We all know how polarized politics in America has become. It’s as if no one can get anything done because, no one can even have a conversation (discussion of significant importance with significant differences of opinion) anymore. The only conversations taking place are the ones with the guys who agree with one’s own position. It’s no wonder that hardly anything is getting done. Sadly, I think evangelical Christians must accept some, if not a big part, of the blame for this mess.
You see, I’ve heard myself talk out loud in very polarizing ways about certain positions of the Democrats and Republicans, and I’ve heard myself demonize certain political leaders. I do this even when I know that God’s word teaches me to pray for the leaders of my country. I’ve also heard a lot of Christians do the same thing, spouting polarizing opinions as if what they were saying was “gospel truth” that every “good christian” would obviously agree with, and then meanly demonizing human beings made in God’s image. The last time I checked, the Republican agenda for America is equally flawed in certain ways that it rebels against God’s kingdom, and equally laudable for the certain ways that it embraces values of God’s kingdom. At the very same time, the last time I looked, the Democratic agenda for America is also equally laudable for certain ways that it embraces God’s kingdom, and deplorable for the certain ways that it rebels against God’s kingdom. We all know this to be true, yet evangelical Christians have been a big part of the current political mess because we’ve chosen sides, believing Jesus agrees with our side.
Here’s another part of the problem. I see so many of the millennial generation becoming “free range” Christians, or as one guy called it “post evangelical” Christians, as a result of the abuses they’ve experienced in the church. They are simply tapping out of participation in church. I’m going to take a wild swing at it and guess this same group has also tapped out when it comes to even voting at all due to the polarizing shenanigans they have experienced with politicians in their generation.
So, in the end we have a big group of believers still thinking that jumping into bed with power (whatever shade of power most reflects their understanding of Jesus – be it Democrat or Republican) fueling the current polarization in America’s communal life, and another big group checking out of the entire discussion of communal life altogether. Not good!
We’ve got to be sobered once again by what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13 and not explain it away. He plainly says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13: 1-2 We also need to vote our conscience when given the opportunity, and do it without demonizing others who didn’t vote our way. Finally, we need to consider running for public office, and if we don’t run for public office, pray that God would raise up godly politicians like William Wilberforce who will serve Jesus in an honorable way through public service.