Posted by: Nathan | October 30, 2008

Christian Unity and Political Division

Oh crap, here we go. We at Ahab’s Quest generally shy away from discussion of politics for several reasons: there is a myriad of other web sites on which you can find better (and worse) political coverage; we want everyone to feel at home reading our blog regardless of party affiliation; and we are not sure we have the expertise to give you good political fodder. But now, days away from “the most important election EVER”*, we’re weighing in on the one issue that we simply cannot ignore any longer: our frustration and disappointment regarding how the Church is mistreating its own because of politics.

My ire derives from both sides of the political aisle. Let’s start with the left. This election has been fascinating because the Democratic candidate for president has much more sway with Christians than in years past. Barack Obama is an intelligent and magnetic man, and his bid comes at a time when many of the traditionally important Christian issues (e.g. abortion) are on the back burner. I do not object to the choice of candidate but rather the superior attitude I’ve observed in many left-leaning believers. In my observation, people who vote Democrat are prone to assume that everyone votes Democrat (though I’ve met a few Republicans with the same problem). It’s intolerable hubris. Let the world act the way it will; it’s saddening that so many Christians adopt this arrogance. I’ve experienced anti-Republican bias even in my own church. When we talked about “the right candidate,” everyone knew who he was. The damage from this type of prejudice comes about tacitly. The “wink-wink, isn’t the Right stupid?” attitude that exudes from these people is noisome.

Right-leaning Christians are guilty of other faults. Too many believers are unwilling or unable to understand the viewpoints of others. There are two candidates in this election for whom a Christian can vote without remorse. All of the Christians I’ve talked with who are prObama (and I know many) have excellent, thought-out reasons for their choice. Jesus is not running for President, so every person must decide for squiself which candidate aligns most closely with God’s agenda. Worse than this, though, I’ve talked to a few believers who have suggested that Sen. Obama is the antichrist. One person told me Obama might be the antichrist because “somebody has to be.” Of course, that same ridiculous rationale can be used on anyone. What do we gain by making use of this sort of rhetoric? It shows a disturbing willingness to assign one of the most nefariuos labels in existence to a stranger only because of that person’s politics. It’s absurd, stupid, and abominable.

The larger issue, of course, is that Christians trade in their eternal commonalities for temporal differences far too easily. This is one election; four years from now, we’ll vote for a president again. How can we possibly be a united body of Christ when differences of opinion cause such back-biting and vitriol? We must remember our priorities: “I … entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:1-3). Christians have diversity within the body, and it’s meant to be that way. Sometimes, these differences will result in contrasting opinions. Vote for McCain or Obama as your conscience and mind dictate. Let us respect and love each other enough to appreciate the individuality of each person while remembering that we’re one in Christ. The unbelieving world does not need another reason to detest the Church.

*We will hear this about every election henceforth.

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Responses

  1. Nice post. I agree!

  2. Congrats on the thesis!

  3. Very well said.

  4. Good post!


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