I was listening to NPR this morning. They had a segment on the political campaign in key States, one of which is Virginia. Liberty University, a Baptist University founded by Jerry Falwell was featured in the segment. They are canceling classes on election day and bussing students to the poles to vote in hopes that they will get John McCain elected. It’s estimated that 80-90% of the school is Republican. What intrigued me is when the News Anchor from NPR asked around if anyone knew of a student there who was a Democrat. No one did. One student said she used to know one, but he transferred out. The News Anchor didn’t give up, but kept up her search and eventually found a couple of Liberty University students working Obama’s campaign. She asked the students what reaction they get from fellow Liberty U students when they say they’re working on Obama’s campaign. One commented that oftentimes the immediate comment from students is: “Are you Christian?”
It amazes me that Christianity in some parts has been reduced to and identified with a strictly right wing, Republican platform. To such people, to vote otherwise is to be “un-Christian.” How very sad and shortsighted. Of course such thinking often comes down to being “Pro-Life” (although this same camp lined up to support war, probably would be for the death penalty, and supports policies which strangle struggling families). The other policy which makes these people upstanding “Christians” is an anti-gay marriage stance. (although I hear very little from this camp about outlawing divorce in an age of rampant divorce, when gay people are seeking to make a commitment!).
And lest I be labeled a die hard Democrat, I would have the same issues if being “Christian” was associated with the Democratic party.
In my estimation, for one who is a follower of Christ, to vote is a very difficult thing to do indeed, as neither political Party lines up fully with Christ’s values, like the preciousness of life, care and concern for the poor and the least among us, embracing the marginalized, selling what we have and giving it to the poor, being more concerned with others than ourselves, loving one’s enemies, etc. To identify one political party as being “Christian” is to be blind and narrowly defines “Christian” values. Read the Gospels. Just read the Gospels. Get to know the person of Christ. If we do, one would not easily embrace any political party as fully embodying Christian values as over against another. If we truly get to know the person of Christ and seek to emulate his teaching, would we, like him, have anywhere to lay our heads?