My Blog Posts

My thoughtful perspectives on current events...

Over the past three decades Christians at large have adopted a similar voting strategy as African American’s by placing a majority of their electoral support behind one party. In doing this, some Christians have unfortunately adopted a political strategy that views politics as good vs. evil and right vs. wrong, as opposed to “either/or.” The greatest concern with this electoral strategy is that it uses scripture as a weapon in partisan politics. More specifically, the Bible has been used to advance political beliefs, as opposed to framing political beliefs. In doing so, some have compromised the integrity of scripture in order to appeal to certain groups of voters.

A Pastor once commented on how things should be in terms of the role of Christianity in politics, he stated, “Biblical consistency equals political uncertainty.” In other words the biblical message in its entirety will not fit perfectly in either political party. There are issues where each party comes closer to a biblical truth than the other, and then there are times when both parties are far removed from a biblical truth. A social commentator described this reality in partisan terms, “Democrats have walked away from the field, and Republicans, now having the field to themselves, have defined faith very narrow.” Both of these factors, the abandonment of faith by one party, and the curtailing of faith by another, has placed Christianity in a very challenging position when it comes to public policy.

Christians can find optimism in the reality that both parties have some form of respect for Christianity, and still view Christianity on some level as having a major impact in American life. This massive level of respect for Christianity by many Americans gives precedence for asking these two questions.

Where should Christians be on President Obama’s radar? Where are Christians be on President Obama’s radar?>

What often comes up at the beginning of any discussion of faith and politics is the idea of there being a “separation between church and state.” While referring to the “establishment clause” in the bill of Rights, this precise phrase was only originally found in a letter from Thomas Jefferson and later quoted in a Supreme Court decision. The word “separation” does not show up in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. From a constitutional perspective, the law states that government cannot establish or hinder the free practice of religion, nor can religion be used to determine eligibility for seeking office. The Constitution does not hinder faith or religion from framing politics, or determining how a person should vote. Most people’s opinions on public policy come from either socialization, major life experiences, or personal ethics, which for many is faith. In America, this is typically Christianity. So we turn our attention to how President Obama should address the concerns of Christians as well as how he has addressed their concerns.

Where should Christians be on President Obama’s radar?

I will answer this question first from a partisan perspective and then from a prophetic perspective. The partisan perspective analyzes things purely based upon political strategy, and the prophetic response is purely based upon the Christian responsibility to spread the message of Christ to our world. Each perspective renders a different response.

A Partisan Response:

There is a large contingency of Christians that have politically aligned themselves in opposition to President Obama; these voters have taken the position of combating the President as opposed to working with him to get their agenda passed. The past two elections have revealed that the President and his party can be successful without the support of these voters. So purely from a partisan perspective these voters have not shown why they should be higher on the President’s radar. This is a sad reality, but unfortunately very true. Some Christians have politically positioned themselves as just another player in the political game that have aligned themselves with one party; as a result their goals and agenda depends on that one party. Politicians are indebted to those that they have made promises to, and those who have supported them either financially, electorally, or vocally. President Obama’s relationship with Christian voters is as follows: they have not supported him and he has not made promises to them, so there should not be an expectation from a partisan perspective that these voters should be high on his radar?
The problem is that both groups are comfortable with this reality!

A Prophetic Response:

From a prophetic perspective, wherever there is discussion of laws and policies impacting society, Christians should always position themselves to be at the table. The role of Christians should be to advise leaders on a biblical position, assist those leaders in framing policies, and bring some form of moral compass to the center of policy debates. Any student of scripture would have a hard time making a case that the Bible advocates aligning itself with one party, while viewing the other as the opposition. This is not to say Christians should not speak up when a party gets it right or wrong on public policy as it relates to scripture, but what it does say, is that Christianity should not be used primarily for the purposes of advancing the cause of one party. Unfortunately, many who espouse scripture in the service of politics have not done a great job of maintaining a truly prophetic position. A truly prophetic position can speak for or against the actions of a party without a partisan muzzle or obligation. A truly prophetic position is more concerned that issues are being addressed, as opposed to who is addressing them. It is for this reason that I believe Christians should be high on President Obama’s radar. Christians should position themselves to be a voice of reason in all discussions of public policy, particularly on the highest levels. Christians should maintain a close relationship with elected officials where the integrity of their voice is respected, but not so close to where there is fear of speaking out against a party’s decisions.
As we will see, more work is needed in this area.

Where are Christians on President Obama’s radar?

President Obama has consistently stated that he is a Christian, from his writings it can be surmised that is a theologically liberal Christian. This brand of Christianity sees faith and politics as expressing compassion, providing support, and fighting for justice for the less affluent, while seeing morals and ethics through the lens of relativism. This brand of Christianity sees little to no difference between the Christian faith and other faiths, shuns most forms of proselytizing, and does not see Christ’s message as being unique or divine in nature. President Obama’s policies and rhetoric have been very consistent with this interpretation of Christianity as it relates to public policy. On the issue of world view and the message of Christ, many Christians have been very critical of President Obama in how he has interpreted these issues in framing policy. But on the issues of justice, poverty and fighting for the less affluent, the President has used his faith in making a case for certain policy decisions. On some levels the answer to this question is purely theological, but by and large I think it is safe to say that the President has attempted to suppress faith during his Presidency. This suppression has meant that many core aspects of Christianity have been minimized during his Presidency which on some levels has been a recent trend in the Democrat party.

Consider this reality, in 1976 Governor Jimmy Carter ran for President, presenting himself to the country as a born-again Christian who was a Sunday school teacher. Using this label he made it out of the Democratic primary and eventually won the election. The party has transitioned so much on the role of faith that at the 2012 Democrat convention there was massive debate as to whether the name of God should be in the party’s platform. It should be noted that having the name of God in a platform does not indicate that the platform was inspired by or represents the will of God. The name of God in a platform presents some form of acknowledgement that there is a God, which follows suit with the nation’s founding documents. The transition in a party, from accepting a leader who presents himself as a Sunday School teacher, to a party that has concerns with acknowledging God, reveals that the party and the President are taking a position of decreasing its public, and ultimately its ideological identification with Christianity. This would reveal that Christians are not very high on the President’s radar. Arguably our nation has become more and more secular in its world view, and this reality has made Christianity into a faith of bigotry, pride, and closed-mindedness. Certainly theses labels are far from true, but to a secular society, who ascribes to relativism, this is what Christianity is to them.

The fear is that both the Democrat and Republican parties are beginning to ascribe to these false descriptions of orthodox Christianity, and the needs and concerns of this group of voters are being minimized in our generation. The solution may rest in Christians presenting their message differently, not changing the message, but repackaging it, as Jesus often did to show its relevance to a changing world. What does a literal virgin birth and literal Resurrection mean to poor people, to incarcerated people, and to those who have experienced discrimination? What does a literal interpretation of the Bible mean to a country with a high unemployment rate that is experiencing a massive breakdown in the family structure? These are some of the questions that Christians have to answer to reposition their concerns with both political parties, and to make their concerns a priority in all places where major decision making is takes place.

Photo Gallery

View all

Contact Me