I hope this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but you can actually be a Christian and be a Republican OR a Democrat. I know there are Republicans and Democrats alike that are both thinking that’s just not possible, yet somehow it’s true. In today’s world aligning yourself with a political party is one of the most polarizing things you can do, because culture has made these two political ideals at war with one another. Yet somehow, choosing a political party doesn’t define you, it simply lets people know where you might lean on topics of government and culture.
Understanding someone else’s perspective can go a long way in having peace. So, let’s talk about some of the most fundamental issues about why someone who is a Christian might lean towards a specific party. (Side Note: I am cowering in a corner while I objectively write this, fearful of the hate e-mails that I’ll get, but here goes).
Someone who considers themselves a Christian Democrat would probably do so predominantly because of social issues. I know there is tons of bi-partisanship in these areas, and these are gross generalizations. But these are top issues and a few verses that people use to support them.
Taking care of the poor, widows, orphans and the like – This is mentioned over 300 times in Scripture, with some of the most intense verses suggesting the first reason why Sodom was destroyed because they were arrogant, overfed and didn’t take care of the poor (Ezekiel 16:48-50)
Healthcare – Jesus shared a compelling story in “the Good Samaritan” where the Samaritan paid for his theoretical enemies wounds to be nursed back to health. He then said your neighbor is anyone including people from a rival country or race. (Luke 10:25-37) Now that will preach!
Immigration – Paul said our citizenship is in heaven, so how can we claim any nation as our own (Philippians 3:20- 1 Peter 2:11)
Second Amendment and gun ownership – Obviously, there are many reasons for gun ownership, but Jesus clearly says if you’re angry it’s like murder. Followed by “do not resist an evil person, if anyone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other one also.” Implying any reason besides hunting that a person would own a gun, even self- protection goes against his words (Matthew 5:21-23 & 38-40)
Taxation of the wealthy – From the beginning of the Law of Moses the predominant idea was that the rich would care for the poor with what they had leftover. Churches who are not taxed, are also not able to fix the problem of poverty, even though that would be a great solution.
Someone who considers themselves a Christian Republican would probably do so predominantly because of moral issues. When the Bible clearly tells us to “reject every kind of evil,” it’s rational that the moral condition of our country is of utmost priority to Christ followers.
Abortion – This is hands down the number one reason that many Christians vote Republican, as God values all life and many Christians feel a deep desire to try and uphold the value of life for those who can’t speak for themselves. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13, and Psalm 139)
Gay Marriage – The Law of Moses clearly states that even the act, let alone the tolerance of a person is unacceptable. Many Christians feel it’s their duty to try and uphold the Spiritual ideals of the Bible within their world as much as they can, to not only preserve humanity but also to continue to shed light upon God’s best. (Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9)
Pro-Israel – The stories of the Old Testament clearly point to a God who stood with Israel. Many people feel it’s only logical that you would support the people who God clearly chose during that time. When many evangelicals are influenced by thoughts of the end times, it seems good to Pro-Israel. (Psalms 122:6, Isaiah 60:12, Numbers 24:9)
Religious Liberties – Many conservative believers are very concerned that a “big government” would force them to do, buy, or support things that are contrary to the word of God and their beliefs. As a nation built on the right to protect one’s religious freedom, the First Amendment is near and dear to many when they choose to vote.
So, there you have it. These are reasons that as a Christian you could somehow stand on two opposite ends of a rhetoric, government and even potential future. Depending on what you believe about the Bible, based on your denomination, depending on your age, based on your view of Jesus or the Old and New Testament, there are actual reasons that you might stand for one side or the other of such an argument.
So, what do you do when you’re a pastor or a ministry leader, or even a small group leader and the topic turns political. How do you bridge the gap of Fox News and CNN; whose only goal is to share drama, grow ratings, and spread divisiveness?
As a leader, how do you have compassion for someone who believes differently than you, about things you feel passionately about. How do you speak to your congregation without isolating a third of your audience?
1. Don’t take it personally – Most of the time a political conversation is not personal. While people feel strongly about political topics because it’s part of their personal belief system, upbringing, and worldview; most of the time political arguments are not personal. The person you’re speaking to didn’t create the Immigration Laws, they didn’t create abortion, they probably don’t even typically understand all the nuances of the topics, so dial down the emotions. Good friends, ministry leaders, and spouses can believe different things about politics and still have strong relationships. If you disagree with them, calmly and in love talk about your viewpoints, but ultimately what they believe is between them and God. No political system is actually “Christian”, it’s man-made and most of the time based on someone’s monetary gain, so remember not to take it personally.
2. Don’t endorse a candidate – Take a cue from Rick Warren and be a humble servant of Christ whose only goal is to declare God’s fame no matter who is in office. Additionally, for organizations to remain tax exempt under IRC Section 501(c)(3), religious leaders can’t make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions. So, even if you’re making personal comments, make sure people understand this doesn’t represent your church.
3. Walk in the fruits of the Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” You are someone who is representing Christ, so make Him look good, if you can say it and all of the fruits of the Spirit are present, you are probably in the clear.
4. Understand that being theologically conservative and politically conservative are not the same thing – These two things don’t overlap. Christianity isn’t political. The Bill of Rights weren’t created as a spiritual document; they weren’t even created exclusively by Christians. People can feel one way about the Bible, and some other crazy way about politics.
5. Have faith that your God is as big as you declare Him to be – Christians worry like no other people group. They worry about the future, and they worry about their kid’s future. They worry about when God is coming back and they worry about their neighbor’s sin. They worry about money, and they worry about their souls. Homosexuality, abortion, greed, and other hot topic items were written about in the Bible thousands of years ago. It’s not new. It’s not surprising God. He’s not shocked. He might be grieved, but He’s not surprised. Trust that He is in control.
6. Pray – No description needed.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Chief Creative OfficerStacia has over a decade of ministry experience, with the majority of that time leading next generation change. She has experience leading almost one hundred volunteers, and developing curriculum for kids and students. Stacia has a B.S. in Church Ministries and Biblical Studies, as well as experience educating in an elementary public school environment. She is also immensely creative and accomplished in teaching children about the wonder of God.