This has been a growing concern of mine, in particular over the past 4 years, and I've always avoided writing anything public about it, for various reasons:
- In the case of this blog, I want to focus on Biblical topics, not political ones
- These types of discussion are best had in person, as you dialog with actual humans and come to a better understanding of each other's positions
- The sheer stress of thinking about it all, as well as the stress of a most likely inevitable backlash
However, as time goes by, with every few months being marked by some major event of sorts (and 2020 sure has been packed with them so far), I become increasingly saddened by my brothers and sisters in Christ's behavior on social media, and the apparent blindness when it comes to the damage they are dealing to their own testimony. I ask that you open your heart to receive that which is in mine, that you carefully read all my words and examine every emotion that surges through you as you read, and whether or not you can understand my perspective.
I feel that a dangerous blurring of identity has occurred over the past 4 years. It's possible this has been the case for even longer, but I can only share my own observation. I find that the world has come to equate the "Republican", "Conservative", or the "Right" to the "Christian" in ways that make them seem synonymous. On the flip side, I see more and more Christians effectively affirming this blurred identity, and I find this to be very alarming.
My identity, first and foremost, is that of a Christian. I profess the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born in the flesh to save man-kind of his sins, and do what only He can do: restore the relationship between man and our Father, the Creator of this universe. This is my primary label.
Secondarily are the labels that naturally stem from God's design for us. I am a husband, someone who is wholly dedicated to one wife, which is meant to exemplify the holy union that Christ has with his church. Then, I am a father. A terrestrial guide to the soul or souls that my wife and I bring into this world. My goal there being to raise more strong believers that can share the love of Christ to others during their time on this Earth. I am additionally a son, meant to honor my parents, and a brother who loves all his siblings (be it by blood, by law, or by Spirit). All these secondary roles are really just different faces to my primary.
After these come all the—ultimately irrelevant—tertiary labels. I am an American, of Hispanic descent, conservative-leaning, web developing, video-game playing, etc. I call them irrelevant as they have no bearing on my spiritual position with God. Of course, no one is pretending that there is an absolute disconnect from these extra labels to my identity. I lean conservatively because of some moral principles. The way I work, and what I work on is certainly subject to Biblical principles, as are the games I play and so on. However, someone can dislike video games, have a different career, lean more liberally, and be of any other ethnicity and nationality, and still be a Christian.
If that last sentence already caused some internal reaction, then let's pause and take a step back. Since I am no political ideology expert, Google directed me to this page in my effort to learn a simple, distilled definition for the main "sides" of our modern American politics. As such, these are the definitions stated by the page:
Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.
Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.
If I were to boil it down even further, it appears to me that liberalism prefers a "top down" approach, where the government/law has responsibilities in directing and assisting its citizens to achieve what is socially correct, while conservativism seems to prefer a "bottom up" approach where the individual people come together to help each other, and the government takes a very hands-off approach and basically establishes the necessary protections to allow that process to take place. If my interpretation of the definitions from the site seem inaccurate, then just be aware that is how my mind (and therefore this post) will deal with the terms.
If we are on the same page then, let's stop to review both definitions. As far as I can tell, there is nothing that stands out as unbiblical from either definition. The conservative should have nothing against "protecting civil liberties and individual and human rights", nor should the liberal have anything against "empowering individuals to solve problems." The difference mainly seems to be the role and level of involvement of the government, but both seem to desire our ability to enjoy "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In other words, as far as the high level understandings of each position goes, a Christian can lean either way to no compromise on behalf of their faith.
Unfortunately, many conservative believers may read the above and be ready to write me a strongly worded message to rebuke me and inform me about how wrong I am. I think the rage is fueled by an incorrect assumption that "what I'm saying is, a Christian can be pro-choice, pro-homosexuality, pro-other things and that's totally fine," which I have not stated whatsoever.
If that is what you somehow concluded, then with all due respect, you should turn to the Lord in prayer and ask him why your heart has hardened so much to the point that you are incapable of critically thinking through the post from a fellow brother. This is precisely one of the main issues I want to bring to attention.
It has felt more and more (within Christian circles) that any slant to liberal ideology is somehow immoral by its very nature. I will agree that some specific points clash with what I believe to be moral Biblical truths. The very "civil liberties and human rights" the liberal side wants to protect can very well stem from a wholly separate moral foundation and outlook! I am not denying these important differences. My only point is that the ideology, when separated from the nuanced individual and his beliefs, don't appear (to me) to be inherently spiritual. As examples:
- I do believe we should be shifting from oil and coal energy sources in favor of renewables. I believe the former group is objectively limited (and therefore we'll need an alternative anyway) as well as unhealthy for both man and the environment.
- I do believe we should enact stricter carbon emissions across all industries in an effort to stem global warming (or heck, even just for the health of our own people). Electric vehicles are already on the crux of a new era in automotive, let's continue to extend this in more fields.
- I do think that we should consider shifting into a government controlled healthcare. It seems clear to me that the "competitive" marketplace style system doesn't work very well and that it is financially feasible to pull this off. I mean, it can start with the group that probably will cost the least and should receive universal support from all sides: kids. What an advancement it would be for our country if every parent could at least not ever worry about having access to resources for their child!
