As I finish up my last class of my seminary journey, Christian Ethics, I am being confronted with all sorts of issues related to the church, politics, and how Christians vote. I have read about abortion, capital punishment, war, marriage, poverty, politics, immigration, and racism. Before taking the class, I might have looked at each of these issues quite simply – yes, I support, or no, I am against it. But I have been surprised at how complex each of these issues are and how the Bible is not as decisive on some of these issues as some of us may wish.
For example, many people support capital punishment because of Leviticus 24:17-20 which says, “Anyone who takes another person’s life must be put to death … Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted— a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” But this issue is not so clear when considered in light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:38-39 where Jesus tells his disciples not to seek revenge but to turn the other cheek. It is situations like this one which allows good Christians to fall on both sides of the issue.
Unfortunately, too many Christians pick one or two key issues for themselves and choose the political party which they most align with on those issues. It’s as though those one or two issues are the litmus test for which party is God’s party. Republicans believe Jesus is a republican because he HAS to be pro-life and democrats believe Jesus is a democrat because he loves and cares for the poor. People on both sides of the aisle are convinced Jesus is on their team, and from that, they often associate their party as being the more Godly party.
Sadly, after taking this class on ethics, however, I am convinced that neither party is one which Jesus would join. Yes, both hold to Christian values on some (mostly differing) issues, but both also value things which are contrary to the Kingdom of God. And realistically, the Kingdom of God is the only party we should be giving our allegiance to. Only in the Kingdom will we find a perfect system where the poor are cared for, where justice is perfectly fair, and where life is valued in a way we can’t even comprehend.
In the meantime, we in America are stuck with a workable, though far-from-perfect, political system with two primary parties. Sure, we can affiliate with one party or another, but as Christians, we must never forget that our allegiance and our values should be based on the wisdom in God’s word and not by the political platform of our party.