Years ago, I was leading a Bible study about Christian character. I asked everyone to try and think of a person who exemplified Christian character. A couple looked at one another and said, “What about John?”
They both agreed that this man named John lived a life that pointed to Christ. Everything they knew about him illustrated following Jesus. Then, they both shook their heads, and one of them with resignation, “Yeah, but he’s a Democrat. How could he be a Christian and a Democrat?”
A few weeks later, I was at the Romero Center in Camden, NJ, talking with my friend Larry DiPaul. I told him the story, and he laughed, “I was thinking, ‘How could someone be a Christian and a Republican?’”
Two diametrically opposed views. One thinks it is impossible to be a Christian and a Democrat. The other thinks it is impossible to be a Christian and a Republican. It seems simplistic, to me, to say, neither one is correct. But, neither party is the Christian party. In the U.S., neither major political party has the moral high ground.
What should a Christian do?
- Study the Bible.
- Learn about the Christian tradition. Include all its blemishes (e.g. the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, and Colonialism).
- And, vote.
We should vote as if we had to form a theological defense for our decision. Like all theology, different theologians come to different conclusions. For example, Schleiermacher and Barth diverged in their views on election. These differences do not reflect a right/wrong dichotomy, but they point to the depth of God. Likewise, when two people look at two candidates and draw two different conclusions, the different views are not right and wrong. They are part of the differences God created in humanity.
“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.”Revelation 7.9
More to come…