Some Thoughts on the Election

The votes have been cast and finally we can all go back to our normal everyday lives, free of the incessant barrage of political advertisement, the mud-slinging and the namecalling, and the talking heads of the 24-hour news cycle. Well, maybe not the latter. Somehow they always find something new to ramble on about. But now that the election has been decided it is time to come together behind the man for whom the majority of voters cast their ballots. Already I have heard a vocal opposition to the president-elect from many who would claim the banner of Christianity, and it is their right as citizens to speak their mind about the leadership of this country. To do so, however, in derogatory or demeaning language directed at both the man elected president and those who supported him is a disgrace and a smear to the faith that they themselves claim to hold. The greatest weaponry the enemy possesses against the Church is the division of human politics. The purpose and goal of true faith is not to legislate the morality of a nation through government. The purpose of true faith is to bring people to right living through right faith. When we put our trust and hope in a man to restore our nation and our values and our families and our schools, our hopes are tragically misplaced. 

I have not and will continue to refrain from announcing my own personal vote in this election and all elections. I voted for the man that I felt would do the greatest good for this country. And whether or not the man I voted for is going to walk into the White House in two months, the man who is deserves my respect, my prayers, and my continued participation in democracy yes, but more importantly in the greater adventure that we have been called to. The man entering the White House in two months is doing so not without God’s knowledge. How small is the God of the “Christian” who sees a Democratic administration as a mistake on God’s part. My God is not limited to two issues or placing Republicans in power; nor is He limited to liberation of the poor and placing Democrats in power. He is a God who willingly and knowingly has placed Barack Obama in line to be the next president on the United States. How arrogant is it to say that God has somehow made a mistake, that our families and our nation are in danger, and that the change that is coming will somehow destroy the moral fabric of this nation? To do so is to claim to have knowledge that God Himself does not possess.

Perhaps there is a tone of bitterness or sarcasm coming out in my writing, but the ignorance and arrogance of some people claiming to follow Christ is appalling to me. It is a slap in the face of God’s sovereignty and a slap in the face of the message that Christ came to show. The Jews crucified Christ when they finally understood that He was not the political Messiah they had been looking for. They sought a man who would free them from the oppressive Roman empire. Perhaps Christians have been acting the Pharisees, looking for their man to free them from the oppression of liberal government and the homosexual agenda? I only pray we don’t crucify Christ all over again.

Barack Obama is no Messiah. But neither is he the anti-Christ. He is, however, the next President of the United States and thus deserves the respect of the people. However you look at it, his election is an historic event that should be praised by everyone, especially followers of Christ. You may not agree with his policies, but the election of an African-American to our highest office is a tremendous victory for not just African-Americans, but for America as a whole. You can respect a man without supporting him. It takes a maturity that I’m sure many don’t possess, but as followers of Christ we cannot give in to the trap of bitter politics and name-calling. America has survived far worse trials than a Democratic majority in D.C. 

I’ve been reading through G.K. Chesterton‘s Orthodoxy and he had some interesting things to say about democracy and how we should view those who lead so I’ll end with his thoughts:

“Is there any answer to the proposition that those who have had the best opportunities will probably be our best guides? Is there any answer to the argument that those who have breathed clean air had better decide for those who have breathed foul? As far as I know, there is one answer, and that answer is Christianity. Only the Christian Church can offer any rational objection to a complete confidence in the rich. For she has maintained from the beginning that the danger was not in man’s environment, but in man. . . The whole case for Christianity is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of this life is a corrupt man, spiritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt. . . In the best Utopia, I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment.

“The mere machinery of voting is not democracy, though at the present it is not easy to effect any simpler democratic method. But even the machinery of voting is profoundly Christian in this practical sense – that it is an attempt to get at the opinion of those who would be too modest to offer it. It is a mystical adventure; it is specially trusting those who do not trust themselves. That enigma is strictly peculiar to Christendom. There is nothing really humble about the abnegation of the Buddhist; the mild Hindoo is mild; but he is not meek. But there is something psychologically Christian about the idea of seeking for the opinion of the obscure rather than taking the obvious course of accepting the opinion of the prominent. To say that voting is particularly Christian may seem somewhat curious. To say that canvassing is Christian may seem quite crazy. But canvassing is very Christian in its primary idea. It is encouraging the humble; it is saying to the modest man, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Or if there is some slight defect in canvassing, that is in its perfect and rounded piety, it is only because it may possibly neglect to encourage the modesty of the canvasser.

“All my modern Utopian friends look to each other rather doubtfully, for their ultimate hope is the dissolution of all special ties. But again I seem to hear, like a kind of echo, an answer from beyond the world. ‘You will have real obligations, and therefore real adventures when you get to my Utopia. But the hardest obligation and the steepest adventure will be to get there.”

-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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