Friday, September 05, 2008

Why evangelicals should be more careful with politics

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Obviously, when McCain picked Sarah Palin for his VP running mate, his choice help opened the door to an exciting general election. I think it is the most exciting of my life (not counting the post-vote excitement of 2000).

Many Christian Republican have had a renewed excitement with the addition of a young, conservative, eloquent Palin. And with good reason.

However, I' don't share the majority opinion about the strength of her speech. While watching on Wednesday evening, I became disquieted be her tactics and the responses she solicited.

Did she demonstrate that she could be a strong candidate? Of course. Was her speech energizing to the base? Absolutely. Was is giving in a manner that is worthy of a Christian speaker? That's the part that troubles me. Or more so, I'm bothered that so many Christian I have spoken to haven't been bothered by the same things that I troubled me.

What bothered me about her discourse? I just don't think the image of the pit-bull Christian is one that our God would be please with. One person I talked to about this issue agreed with me to a point, but then said, "this is politics. It is necessary to cut the other people down to make you point."

What does the Bible say about that kind of politics? I think Micah 6:8 gives us good guidance here as it says that God's will is that we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with him.

Often I hear justice lifted up as reason we have to defeat liberalism. Maybe there is truth in that. But I wonder if we should re-read Micah to discover the kind of justice that we are to have.

More importantly, this passage tell the believer how they should live in all circumstances. We are to live justly, love mercy and walk humbly.

Pit-bulls (at least as they are stereotyped) don't walk humbly. They attack violently and indiscriminately. They kind of sharp, sarcastic humor that Palin used to attack her opponent was not merciful, but divisive and destructive to the human soal.

Palin's comment claiming that Obama "is worried that someone won't read [a terrorist] their rights" was a ridiculous example of misplaced justice. If we are a just nation, particularly through the Christian leaders of this country, we will place the civil right of all people above convenience of our prosecution. We can't assume that everyone suspected of being an Al Qaeda terrorist is guilty of any crime. Just leaders wouldn't laugh at the fact that their opponents are for upholding justice through civil rights, even the rights of non-citizens.

I was uncomfortable with Palin's speech. She has great potential, and I'm hopeful that going forward she will put her responsibility to follow the will of our God ahead of her desire to get the Republican ticket elected. It isn't that she has to be the pit bull to win. Rather she should demonstrate and the voters recognize that our God is capable of bringing the right people into power. Christian voters should be looking for someone who in their campaign and in their lives are acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly.

By the way, this is not an endorsement of Obama. Rather a call to Christian politicians and voters to act according to the will of God, not just toward particular ideology.