If you know me personally, you probably know that I’m not especially fond of politics, don’t tend to put signs on my lawn, don’t talk politics much. However, since my brother
dragged enlisted me in this joint blogging venture 😉 ,…I’ve been forced to consider something beyond the bare fact of exercising my duty to vote in elections.
Fair warning: for a Sunday post, this may cross a line for some of you. But I feel increasingly that it is imperative to speak out, while we still can.
Google the clichéd phrase, “Religion and Politics Don’t Mix” and you’ll get a wealth of essays, written from both sides of the aisle, which support that time-worn statement.
Until recently, I’d have said I agree. I would have frowned on our pastor telling us who we should vote for, discussing political theories or favoring particular candidates from the pulpit. But a couple of days ago, JTR wrote a post in which he linked to a four-minute, impassioned, eloquent statement from a black pastor, E.W. Jackson, the founder of STAND (Staying True to American’s National Destiny). In case you missed it, here it is again:
We belong to God… It is time for Christians to have the faith and courage to refuse to associate with a political party that has over the years become anti-Christian, anti-church, anti-Bible, anti-life, anti-family, and anti-God…
It’s not about party, but principle. It’s not about race, but righteousness…We don’t need the Democrat party, or any party. We need God. God will take care of us.
I pray that Bishop Jackson speaks that message from his pulpit today. And that he will speak from any other pulpit he is invited into, every Sunday between now and election day. And I pray to God that the people he is addressing–black Christians who have historically, reflexively, voted Democrat–will listen, and heed the call.
It is certainly true that neither major party has a corner on the righteousness market. A vote for one party or the other is not going to usher in the New Jerusalem…although it could lead us to the Tribulation. I don’t believe that Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians have an imprimatur from the Lord.
But every decision I make has consequences, and generations will reap what I sow. As our friend James, over at Biltrix, wrote recently, we are responsible to form and inform our consciences before casting a vote. The Catholic Church has been admirably proactive in helping its members do so, by preparing a Voters Guide for Serious Catholics, in which it outlines five nonnegotiable issues on which to base one’s voting choice. I would recommend all my evangelical Christian friends read this document also. It lays out in plain speech five intrinsically evil issues which seek (or already have) legal protection…and argues that if one votes for a candidate who supports one or more of these issues, then one is complicit in that support, and morally accountable before God.
This is very serious. And yes, I realize that pastors are being warned by the IRS that:
Any activity designed to influence the outcome of a partisan election can be construed as intervention. If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institution’s tax-exempt status or levy significant fines on the house of worship or its leaders.
The above paragraph is from a letter sent by the IRS to 60,000 pastors at the start of this election season. But both Catholic and non-Catholic Christians are making a compelling case–an overwhelming one really–for the Democratic party, in its current manifestation, to be anathema to Bible-believing Christians. Should they not be able to say this plainly to their congregations? As the apostle Peter asked, two millenia ago, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20, NIV)
If you have Christian (or Jewish, for that matter) neighbors, friends, co-workers who tend to vote Democrat…I’d urge you to challenge them to explain to you why they can in good conscience do so, in the face of so much anti-Christian (and anti-Israel) political doctrine. If these friends or co-workers happen to be part of the black community…I urge you to share Rev. Jackson’s four-minute video with them. (And of course, please share Bishop Paprocki‘s five minute video with Catholic friends.) Dare to be socially awkward. Risk losing a friendship.
Speak the truth in love.
If there has ever been a time when we need to talk about religion and politics in the same breath, it’s now.