"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."This is a letter written by a Jew living underneath a Roman occupation. This isn't some benevolent, loving, social-justice king he's talking about. Roman dictator. Jewish despot. Those were his rulers.
Yet each time we've had a democratic president, I feel like a section of my Christian family get up in arms about bringing down the evil despot who is Ruining America. This election, some of the rhetoric I've seen via Facebook has really saddened me.
- Obama is not a Muslim.
He's talked clearly about having a salvation experience with Jesus. Do his politics align with some interpretations of the Bible? No. Nor do many other Christians'.
- Romney is not a Christian.
I've been fascinated by Mormons since visiting Palmyra in upstate New York. It's the place where Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, supposedly found golden plates with the Book of Mormon written on them. Among other things, as Mormons Mitt and Ann believe they will inherit a planet when they die where they will be gods. They think that Jesus came to the Americas in the 1800's. That Native Americans are the 12 lost tribes of Israel (which did lead the Mormons to treat them with FAR more civility than any other settler group). Yes, the Mormons I've known are incredibly nice, moral and kind people, but as a faith, it's not just Christianity with a few extras.
- The rabid anti-Obama rhetoric spouted by people as respectable as Franklin Graham make me really sad. Is Obama perfect? Of course not, but he's a sincere man who seems to be doing the best he can under incredibly harrowing circumstances. Whether you agree with his policies or not, why would any Christian treat any leader of our country with anything less than respect, prayer and honor?
Jesus never said anything bad about the Romans. He told the Jews who lived under the occupation to pay their taxes to the oppressors. He healed a Roman soldier's slave. His harsh words were reserved for those within his faith and culture who no longer cared about people and cared more for rules and figuring out who was crossing the wrong lines.
I've been really convicted lately about some of my areas of bitterness and lack of love (more on that later), so I don't have a moral high ground here. Just wanted to reflect on how sad this election has made me. I don't like it when it's hard to respect people I love dearly.
I pray that whoever wins tomorrow will be given grace for the days ahead. And that we would stop participating in character slaughter as a holy duty.