I’m not sure when our faith in Christ became a political football. But I know that it has become exactly that.
My neighbor, Betsy, is one of the most dynamic and conservative Christians I’ve ever known. She attends Bible class each week taught by R. C. Sproul, in Orlando, Florida. Sproul is known for his no nonsense exposition of the scriptures. Betsy faces down almost every person in her church because they “don’t understand the scriptures.” She vehemently writes to her pastor, “You cannot continue to teach Biblical pablum and expect this congregation to grow.”
Betsy is an ardent Democrat who declared to me one morning over coffee, “There is not such thing as the Religious Right. Republicans are a farce and fake Christians. Without love and compassion, Christ will have no part of you. I don’t believe that you can be a hate-filled Republican and a Christian.” Strong words but she means it. Even more, Betsy believes that she has Biblical evidence that proves her point.
My dear friend, Marsha, on the other hand, is a Republican. She has said for more than two decades, “I cannot see how any Christian can be a Democrat. I know there are but I don’t understand it.”
Because of my own social and economic conservative views, I have more friends who agree with Marsha, the Republican, than those who side with Betsey. When expressing conservative political views, we often equate our stand as the correct way to show Christ’s love and compassion, contrasting our political beliefs with the more socially liberal stand. However, almost all of my Democratic friends have views that march in formation with Betsy. Almost without exception they say, “I question the sincerity of a Christian who buys into the Republican philosophy.”
Democrats sincerely believe that God intends for us to help the poor and foster the needs of those who are weak. Their methods are to allow the government to become the fountain head of those blessings through our tax base.
Republicans also believe that Christians must feed the poor and help those who are weak. However, they insist that individual initiative should be used, not government funded “handouts.”
There the debate stands at a stall mate. It may be that Christians who are Republicans will never agree with Christians who are Democrats. There may even continue to be a barrier in the methods used by our federal government to fund the concerns of those who need help the most. In the state of Florida recently, two mentally challenged adults were thrown into crisis because their parents had died. They had no place to live. The temporary caregivers were told by the social workers of these two developmentally disabled adults, “Take them to a homeless shelter. There is no other place for them to go.” In our county, homeless shelters are populated with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. This is not a place for this vulnerable population.
The reality is that our state and federal governments are broke. Yes, there is waste and fraud. However, the more tax money that has flowed to social services the more these services have cost.
Is there are viable solution? I’m not sure. However, I do know that it is time for Christians of all strips, colors and tendencies to come together and to prayerfully seek God’s mercy and wisdom. Isn’t it time to put aside political verbiage and lean on the everlasting arms? Christ is the only answer to the unsolvable needs and concerns that face us today. Within the Church body, it must not be Republicans vs Democrat or left vs right. It must be a search from our one true source of all blessings, Christ our Lord.