What? Politics Again?

March 30, 2008

I’m clearly quite confused and… conflicted in this matter right now. So please excuse the uncertainty with which this whole string of thoughts progresses.

When it comes down to it, I don’t want our nations laws to stand in favor of things like abortion or homosexual marriage. Honestly, I don’t think changing the laws will fix the problem… but I do believe there is something significant in what we will call right and wrong as a nation. And, legitimately, people do take a lot of their moral cues from what is legal or illegal. Then again… the majority of people I know don’t hesitate for a moment to speed and break traffic laws, unless they expect that they may get caught.

Nonetheless, I have such a violent opposition to becoming republican. Perhaps it is because I am sick of being told that all good Christians are republicans. (And believe me, I have been told.) Perhaps it is that simple resistance to conforming. Perhaps it is a slight detection of hypocrisy in a select few that is causing me to want to jet in the opposite direction. Whatever the real reason may be, I cannot really stomach the idea of joining the conservative Christian political bandwagon. I just can’t do it.

I value integrity so highly that it can almost seem absurd at times. Believe me… this has been the source of more than one conflict in my life. There is not enough integrity in the republican party to win my vote.

At the same time, I can’t call myself a democrat, either. I love nature and I love the idea of trying to take steps NOT to completely destroy the planet. He will destroy those who destroy the earth, after all. Sadly, few things move my heart quite like a good forest on the side of a mountain. If only I could learn to love people quite as much.

I like the idea of making decisions with those who are less affluent in mind. But, I don’t exactly think that government programs are the answer to caring for the poor and the needy. The church needs to get out there and love people. (Of course, this also has many implications in the now-turned-political issues of abortion and homosexuality.) Maybe I refuse to become a democrat because I have never really seen a democratic politician who I did not find extraordinarily slimy and gross.

Maybe I think democrats are more openly sleazy and that’s why they don’t infuriate me quite as much. It always feels like the republicans are trying harder to convince me that they are good boys and good girls… and that’s why I should vote for them. I have always had a greater disdain for that which pretended to be good and wholesome but was nothing but a network of filth, lies and corruption beneath the surface. I think I’d rather live in a visibly run-down apartment than a freshly painted house that is filled with mold and whose internal structure has been completely destroyed by termites.

Oh I don’t know! I know I’m not a democrat. I know I’m not a republican.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think that I do have relatively liberal leanings. I’m a rationalist… we’re big on independence and freedom (to the point of it being a flaw). I like equality and freedom and all of that. But I know that we need something to keep us in check… we need boundaries and we need restraint. We, meaning humanity in general, don’t do too well when we are left to our own. So the idea of preserving individual liberty is a little frightening. Because I’ve seen a small extent of what people choose to do with their freedoms.

If I am relatively liberal… than I also strongly disagree with myself. Oy!

I have never found a politician that I really wanted to back. I am not a democrat. I am not a republican. I do not fully (or even mostly) agree with the positions of either party. And… as wonderful as they may teach us that our American Democracy may be… I don’t buy it. I will pray for our government and our leaders. But when it comes to choosing the lesser of two evils… do I really have to choose?

Here’s the thing… it’s all a mess. Our laws aren’t COMPLETELY pointless, but…  Eventually, the restraint will be lifted. The wickedness of man will climax in an exercise of its potential that we have never seen, and God will come in vengeance. It’s going to be very bloody and very violent. But praise the Lord, it is going to happen. As much as I appreciate individual freedom, we don’t govern ourselves well. And we don’t pick other people to govern us very well, either.

But… here’s the Gospel. God’s leadership is perfect. And Jesus is coming back to reign on the earth… like, to really reign on the earth. And then I don’t have to be a democrat or a republican. He is going to make wrong things right. He is going to bring perfect justice. He is bringing righteousness to the earth. I have no grid for it now, but I believe that it is true.

I don’t want to have a throw-in-the-towel attitude. But trying to make something good of our political system and deeply investing myself in it kind of feels like trying to build a wall of legos to hold back the tidal wave that is headed for our shores. It’s kind of a waste of time… and energy. I will appeal to the God who has power to hold back the tidal wave… but I’m going to let the legos sit in their little tubs.

I know some of you disagree with me. And I respect that. And you may even be right. (Oh, you probably are right.) But, for now, it would seem that I am still frustratingly apolitical.



  1. Oy… I’d better quit or I’m going to have to create a “politics” category on my blog. Oh Lord, save me!

  2. I know your frustration. I hate the position we’re put in in America.

    In almost every way except for gay marriage and abortion I’m sympathetic to the democrats. They care about ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants, poor, dispossessed. And all of these are sound, explicit biblical principles. They are much closer to the heart of God on these issues than republicans. On the other hand they want to murder our babies and allow gay marriage, which are issues I obviously will not compromise on. So I cannot in good conscience vote democrat.

