As I’ve noted before, the heated nature of this political season has caused me to have some disagreements (mostly polite, I think) with fellow Christian bloggers at times regarding what I see as blantant hypocrisy (at worst) or a simple blindness to one’s own prejudices (at best).
I would be less bothered by people calling upon fellow Christians to take a bold stand in political circles for Christian principles if it weren’t for a couple things:
- Most politicians, even those who publicly profess their Christianity, aren’t carrying out their jobs by Christian principles any more than secular politicians, from what I see, except on very specific touchpoint issues like abortion or gay marriage.
- Our nation is pluralistic and our government is secular, so picking politicians who promote Christian-specific doctrine doesn’t make sense to me.
What truly pisses me off when fundemantalist Christians call for taking a firm stand (and taking sides in politics along religious lines) is that they don’t acknowledge that they are picking the lesser of two evils in many cases, just as I often do. It’s just that they are picking their candidate based on biblical issues that cut closer to their hearts. The notion that Obama is probably an evil man lifted up by God to this position for a specific purpose (as Recovering at Evangelicals Anonymous seems to me to be saying in the post I link to above), and criticizing Christians like me by suggesting that we have sided with evil or are actually secular progressives in disguise…well, it bothers me. A hell of a lot.
I know that I have hypocrisy in my own life. I know there are areas in which my personal beliefs conflict with my Christian ones. For example, I don’t like abortion, but I also don’t believe it is my place to restrict a woman’s right to choose. I don’t think God particularly wants us to be in homosexual relationships, but I will not put same-sex couples into some special sin category, nor do I see the point in fighting against same-sex marriage. But why do so many on the right-leaning side of Christianity refuse to acknowledge their own dual-minded natures?
For example, why decry efforts toward universal healthcare or a tax system that expects those who make more to contribute more as socialism and say that it’s going to destroy our nation’s political, moral and social structure? Didn’t Jesus and his followers call for selling what they had and helping the poor, the widowed and the sick? Wasn’t their lifestyle promoting elements of socialism and even communism? And Jesus didn’t call for the government to outlaw things he found distasteful (gambling, prostitution, lying, etc.) but instead hung out with and reached out to people with lifetstyles he disagreed with, purely on a personal, one-to-one-basis.
And yet, these are the people who say they want government to step back and go away and get out of their business because it’s “socialism” or it’s “liberal overtolerance.” Candidates are to be reviled for not advocating the outlaw or sharp restriction of abortion or for proposing that the government should tighten up environmental regulations (instead of, I guess, just assuming that God wants us to waste and misuse his planet right up until the End Times). The right-leaning Christians want politicians to step forward on outlawing gay marriage or imposing religious standards on when life begins, but they want government to step away the moment it moves toward social issues that Jesus himself advocated, like helping the poor. Most of what Jesus did was about helping the poor and downtrodden, and yet somehow our government is supposed to drop those people from its radar and let them fend for themselves or hope that we Christians will pick up the slack (which we pretty much don’t do).
It’s somehow government’s job to uphold the biblical value they hold dear, and to avoid those that others hold dear.
Again, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I am filled with contradictions and conflicts. But I try to admit them and I try to see why others feel the way they do. It distresses me when I don’t get the same consideration from the other side in so many cases. Instead of saying, “I understand where you’re coming from,” I more often get what seems to me to be a thinly veiled (or not veiled at all): “You are going against the word of God and you have failed Jesus.”
Almost all of us who are born again pick and choose what parts of God’s Word we will champion and what we won’t. What irritates me is when someone on one side or the other claims that they know which ones God considers most important and then tells the other side they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
I may think you’re wrong, but I’ll rarely suggest that you are an idiot for being that way, and you’ll almost never see me suggest that you’re against Jesus because you disagree with me or, worse yet, that you are supporting Satan’s plans.