Thursday, October 22, 2020

 I am not a Democrat.

And yet, when I express disagreement with President Trump and his policies or disappointment with his actions and his character, people assume I am.

I am not a Republican.  

And yet, when I express a value of defending the life of the unborn, or am known as a "Bible-believing Christian", some will assume I am.

You will not hear me use either of those labels to define my political beliefs or behavior.   As a follower of Jesus, the only labels I want to wear to define who I am come from my relationship with Him.  May my name tag never reduce who I am to a political party platform or stereotype.

Don't get me wrong.  I love politics.  I love observing it, discussing it, even debating it (though that seems to be a lost art these days).   I have a Master's Degree in Political Science and the bulk of my graduate research was on the topic of "How Religious Beliefs Affect Political Behavior".   I love seeing how a relationship with God and understanding of what that means moves people to respond in different ways.  I love how Blacks and Evangelicals and farmers and state employees all have different ways of viewing political issues and working to make change or protect the vulnerable or grow and prosper.

To further disrupt any labels you may have wrongly placed on me: 

- When I worked in politics, back in the early-mid 90's, the legislators I worked for were Democrats.  They were also both Pro-Life.

- The legislator who helped me get my first foot in the door in politics (Gordon Ropp - Bloomington), was a Republican.

- I've probably voted for more Republican candidates in my life than Democrats.   (I even flirted with the idea voting for Ross Perot, just to see what would happen in a Perot administration).

- When I heard there was a shortage of Election Judges this year, I jumped at the chance to serve in that way.  But because I don't identify with a political party, I'm not eligible.

But while I value my right to vote and participate in voting, I also recognize that politics is not the thing that will bring the Kingdom of Heaven any quicker.  It will hopefully ensure that we have highways and clean air and schools and protection for the elderly and those without a voice....but in the big scheme of things....the mission God has given to me and to you to love him and love others doesn't change whether Trump or Biden are in the White House.

There are people who want you to believe that if you are a Christian, you have to vote for _________.  If you are Pro-Life, you have to vote for ______.      They're listening for the secret code words so they can put people in a political box.  I'm hearing some frightened people worrying that the election of one or the other candidate will cause destruction.   I'm afraid those fearful friends have forgotten who God is.  They have elevated politics over the Name that is above all names.

The truth is, it's much more nuanced than a Christian box.

So do your research.  Turn off CNN and Fox News.  Talk to your friends about politics (over coffee or dinner, not over Facebook).  Listen to different sides.   Vote the way God leads you.  

And then go on with your life - loving people and proclaiming the Good News.   God will continue to be on the throne, regardless of who is in the White House.

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