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Alternate Realities

November 2, 2016

As this painful election season limps toward an end I feel exhausted.  I find myself thanking God I moved to New York.  Had I stayed in North Carolina, the tightest of all swing states, I’d be enduring the never-ending political ads my friends are being subjected to.  In reliably “blue” NY, home to both candidates, neither is bothering to try and win my vote.

On the other hand, with no early voting here, I have to wait until Election Day to reluctantly cast my vote.  I’m coming to see choosing between one of the two major candidates as akin to deciding which foot I wish to shoot myself.  I’ve made a point to try and listen to both candidates; to read their proposals on their websites; to stay friends with avid supporters of both candidates.

In the end I’ve been coming to the conclusion that they don’t live in the same reality.  Each side seems capable of ignoring or explaining away their candidate’s flaws while, at the same time, being horrified and appalled at the flaws of the other one.  They see the specks in the other candidate’s eye and not the logs in their candidate’s.  Indeed, pointing to the specks in the other’s eye seems to be the essence of both messages.

I’ve thought of skipping the top line and just voting down ballot but both sides assure me that, if I do, it is effectively voting for the other party.  They both work on the assumption that, if I chose to vote, it would be obvious I’d vote for their candidate; in their reality there would be no other choice.

Wayne Grudem tells me I need to support Trump because of his policies.  Here is his reality:

“Since I find both candidates morally objectionable, I am back to the old-fashioned basis on which I have usually decided how to vote for my entire life: Whose policies are better? Do I agree more with Trump’s policies or with Clinton’s?

It isn’t even close. I overwhelmingly support Trump’s policies and believe that Clinton’s policies will seriously damage the nation, perhaps forever. On the Supreme Court, abortion, religious liberty, sexual orientation regulations, taxes, economic growth, the minimum wage, school choice, Obamacare, protection from terrorists, immigration, the military, energy, and safety in our cities, I think Trump is far better than Clinton…. Again and again, Trump supports the policies I advocated in my 2010 book Politics According to the Bible.”

Meanwhile, over in a different reality, I see the thoughts of theology prrofessor Lee Camp as he skewers Trump’s campaign slogan:

“The root of the problem, it seems to me, is that we think America is the problem, and that the most important public work we can do is fight for our vision of America. So we fall prey, in vast, outrageous numbers to stupid rhetoric like “Make America Great Again.”….

Look, America is not the problem. Nation-states have never had the calling to be the primary locus of the “wisdom of God.” Our job as Christians is to give the world a different picture of greatness, an alternative wisdom: to conquer death through long-suffering love; to overcome evil with good; to feed our enemies when they are hungry, and give them drink when they are thirsty; to enjoy sex rightly ordered for the goods of human intimacy and the bearing of children within committed monogamous relationships; to share our money and our goods and our time generously, and even in costly fashion; to let our yes be yes and our no be no; to care for the widows, orphans, and foreigners; to practice hospitality; and so on.

There has been no “fall” in America, because America was never on a pedestal. America was never a “Christian nation,” nor any sort of Garden of Eden. The effort to suggest that it was understands neither American history, nor orthodox Christianity.”

Both thoughtful articles are worth reading so I urge you to follow the links.  But it is clear that they don’t live in the same reality.

What’s a Christian voter to do?

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