Faith and Politics (or More Questions Than Answers)

On Tuesday Derek and I drove to a small church in a nearby neighborhood to cast our votes, along with millions of other Americans across the country. This was only my third time voting and my first time ever voting for president. On Saturday I spent most of the afternoon and evening and even late into the night researching issues and candidates, wanting to be an informed voter when I put my pen to the ballot. I felt a responsibility to vote this year but agonized over nearly every choice, feeling like neither side really stood for my values.

In the end, when I left the polls with my “I Voted” sticker in hand, I still felt more dissatisfied than anything else. I felt dissatisfied with my political choices. More than that, though, I felt dissatisfied with my own understanding of the issues and of how to mingle my faith with politics.

I hunger for a justice that our political system (and our world) sorely lacks in so many areas. And with justice, there are several things I am sure of:
• That God cares deeply for the poor and expects us to care for them as well (He has some strong words for those who oppress the poor or stand by while they are oppressed).
• That God desired to free all those who are oppressed and invites us to join Him in this
• That God calls us to shelter the alien (read: immigrant) among us and gives pretty explicit commands to do so (seriously, you might be surprised at how much he has to say about this issue…).
• That God is the protector of the vulnerable (of all ages) and calls us to be protectors of the vulnerable as well.
• That we are called to do what is in our power to live at peace with those around us.

These are beliefs that inevitably intertwine with my political position. They have to. But they also bring up complex issues without easy answers. Honestly, I am not sure how to stand for these in our current political system, or even outside of politics oftentimes. No political candidate champions all (or even most) of these ideals. Even if one did, I doubt that our current political system, driven largely by money and a hunger for power, would support such a politician. Voting, then, (no matter who we vote for) cannot absolve us from the need to wrestle through these issues, to seek God’s perspective and plans for justice, life, poverty, freedom, and the world around us. Our responsibility to justice did not end when the polls closed on November 6th.

Wednesday morning, as the country either rejoiced or lamented the newly elected president, I felt surer than ever of one thing: I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to fight for justice in politics. But I want to find out. In fact, I intend to find out.

(Do you have books or resources that have helped you answer some of these questions and clarify your own political position as a Christian? If so, feel free to share them.)

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2 Comments

  1. Mama

     /  November 10, 2012

    Becca- Eloquent reflection that echoes my own thoughts perfectly! As Papa & I discussed this before the election, there is no political system that can “save” us. I believe in trying to make things better (I am a staunch believer in Christians exercising our right to vote, even in our flawed system!), but in the end, it is in our daily lives, among the people we live, work, serve, that we have the power to effect change- and that starting in our our hearts.

    For myself, I suspect that we will be asked to be martyrs- if not physically, then economically, in order to live our faith.

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  2. Denita

     /  November 12, 2012

    I would honestly be happiest, if the government was less involved in all areas of life. I don’t want the government telling me how to spend my money or to dictate the quality of my life or anyone else’s life. I strongly believe that it is not the governments job to take care of people. People need to quit leaning on the government for all things. Just as strongly as I believe that, I believe that it is the church’s responsibility to be MORE involved in people’s lives and people are the church, whether they are part of an organized church building or not. As a christian, you personally are responsible…to follow the rules of the government but also to above and beyond the government regulated requirements do your christian duty to your fellow human being and be a steward for the earth. The church has a bad rap, fewer and fewer Americans identify with a church…because the church is a hypocritical organization that is no longer not-for-profit…but very much so for profit. The church, that is most visible to those not in church, is not the church that Jesus called us to be. It just seems, the only true God in America is the dollar…and everyone wants more of it, more than they care about anything else. I’m not a good example of what people should be like. I don’t have an answer (I have a few ideas where I wish the government would start to fix itself, I have a few ideas of where I wish the church would start to fix itself) of a solution. I’m glad that you researched, I wish that everyone had to research and prove they had some understanding before they were allowed to cast a vote. I wish that negative politics weren’t allowed, just a simple this is what I want to accomplish, this is how I plan to go about it…and then they were held accountable to working through that plan. Sorry, my thoughts jump a lot on this reply. I am dissatisfied is about all it boils down to.

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