Frustratingly Apolitical

February 11, 2008

That’s me.

A friend of mine frequently likes to apply the labels of “democrat” and “liberal” to me. I don’t know why he so delights in doing this, but he does. I don’t understand why he persists in this habit, but he does. It seems that the man takes every opportunity he can get to make some sort of little side remark about it and to lump me in as “one of them”.

When I told my dad about this friend’s perplexing habit, my dad’s surprised reaction was, “That not really fair, ’cause you’re NOT.”

Do you hear that, world? I’m not a democrat. More importantly: did you hear that, Richard?

When I asked my friend why he’s always calling me names like that, his simple answer was, “Because you are.” I don’t even remotely question the fact that he is wrong. But it puzzles me a great deal.

My dad’s continued response was, “You are frustratingly apolitical.” He also declared that no one would be happier for it to be true than he would. And it’s true… my dad would be delighted if my political leanings were liberal… if I had political leanings at all, in fact.

I didn’t vote in the most recent elections. And it was a costly decision for me. I think my parents nearly disowned me when I stubbornly held to that decision. This choice was not me taking the easy way out, by any means. I received a lot of harassment for making that move… from my family and from my friends and classmates. But it was not enough to sway me.

And I imagine that many of you are reacting right now with similar disappointment and even disgust.

To be completely honest, I have been seriously considering voting in the upcoming presidential elections. VERY seriously. But, as my discussion with my father continued on, last night, I think I might have ended up talking myself out of it. We’ll see what happens in the end. As of right now, however, I will probably not be voting for our next president.

I have a lot of reasons for not voting. While I am tempted to elaborate on those reasons here, I will not. I have no desire to dissuade others from participating in the elections. (If you really care to know, though, ask me in personal conversation some time and I will gladly share.) Some of my reasons are immature, no doubt. Some of them are silly; some of them, naive. But I believe that many of my reasons are quite valid… and I am very likely to stick to my decision.

I didn’t give in last time. And I am certainly not going to be persuaded by arguments related to how it is my duty and what a difference I would make. I am a mathematician. I know better. (For the record, I don’t play the lottery, either.)

I still pray for our president and for the elections themselves. God is still listening to my prayers and they have no less value before him because of the fact that I am not casting my ballot. I may lose power in political debates with people because I have not participated in the elections. You may notice, however, that I’m not typically interested in political debates.

I’m still paying attention to the primaries. I’m still praying for our nations government. And I may even vote in the next elections. But… I didn’t last time, and I’m not making any promises this time.

When I tried to explain this to my liberal-hunting friend, he suggested that what I was saying would actually be worse. If it is, then it is. Call me apolitical and call it a bad thing… but don’t call me something that I am not. I will gladly own being what I am and believing what I believe.

I am not a republican. I am not a democrat. Though I have to admit that I have a lot of respect for those in the body of Christ who are democrats. They have to put up with a lot of junk from their republican brothers and sisters. A LOT. And I love that they are willing to put up with that and hold firm to their beliefs.

I know it’s a little risky, telling everyone where I stand on this. Especially when I am not offering any defense of my position. But… there you have it. I am “frustratingly apolitical” and likely to remain so.



  1. Just for the record, I am simultaneously proud in the midst of my frustration. And, hey, it could be worse; you could be one of “them.” 😉 (and a little :-p) But seriously, um, on both counts. In the final analysis, I’m inclined to think that prayers count more than votes and that those of us who claim to follow Jesus should be be Monarchists rather than republicans or democrats. It may even be that refusing to be political is a form of non-aggression and, leftist looney that I am, I have a lot of empathy for those folks too.

  2. “I didn’t vote, no I’m not proud.
    I’m Canadian, and I’m not allowed”– Relient K

    As long as you are praying, it works… it’s voting in the spirit. I think the really fun part is that everybody is “them” to “those people”.

  3. The same friend calls me a socialist at least once a week. Of course, I mostly am. Still makes for incredibly interesting conversations with IHOPers.

  4. Lauren – I have to admit… I was kind of wondering what that friend calls you. Thanks for sharing. My curiousity is now satisfied AND I know that I am not alone in the political name-calling. Oh that friend…

  5. Our country has never needed the principled participation of Christian people more than now. Folks who will be good stewards of the liberty God has given us.

    I think Christians are needed in the political process to stand against two great pressures – the obvious “legislate evil” camp, and the more subtle “oppress for our own good” camp. These movements cooperate to draw our society away from God, and the praying voting church is the only real bulwark against this flow.

    Sometimes the church, in its zeal for outreach in love, becomes an unwitting accomplice to “oppress for our own good” efforts. What Christian person would not advocate a government program to materially improve the lives of the poor by providing food, for example. But wait, if the poor came to the church for food, would they not be helped more thoroughly by receiving from the hands of loving servants of Gods Kingdom? When the poor receive from a government program, they are not being served in love – instead, they become dependent on the state whose purposes are served better by keeping people poor, and dependent, and cannot by law minister to their spiritual neediness.

    Why is Hezbollah so entrenched in Lebanon? When Hezbollah is not busy launching rockets at Isreal and kidnapping soldiers, they run schools, and hospitals, and offer charity to the poor in return for allegiance. They get it.

    Many American churches suffer problems with being relevant – part of the problem is that the charitable works God intends for His body, offering a cup of water in Jesus’ name, have been handed to, or seized by, the government in the hopes of acheiving “our own good” (paid for by taxes on others). It is in loving each other that the love of God shines most brightly, but when charity gets filtered through the government, it doesn’t feel so much like love…

    I think the church, and our country, needs the voices of Christians expressed as effectively and as often as possible. If not us, who?

    [standing down from my soap box. sorry]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: