that we know Jesus clearly condemned, that makes us hypocrites. If we believe in things that Jesus never commented on, we are making moral decisions based on our opinions, not our faith. It really is that simple. Jesus never said anything about anyone (except maybe eunuchs, if that fits) in the LGBTQ community. He never spoke of abortion. If you oppose same-sex marriage or abortion, that is your choice; just stop blaming Jesus for it! Jesus did speak at length about using our money to help others; He did tell us to pay our taxes. If we want to take our walk with Jesus more seriously, we should probably be a little less about ourselves and a little more about our neighbors. Like we sometimes say in church, if you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. Or as Jesus would say, you can’t serve two masters. Loving God, neighbor, and self matters more than our politics, or at least, it should. If we aren’t hypocrites.

Prayer – Guide us to use our faith with You and others in mind first, God of sacrificial love. Less me and more of You and others. Amen.

Today’s art is by Todd Mires.