My soapbox

Welcome to my first ever (and likely last) political blog post. I want to say up front that I mean no offense, and I don’t expect most of you to agree with me, and I’m truly not doing this to open up a heated debate between sides. But it’s time for me to respond to the statement/accusation I encounter practically every day: “But… but you’re a Christian. You can’t be a Democrat!” I just want to state my case, just once ... just because I can.

To me, the very foundation of Christianity is the right to choose whether to accept or reject God. We choose when to come to Him, how to come to Him, how much of Him we will accept into our lives, how closely we will follow His Word, and if we will come to Him. The ultimate gentleman, He never forces us to receive Him. He could, you know, but He doesn’t. He loves us beyond anything we can fathom, yet He wants us come to Him because we want to, not because we have to. The New Testament teaches us that serving God is not about the law; it’s about the attitudes of our hearts. That’s how we find Him, that’s how He knows us. Throughout our whole lives, God gives us free will and then He roots for us to make the right choices.

So when I look at politics, I take the same approach. If God, creator and ruler of the universe, allows us free will to make choices – choices with eternal ramifications, the most important choices we could ever make – than who am I to make those choices for someone else? I cannot choose whether someone should be able to have an abortion. I cannot decide what someone can or cannot say or how they will express their freedoms. (If I do, they’re not freedoms.) I mustn’t declare that some people have rights over others, and I mustn’t judge that simply because someone lives in a state of sin (according to my standards, or even those of God), they do not deserve the fundamental rights the rest of us have. Christ died for all of us while we were yet sinners. We cannot regulate morality. Even the Lord did not do that. He offers guidelines; He gives us rules; He rewards us for following them. But it all boils down to individual choice. If we, as followers of Christ, will choose to operate within the freeing realm of His will, politics and party affiliations really become irrelevant. When we act right, there won’t be a need to regulate us.

I don’t believe I have the right to make crucial life decisions for someone else. But I do believe, rather than slinging mud and bashing those who disagree with me, I should put my focus into educating people. Teaching them about God. Showing them through my actions and by example that I genuinely care. Helping and counseling them to make Biblical choices. I am more likely to have an impact that way than by voting for a particular party. And I also think about this: who is more likely to effect change? Someone who’s never struggled, someone who shouts judgments at a woman who is deciding whether she can go through with an abortion … or someone who has experienced the same struggle, someone who can say with genuine emotion and empathy that she’s been there, and these are the consequences she’s experienced from the decision she made? I’d prefer, rather than taking it all into my own hands, to give God the chance to work through His imperfect people. As He has always done.

As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors. We are to be Jesus’ hands extended. To me, one way to do this is to feed, shelter, nurture, educate, protect, and nurse the sick and the poor and the underprivileged. We cannot decide certain people don't qualify for kindness, and we cannot take away opportunities simply because there are people who will abuse the system. In my mind, the Democratic party’s approach more closely embodies what we are to do as individual Christians and allows us the freedoms we are granted within our chosen faith.

And no matter the outcome, no matter who ends up in office, I will pray for our leaders’ wisdom and right choices. I will pray for compassion and peace and provision and blessings. And I will thank God daily for putting me in a place and time in which I am allowed to express my views and find my own ways to give glory to the Almighty God.


Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! Very nicely stated.

the camp said...

thank you kelly.

Anonymous said...

Kelly, you are a treasure. The truth in your words brought tears to my eyes. If I could vote for YOU, I would, but since that isn't possible, I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama this November because I think that he is the more likely candidate to fight for the sick, the poor and the underprivileged. I thank you for your courage...I know that so many people that you love and respect are offended by your positions. We must speak out in times like these, though...and you've shown us that doing it with love is the best approach. I am so proud to be your friend!
Love, Sharon

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! See the signs in my yard. I am with you 100%. - Angie R.

SB. said...

Kelly, I was very surprised to read this...not because it's from you, but only because I am constant witness to "Christians" saying they have to be Republican.
I'm always dismayed (to put it lightly) by those comments, particularly since I see the politics and government separate from individuals' faiths.
It's so refreshing for this progressive liberal to read your post. It is about freedom. It is about individual rights. And it is about behaving with kindness and tolerance to each other. Thanks so much for e-mailing me your post, sweetie.

Corinne said...

Beautifully put, as always. I saw a bumper- sticker on Sunday that said "proud member of the Christian Left." I (not a bumper-sticker kind of girl) loved that. My God reached out to the unwashed, unwanted, untouchables (Kids? Widows? Lepers? How shocking!) and called on society to care for them. That's what I want from my society too. Thank you for a great post.

Brian and Carrie Saunders said...

Kelly, Very well written. Thank you for the reminder that it is not up to us to judge someone else. What matters is not who you vote for but rather in Whom do you put your faith. Democrat or Republican; God loves us all and wants us all in His Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've always wondered how any Republican could be a Christian! For instance, I know for sure that our current Pres could not possibly be a Christian, because a true Christian would know that one day he'd have to face his God and account for himself and his life on earth. And George has never worried about this.

smokeytim said...

This may be the only time that I comment on a post from my lovely wife. It is not because I do not care about her writing. She could write circles around me any day of the week and my writing pales in comparison. My wife and I share the same Christian views and attitude but we are on opposite sides when it comes to politics. This does not mean that either one of us is a lesser Christian. We have just chosen which side we will root for when it comes to the election. I agree with Kelly that regardless of who gets in, we will pray that they will lead us in the right direction and support the good things that come our way.

Timothy A. Stanley

Barb said...

I just taught a CCD lesson on free will and I love the way you've applied it here. I too have heard - "but as a catholic you have an obligation to vote republican." I feel obliged to vote, but not for a specific party. But in this case - know that there's another Hoosier democrat out here that agrees with you!

Whidden-Phillips said...

Wow- I love your blog. And I love this post- as a member of the Christian Left in Crawfordsville- I had no idea I was in such great company!