Politics and Jesus

I never thought of myself as a political person -- not until some of my core beliefs were challenged and threatened. I do not see within the Republican party an emphasis on social justice, equality for minorities, including women and those within the LGBTQ community, or any semblance of interest or emphasis upon a welcoming openness to foreigners (and especially Muslims). Not until 2015 did I begin to think more deeply about politics, politicians, and public laws and statutes.

Comedian Jon Stewart asks: "If con is the opposite of pro, then isn't Congress the opposite of progress?" (link) If you are to survive politics you must keep a good sense of humor about yourself. Otherwise, you will become a bitter individual, with whom no one will want to associate. When you watch a political debate, or even watch the evening news, you must keep your head about you, not allowing what is said to destroy your integrity, and try to view matters as does your opponent(s).

There are good politicians, mediocre politicians, and bad politicians -- and different people will fill those categories according to the opinions of the public. "A thief stuck a pistol in a man's ribs and said, 'Give me your money.' The gentleman, shocked by the sudden attack, said 'You cannot do this, I'm a United States congressman!' The thief said, 'In that case, give me my money!'" (link) For years I was taught that Republicans represent traditional family or Christian values. My parents were Democrats until the advent of Ronald Reagan. This was the era of the late Jerry Falwell, the Moral Majority, and when Christians began to take politics seriously.

Oddly enough, when Southern Baptist Jerry Falwell and those of his persuasion began to engage themselves politically with the Republican party, they did so not on the grounds of the pro-life movement, which did not yet exist, but on the grounds of segregation. That's right, these "Christians" were racists, and Falwell finally did repent of his deplorable sin of racism. (link) I heard a professor of a prominent Southern Baptist seminary in North Carolina confess to his own struggles with racism within his heart. (Not until 2014 did the Southern Baptist Convention officially repent of its racist past. (link) Odd, I think, that those people could consider themselves Christians and regenerate children of God while retaining racist beliefs in their heart. But I digress.) If the Christians on "the right" were, in the 1970s, no longer touting segregation, in rallying people to vote Republican, then what would be their rallying cry?

Those of the Moral Majority were seeking for a platform as a rallying cry for Christians to support the Republican party. Jerry Falwell used to utter his three-point mantra: "Get them saved; get them baptized [and thus tithing members of the church]; and get them registered to vote [Republican]." (link) This was the atmosphere in which I was reared: Republicanism was the Christian party; and, since this was the Christian party, then the anti-Christian party was the DNC (Democratic National Convention). Why? Because of the new mantra: Republicans voted pro-life while Democrats voted pro-choice. The Christian Right had found its voice; and, since then, most conservative evangelicals will support any nominee for the Republican party -- even Donald J. Trump -- on this issue alone.

I have seen pictures of abortions and I have heard horror stories from women who had abortions. I still believe that life begins at conception. But I cannot forget a statement Hillary Clinton made in her autobiography, Living History, regarding the governmental control of Romania or China on its citizens concerning childbirth: "One reason I continue to oppose efforts to criminalize abortion is that I do not believe any government should have the power to dictate, through law or police action, a woman's most personal decision." (emphasis added) So the issue here is contextualized within a framework of governmental control over its citizens.

Clinton continues: "[The Romanian dictatorship in the 1980s] banned birth control and abortion, insisting that women bear children for the sake of the state. Women told me how they had been carted from their workplace once a month to be examined by government doctors whose task was to make sure they weren't using contraceptives or aborting pregnancies. I could not imagine a more humiliating experience." (pp. 354-55) A Democrat wants to avoid governmental tyranny. That will not satisfy the pro-life advocate, no doubt, but we are thinking through these issues on grounds of criminalization and not necessarily on when conception begins. Also, consider two other issues, including: 1) a woman's body does abort some babies; and 2) we have had 20 years of Republican presidents (Ronald Reagan for 8 years, George H.W. Bush for 4 years, and George W. Bush for 8 years) and abortion is still legal -- nearly 10 million babies aborted under the 20-year leadership of Republicans and yet evangelicals think voting Republican is the Christian vote on the grounds of a pro-life agenda. When will evangelicals wake up and realize that voting Republican will not end abortion?

I learned last year that much of my cultural values and ethics align with those of the Democratic party. I in no sense whatsoever view the Republican party as the Christian party, or the American political party which God favors, and I pity those who do. Also, we must remember, at least regarding abortion, that there are pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans, so this issue is not necessarily a strict Democratic/Republican issue. As far as God is involved in politics, I disagree that God is responsible for placing people within their respective political seats, as per Daniel 2:21 (cf. Ps. 75:7), given God's own statement that the people of Israel chose princes and kings of their own liking and without His approval (cf. Hos. 8:3-4). Moreover, God's future government will be monarchical, not democratic. (Ps. 9:7-12; 145:13; 146:10; Dan. 4:34; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Pet. 5:11 Rev. 11:15; 15:3) God's politics will rule for eternity.


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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.