Reader feedback: Have Christians become too identified with a political party?
Following Tuesday’s presidential election, some are asking: Have Christians become too identified with a political party?
Tony Thompson, minister for the Burlington Church of Christ in Massachusetts, suggests:
The evangelical church has become so politicized and identified with one political party that young people are leaving in droves. We have given people the impression that all we care about is gay marriage and abortion, that the environment, fair and progressive tax laws, help for the poor and hungry and equal pay for women are of no consequence to us. Our politicizing of the gay marriage issue has also left our culture with some unfortunate and damaging impressions.
Christianity Today reports that “born-again or evangelical” Christians were more unified than ever before in Tuesday’s voting — even as their preferred candidate, Republican Mitt Romney, lost to Democratic incumbent Barack Obama:
According to pre-election polls, white evangelicals backed Romney by nearly a four-to-one margin. Romney received a larger slice of the evangelical vote than any previous Republican presidential candidate. At nearly 80 percent, evangelical support for Romney was as strong—and perhaps even stronger—than the support Romney received from Mormons.
If further analysis bears such a figure out, it will be a dramatic benchmark in conservative Protestant voting trends. In 1982, exit polls showed an even 50-50 split of self-identified “born again” voters between Republican and Democratic candidates. That shifted to a 2-to-1 split favoring Republicans in the later ’80s and throughout the 1990s. Even when some exit polls shifted the question to ask whether voters were “members of the religious right,” two-thirds of such respondents supported Republican candidates. In 2004, “born again or evangelical” voters voted 3-to-1 for Bob Dole. In 2008, Democrats rebounded somewhat, with Obama receiving 29 percent of “born again/evangelical” support to John McCain’s 71 percent. To put a four-to-one margin in perspective: It’s the same percentage of self-identified Republicans who voted for George H. W. Bush in 1988.
Over the course of the last four years, I have been saddened, disturbed, and sometimes embarrassed by the politicization of Christian faith and the bitterness, vitriol, spitefulness, ill will, rumormongering, name-calling, “doomsdaying,” and unkind speech from many who profess faith in Jesus Christ and claim to represent Him as disciples.
I had to put things back into perspective. What really matters? What will outlast who sits in the Oval Office? What will really make a difference? In fact, it’s the only thing that will make a difference. We MUST get back to being an evangelistic church. For America to be reinstated as a Christian nation, it has to be made up of Christians. And who can accomplish that? Not the President. Or a political party. I can.
In Maine, Charlie Harrison, minister for the Brunswick Church of Christ, laments passage Tuesday by his state and others of a same-sex marriage referendum:
Satan does not sleep! So, my question is: Where is God in all this? I think I know the answer, but it would be good to hear from others on the subject.
Elsewhere, Washington and Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana.
Chris Gallagher, minister for the Mount Pleasant Church of Christ in South Carolina, reacts:
It was troubling to watch morality lose last night: unborn children, casinos being praised, same-sex marriage being advocated, drug use made legal and lack of stewardship. However, if this is the will of God to wake Christians up from their comfortable pews, so be it. I will continue to have my “Habakkuk Moments” because I need them. I will continue to fight harder than ever to spread the message of Christ. What about you?
Reader feedback: What is your reaction to Tuesday’s election results? Some analysis indicates that older voters and whites favored Romney, while Obama prevailed among younger voters and minorities. Does such a breakdown hold any lessons for the church?