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It’s So Simple – Or Not

September 29, 2014

Yesterday in church we all received an insert in our order of service bulletin entitled “Voting Your Values” with the subtitle “How You Vote Today Impacts Tomorrow.”  My first thought was “Doesn’t everyone vote their values?”  Don’t we all pick candidates we feel are representatives who will speak accurately for us?  But the title inspired me to read the extensive pamphlet.  Inside I found this charming quote:

Imagine the impact Christians could have on the direction of our government, the character of its leadership and the moral health of our nation if we simply applied biblical principles to every aspect of our lives, including our participation in the democratic process.”  (I’ve put the whole quote in italics but the bold faced words come from the original.)

My first thought was “Wow, these guys seem to be post-millennialists!”  They seem to feel that we can usher in the thousand year reign of peace, harmony and righteousness by “simply” applying biblical principles when we vote.

This was followed by the hint of warning I felt when I zeroed in on the word “simply” in the quote above.  They couldn’t be saying that understanding and applying the complex teachings of the Bible on moral and ethical issues can be “simply” read into today’s culture could they?  Giving them the benefit of the doubt I assumed that perhaps they meant that the process of voting was simple.  With that assumption in mind I began to look for help in their hand-out in defining those biblical principles for us.

Were they going to tell us to vote for people who would stand up for the oppressed and the disenfranchised?  Nope.  That wasn’t there.

How about people who would succor and care for the poor and disadvantaged?  Nope, that does not seem to be important either.

OK, then what about people who are peacemakers?  Should we vote for those who champion turning the other cheek and going the second mile?  Nope, that doesn’t seem to be required either.

Uhhhh, what about people who are good stewards of the world that God has given us; who care for environmental resources?  Nope , no need to worry about that.

In fact the only biblical principles that seemed to matter to these folks were “the value of human life, the definition of marriage, and the freedom to express our faith in public.”  End of story.  To be fair I went to their website but didn’t find any other biblical principles there either.  I did find a way for me to sign up for their cause but no discussion as to what values are truly biblical.  Sigh.  While I am sure they don’t want it, I’ve got some advice for the writers of this piece.

  • Don’t treat the rest of us as stupid. Don’t tell us that understanding biblical principles is simple when we all know that theologians have been wrestling with this for centuries.
  • Don’t pick and choose a few that you like and expect we will follow like lemmings. I’m cool with you championing the things that are important to you but don’t pretend that your choices are all there is to biblical principles.
  • If you want your point of view to appeal to more than a small section of middle class suburban whites use some pictures in your illustrations of people other than middle class suburban whites. I’m pretty sure that Jesus was concerned about every tribe and nation and you might want to show that you are too.

Having said that, I agree we should vote our values.  Just don’t let somebody else tell you what those values need to be; don’t let someone else choose them for you.

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From → Christianity

2 Comments
  1. Heather permalink

    Your three points are definitely worth consideration and I believe can apply to any of us who get so wrapped up in our personal, narrow-view convictions that we forget there might be more to the overall picture.

    I did have a couple of additional thoughts.

    My first thought was “Wow, these guys seem to be post-millennialists!” They seem to feel that we can usher in the thousand year reign of peace, harmony and righteousness by “simply” applying biblical principles when we vote.

    Although I’m not postmillennialist, the ones with whom I’ve had interaction do not appear to believe that simply applying biblical principles to their voting experience is what will result in a thousand years of tranquility.
    They lean more in the direction of belief that Christians are supposed to positively affect all areas of our perspective cultures…which includes (but is not limited to) the realm of politics. This is what the text of the quote appears to imply. I don’t actually have a problem with that concept as I do believe Christians ought to positively affect those around us, regardless of the particular sphere of influence.

    Interestingly, I’ve probably spent more time around dispensational fundamentalist believers and they also often align with the idea that you attributed to postmills about changing the country by way of political involvement.

    In fact the only biblical principles that seemed to matter to these folks were “the value of human life, the definition of marriage, and the freedom to express our faith in public.” End of story. To be fair I went to their website but didn’t find any other biblical principles there either.

    While I understand that “the value of human life” often translates directly to the abortion debate, it is actually a very inclusive concept which definitely could encompass the areas of concern you mentioned…from issues related to poverty to rectifying the wrongs promoted by racism and human trafficking to simply “doing unto others” while trying to be a good steward of the resources God has entrusted to us as individuals.

    Just a few things that came to mind while reading your post.
    Thanks for the bit to chew on 🙂

  2. Kyle permalink

    Or we could just do what Jesus did and avoid politics altogether.

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