I'd challenge any conservative Christian to present to me Biblical references that indicate any of the above is immoral or against the will of God. As far as my knowledge of the Bible goes, you won't be able to present a convincing case to the contrary. You can still disagree with the above of course, and you may have other data that leads you to opposite conclusions, but my point is that the Bible has no hard stances for you to base that decision on. If you can admit this, then we are in agreement as to a general disconnect of the political stance to the spiritual stance.
I'm not asking the Christian to accept abortion, or to blur the clear position of homosexuality in the Bible, I'm asking that you stop bucketing a whole ideology, of which half the country aligns itself to, into an automatic "evil" category. You have fellow believers leaning on both sides! We need to debate and dialog our speficic and nuanced positions with truth, love, and patience, rather than ridiculing and rejecting those that disagree on a few points, yet still admit to be sinners and proclaim Christ as their savior like you.
Of course there will be times when you may have to speak generally, or refer to the majority of a group's stance, but it would be hypocritical of me to request of everyone to stop assuming "the Right aka White Christians aka racists" while I go talking about the "Liberals" or "the Left" doing this or that.
Additionally, you should be extending an extra amount of grace, love, and patience to those who disagree with you because they don't know the Lord. I'm sure the pro-choice woman just loves to hear how wrong and evil she is because your political party says otherwise.
How about we take the example of Christ and his many encounters with sinners, where He confronts folks like the woman at the well or Zaccheus the tax collector, still proclaiming the truths of their sin, yet lovingly pointing them to the solution, i.e. Him.
“For if you love those who love you, what thanks do you receive? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you receive? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks do you receive? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much in return. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Be therefore merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
This brings me to the current events, which were the breaking point for me to write up this post. A black man named George Floyd was murdered by policemen, on camera. This injustice has caused mass outrage across this nation, as folks gather in protest to the police brutality that was witnessed here and is witnessed every day across the country, in particular to black folks like George Floyd.
For some reason, these simple, objective facts have also fallen prey to the divisive politics of this country. Why? Why is it that my brothers and sisters in Christ are the primary ones perpetuating foolish and irrelevant videos and articles that "counter" the majority view and focus, masking it as "the truth" but usually just being contrarian for politics' sake?
Do Christians oppose racism? They sure as heck better. Do Christians oppose police brutality? I sure hope so. Both of these are certainly anti-Biblical behaviors. So considering those two positions, and our opposition to these sins that stem from man's carnal nature, why is it so hard for so many believing conservatives to come in agreement with the liberals who also oppose the same things?
I'm not asking you to become part of and start donating to any movement or organization. I'm not asking you to slap hashtags and alter your avatar on all your online accounts. But what I am asking you, Christian, is why you have to bring politics and an added layer of divisiveness into a clear violation of God's will.
"All lives matter," a common retort circling the conservative circle. Yeah, no kidding! Man was created in God's image, it's kind of the whole basis to our understanding of the value of a human's life. You know, that same life we believe starts at conception? Can you imagine the foolishness of a believer that comes to a pro-life rally—where an attempt to sway the city who is in the midst of deciding some abortion-related law—only to approach one of his "Unborn human lives matter!" sign holding brothers or sisters to point out "actually, all lives matter" as if (1) that anyone has claimed otherwise or (2) that is remotely helpful in a time and place where the focus is a specific subset of lives?
Please, Christian, choose your battles wisely. The world is watching and your unbridled tongue (or its digitally manifested version) will absolutely damage their perception of Christianity and their God. I believe this has been happening for a while, but particularly since Trump entered presidency, we have entered a whole new level of this.
Why should the unbeliever listen to the "Christian" that chooses to defend any of our morally corrupt president's many inexcusable actions or words? Why should they listen to the "Christian" that, instead of focusing on the injustice of the policemen and their overreach of authority along with their community, wants to examine the criminal past of the man murdered at their hands? The amount of wrong in this world is absolutely disgusting, and yet, the ones who have the hope, the answer, choose to focus and align on the most ridiculous things instead of using the opportunity to spread the gospel.
It has been so disheartening to read how folks on the Internet can call out overt, obvious racists and say things like "I bet their Twitter description says 'Christian' too" and actually be completely right. Shame on those believers who actually lead others away from Christ! Your allegiance should be to your Creator, not your political party.
Racism, police brutality, rioting, and looting, do you know what they all have in common? They are sins that surface from the inner depths of every human's heart. Every single human has a carnal nature that, if allowed to, can manifest in these and various other extreme sinful acts. My heart goes out to all of those who have needlessly suffered injustices in this fallen world, but I am sorry to inform you that despite our best efforts, even if we somehow united as a country to address some of our major problems, mankind would only fall into the same sinful routine again because that is who we all are at our cores.
There is only one solution to sin, and that is Jesus Christ. Only God has the power to transform the heart into something good, a heart that is capable of producing the fruits of love that the world so desperately needs. As should be very clear, this doesn't guarantee that the transformed heart will always be a "good fruit" producing individual 24/7, but what it does mean is that those who choose to be transformed (and actually are, which should mean they properly walk in a way that outwardly expresses that) can look forward to a life after this one, an eternal life full of joy and peace, free from the shackles of sin, and one in the presence of the Almighty's love and grace.
I so look forward to this life, whenever it may come, and it would be my pleasure to elaborate on obtaining that life, as it is a free gift for all of us, to anyone that chooses to know more and listen.