It’s definitely election season. Every other Facebook post and TV commercial is declaring the glories of one candidate and the atrocities of another. Some people love this season, others hate it. In college, I was fascinated by politics. I was a history major so it lined up well with my studies. The tension and the competitive nature of it was thrilling for a 21-year-old aspiring intellectual. However, over the last few years I’ve gotten less and less interested in politics.
To avoid misunderstanding, let me clarify. I care deeply about many of the issues politicians champion. I vote, and am glad to do so. I believe freedom is one of the greatest things America has going for us right now, even though I think we abuse it. The difference is that I put virtually no hope in the political process. There are several reasons why, here are 3:
1) Politics Makes Enemies out of My Mission Field
I have one overarching goal in life: to see lots of people meet Jesus. Any other goal in my life is simply a building block of that larger one. This takes building relationships with people who don’t know Him. Most non-Christians are going to disagree with my political views because they have entirely different goals. If every conversation with a non-Christian friend turns into a political debate, I’m wasting time that could be used building the relationship, or talking about Jesus.
Those debates would do little more than push away the very people I’m trying to reach. I’ve watched a lot of debates. I’ve watched politicians debate on TV. I’ve watched friends debate the merits of their favorite candidate. Never once have I seen anyone put their faith in Christ as a result of one of those debates.
2) Jesus Never Talked Politics
Jesus paid his taxes and said everyone else should too. Peter and Paul both said to obey the government, even the wicked governments they lived under (that sanctioned the murder of Christians). Paul even took it to the next level and said to pray for them. Peter once said “we must obey God rather than men,” (Acts 5:29 ESV) but that was because they were ordered to stop talking about Jesus on their own time. So unless the government forbids you to talk about, and follow Jesus, that doesn’t apply to you. That’s about as political as the New Testament gets. If the New Testament doesn’t address politics anymore than that, I have a hard time doing it myself.
3) Jesus Wouldn’t Fit in any of the Political Parties
I grew up believing that the Republican party was virtually an extension of the church. To be fair, it was largely because Republicans were far more likely to be pro-life (a position I still hold firmly) than were the Democrats. It was an admirable move that many evangelicals made to stand up for the rights of the unborn. After all, aren’t we called to care for the least of these?
However, over time, an underlying belief that the Republican party was God’s party grew and grew. It may have been largely unstated, but it was there nonetheless. In the Old Testament, when Joshua was on his way to “attack” Jericho, he was approached by an angel. He said, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” The angel said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord” (Joshua 5:13-14 ESV).
This angel didn’t want to be associated with Israel anymore than the people of Jericho. Even though Israel was God’s covenant people, they were no more perfectly aligned with the nature and character of God than a pagan nation that did not know Him. If that’s how God responded to Israel as they began to conquer Canaan, why would he get anymore excited about a particular American political party?