Red State Values, Blue State Values
Christian author Max Lucado compares the values of both kinds of Christians and talks about how to heal the nation.
Is there a way that religious leaders like you can help heal the rift?
I think so. I certainly have a responsibility in my church. You know, I can't pastor the whole world but in our church, the Sunday after the election, we all got on our knees and we asked God to heal the country.
We all got on our knees. And we're not a kneeling church. We don't even have kneelers-I wish we did--but I said, This is such a big deal. And I said, We're not Democrats or Republicans in here. We believe nations exist to serve God; God doesn't exist to serve the nation but we serve him. Let's ask for him to take over now. And I think that's the role of the clergy.
You may have heard some Christians saying that God had, essentially, intervened in the election to have Bush be re-elected. What do you make of that idea?
I think if you believe in a sovereign God, then you say, "God, here's what I want, but your will be done." And a Christian should be just as much at peace had John Kerry won as he should be now that George Bush has won. You know, God doesn't exist to bless the nations, but nations exist to bless God. And that's something that we've missed, somewhere along the lines I think.
Really, America exists to be a studio in which God can do his work; all nations do, all nations do. The only exception might be Israel, depending on your interpretation--there seems to be a unique connection between God and Israel. But the rest of the nations since the beginning of time to the end of time are used by God to advance his cause. God is not beholden to any particular nation. But we've almost thought that God is an American God. That's a dangerous road to get on.
Do you lead a red-state congregation, primarily?
We're pretty much a red-state church. But some of our strongest members are diehard Democrats, and I think they feel included. I don't put a bumper sticker on my car; I don't want anybody to know how I vote. I do everything I can to urge people to remember that God was the one who chooses the leaders of a nation even if the leaders don't choose God. We didn't have anyone leave during election, I know that.
Which values can the red states teach the blue states?
The difficulty on this election is that we've been dealing with two values in particular--both of which are introduced with the word "sanctity." That is, the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life. Sanctity is a holy word; it's a religious word. You're talking about gay marriage, you're talking about stem cell research, which leads us into a discussion again on abortion. These are difficult issues for Christians because for most Christians, they're not optional. They're not something we have a say in; God spoke on these-it's not up to us to change, so this is a difficult one.