3 Thoughts on the Election

I am not claiming to tell anyone how to vote or evaluating any specific party, just some theological thoughts. :)

1. We are not first citizens of the US.
Our citizenship here on earth may be from various countries but as Christians, we must remember where our citizenship is going to. We are trying to enter fully the Kingdom of God, a kingdom not drawn up with geographical borders. From the Old Testament to the New, the people of God have always been strangers in strange lands whose only home is "with God." Hebrews 11 lists the heroes of faith and considers that:
"They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14 for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them."
So we're in a weird place. Our home is with God and yet God makes his home here in Christ. I think it means we have to hold our current nationalities as provisional and contingent. They are arbitrary and subordinate to our true home. Citizenship will not be an issue in the resurrection, though it is now. As Christians we will always be at odds with the world we live in until Jesus remakes it. Always. Nations, even "Christian nations," are not God and yet they must demand our loyalty, however our allegiance is not ours to give: "Hear O Israel the Lord your God is one, you shall have no other Gods before thee."

2. The Christian nation is a modern myth.
To call upon our allegiance, the nation presents itself as a "Christian nation" appealing to our Christian identity. Political rhetoric is very good about calling us "to the way things were," "great traditions," etc., meaning, "back when we were more Christian...," but there are a couple of things that we need to be clear on. We were never a very Christian nation. Sure, the majority of the United States probably would have checked the "Protestant" box on a poll at some point, but what does that mean? Land grabs, slavery, indigenous genocide, suffragette rights; these things were not as pressing for our forefathers as you would hope, especially if you were poor, African, Iroquois or female. And the "Christianity" of our forefathers (what, no mothers?) would leave you branded a heretic in most evangelical churches. I'm speaking of the politicians and generals here, not the average church-goer. (we all know how moral we are..) To be sure, there were admirable Christian politicians, but there was also a profound difference between the pilgrims and the politicians. The latter were often humanists, deists at best.

And though the nation was populated by people fleeing religious persecutions, here's a funny thing - the Christian founders wanted a separation of church and state, not a Protestant nation. This division is not a great distinction for a country trying to be a Christian country. Leaving aside the land grabs, slavery and indigenous genocides, it was not their faith we admired -their relationship with Christ, but their ethics, which were devoid of the personal presence of Christ. It is no wonder then that we now fight to get the 10 commandments back into our courthouses but we don't make the same arguments about offering a grace to the world that costs us as a nation.

3. The state must preserve itself.
If our central image in Christianity is the incarnation, you might think a Christian platform would be one that calls us to pour ourselves out as a nation on behalf of others - not just us. Personal sacrifice on behalf of the world and not just the economic machinery of the US, might be a prime concern for a Christian, all the while maintaining the ability to respect the rights and choices of others, even when we disagree. At least that seemed to be Christ's m.o. Can self preservation be be a Christian goal? I ask genuinely- I don't know. We don't want to kill the goose that lays th golden egg, but again, the cross interrupts us. At least we might conclude that a platform for Christian politics might run on the same platform Jesus announced for himself;
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me to preach the the gospel to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim good news to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind
To set free those who are oppressed
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
-Is 61


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