I struggle to understand why the most devout Christians tend to vote Republican*. It’s a bold statement coming from someone who uses the atheist label (albeit only for lack of something better) – and I am always reluctant to bring it up publicly. I don’t have the right.
I’ve had this conversation with a good friend, who is also a devout Christian, and she’s as baffled as I am. Through her, I discovered a brilliantly well-written blog, Faithful Democrats, whose tagline is “Because Jesus Wasn’t Kidding About Loving Your Neighbor“. Not only is there a community of intelligent and articulate Christian Democrats who see the same hypocrisy, but they are snarky, too. I’m in love.
There are a number of really great posts, such as Voting Biblical Values, Who would Jesus vote for?, and Buttprints in the Sand. (That last one isn’t quite as coherent as some of the others, but it cracks me up, so it gets a mention.)
The underlying idea of all of the posts is that Jesus, as he is represented in the Bible, preached about love of your neighbor, providing for the poor, and leaving the passing of judgement on others to God. Sound familiar?
It’s pointless for me to try to represent Christian values, when it’s already been done more eloquently by actual Christians. Here’s just a sample:
Giving to “God the things that are God’s” requires promoting a government that serves the good of the people, by lifting up lowly, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, giving education to the ignorant, and welcoming strangers and foreigners.
From Voting Biblical Values:
I am voting biblical principles on November 6th. I am voting for President Obama because he protects the sanctity of life, not just while it’s in the womb, but with health care, education, and a social safety net that insures no one gets left behind and that women will continue to have access to family planning and if need be, safe and legal abortions. I am voting for President Obama because he supports not just one hetero-normative model for families, but rather stands by families in their beautiful diversity and believes who we love should never stand between us and our civil rights. I am voting for President Obama because he understands care for the environment entrusted to us is not the butt of a joke, but our solemn responsibility. I am voting for President Obama because Jesus simply was not kidding when he demanded we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, heal the sick, and care for the least of these in our midst.
As Christians, it does not matter if a person deserves our help or not. We are commanded to give it, no matter what. Jesus did not say, “whatever you’ve done for the least of these who deserve help, you’ve done for me.” He did not command, “feed my sheep who are hungry through no fault of their own.” Do. Love. Serve. No qualifications, no exceptions. (Do you know who did say we should only love those who deserve it? Ayn Rand). The reason we do this is because every single person bears the image and likeness of God. We don’t love people because of what they have or haven’t done; we love the Christ that is within them.
I’ll likely be exploring this topic more in future blog posts, beyond just the role of Christianity in American politics. While I identify as an atheist, the values I live by are the same as the Biblical values outlined above – and I just consider them to be good moral sense.
* To be fair, I don’t even know if this is true – but it is certainly the impression that the Republican party (and their media outlet, Fox News) would like you to believe.