    On the other hand, Republicans don’t really care for the poor, the dispossessed and the minorities. And they outright distrust and dislike immigrants. These are important issues on the heart of God as well. Enough so for him to command us repeatedly to take care of these people groups.

    So where does that leave people like me?

    But then I remember that we’re really lucky in America. The fact that abortion and gay marriage are still topics for discussion is a sign of how we’re not as bad off as we could be. In Europe, it seems to me, the issue of abortion has long since stopped being an issue (except in Poland and a few other nations that still hold out). If I lived there, it wouldn’t be a problem of who I would vote for. It would be a problem of never getting to vote at all.

    Personally, I’m praying for God to bring about a shift in the democratic party. They care about the voiceless in every way except for abortion. Logically, they would be the best defenders of the unborn if something would change. They’ll still be corrupt, spiritually bankrupt politicians for the most part, but they’ll be accomplishing some good.

  3. I have lately been contemplating the insignificance and futility of nationalism, in comparison to which partisanship is even more absurd. But if I’m going to be identified as anything, I will gladly claim liberal or “democrat”–well, not so much gladly, but unequivocally, given the two choices and, frankly, with no less reservation or repulsion than I might, say, don a denominational mantle.

    At the risk of sounding like a liberal shill . . . I don’t see Democrats as favoring abortion or gay marriage, though there are certainly some in our midst who do and even those of us who emphatically don’t are culpable in our tolerance.

    Hillary gave a speech once in which she called on Pro Life and Pro Choice forces to come together and seek actual reductions in abortion, instead of the posturing and the extremist pontificating. Sadly, like most political rhetoric, nothing came of it. But there is an increasingly vocal constituency in the party that advocates for the rights of the unborn and I still believe that the best hope (between the two parties, that is) for real solutions to this scourge is on the Left. In any case, I feel that if I voted Republican, I’d be taking a quixotic stand against one–admittedly repugnant–form of violence while embracing several others, whose impact, I cannot be convinced, is any less devastating (even against the unborn and innocent), even individually, let alone en masse.

    On the issue of gay marriage, again, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a majority of Democrats in favor of it. Though, again again, you’ll obviously find more proponents who are D than R. I favor civil unions–for individuals who are sharing their lives; I’d rather not know what’s going on in their bedrooms, thank you very much. In fact, I believe that civil unions are not only a humane response to those whose lifestyle we don’t accept but towards the celibate who are also deprived of key legal rights and opportunities.

    And, frankly, with divorce rates what they are, even on the Right, even in the Church, I’m not sure I buy the argument that we’re somehow safeguarding the sanctity of marriage by denying dignity, health care and legal protection to those with whom we disagree.

    I’m pretty sure that that won’t convince either of you. I’m not even sure that it convinces me. Like Mike said one year at One Thing: “Left Wing, Right Wing–the whole bird is sick.” Thankfully, as you indicated, our hope is not in horses or chariots, political platforms or policy statements. Salvation belongs to the LORD.

  4. I said “no less” in the first paragraph, which I suppose is about as good. But I meant “no more” . . . .

  5. I would dispute the contention that republicans don’t care for the poor, dispossessed, or minorities, but democrats do.

    I would say that the government only cares about the poor, disposessed, and minorities to the degree that it serves larger goals of achieving and increasing political power. I think it is way easier to find examples of obvious cynical self-promotion, either party, than it is to find examples of unblemished christian altruism.

    One example to illustrate: I am not and have never been a smoker. Not once. Hate it. Gross.
    How do I feel when politicians say, “let’s tax the smokers to fund nonsmoking program x”. I feel violated. The politicians are saying, “let’s get any majority to impose any tax on any minority” – it’s immoral, it’s stealing, and anyone who is not in the minority to be oppressed is an accomplice to the theft. It’s only not criminal in that the courts don’t yet have “equal protection” language for this case. Perhaps “breathing orientation” is a civil group that can become a protected minority.

    No politician can “care” about the poor, disposessed, or minorities in a meaningful way without money. Tax money. The government cannot legally minister to spiritual need, and can’t even acknowledge basic moral or civil behavior without getting dragged into court by the ACLU [boy scouts, for example].

    Christians must not shirk their responsibilities to advocate social justice and ministry to the poor, but that doesn’t mean stealing from some to give to others. God supplies and we give, no? We just need the liberty to do so.

    I’ll be voting for whomever advocates less government and more liberty, thank you very much.

  6. Oh, and no republicans I know distrust or dislike immigrants. Criminals, yes. Potential terrorists, sure. I’m sure many democrats also distrust and dislike criminals and terrorists.
    …Unless they’re asking for their votes…

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