November 5, 2012

From a letter that Paul wrote to his young pupil Timothy:
"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?
On the flip side, when there's a "Christian" president (i.e., Republican...), the liberals whom I love, are happy to treat him as an idiot. Just saying that the lack of respect is throughout our culture. I'm sure much of it goes back to Nixon and is an outgrowth of general cynicism, but shouldn't the rhetoric sound VERY different from those of us who profess to follow a  homeless man who "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but humbled himself, taking on the very form of a slave..."?

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.


Elizabeth Harper said...

What an excellent post and thank you for having the courage to share it.

It is certainly written with more compassion than I'm feeling lately. I'm sickened by the blatant and smug disdain I frequently see when Mitt Romney speaks and for a great many reasons I don't trust his ability to lead.

President Obama is not perfect, none of us are, but I believe he is a good man who is still focused on the best interests of the nation.

Mitt Romney seems focused on Mitt Romney and it's disheartening to see so many support him. I think he's too quick to anger and insincere and I'm afraid to think what he might do with the power of the presidency.

I've seen conversations onine where his ego and anger surface and images of a foot stopping, temper tantrum pitching, holy terror come to mind ... none of it reassuring when we need a bit of sanity rather than someone who appears to be better at rabble rousing sound bits than leading a divided nation.

I'm stunned that so many people are willing to turn a blind eye to some of the serious questions that have been raised about Romney and his past policies and beliefs, and it's the first time in my life I've been really frightened for the future of the American people.

Anonymous said...

I unfortunately missed the deadline to register - this was the first time I have ever found a candidate I wanted to vote for - Jill Stein.

Seems like so many people in this election are voting "not Romney" or "Not Obama". They don't really love the one they are voting for but they HATE the other one - mostly for reasons you stated....Why do people feel like they have to vote for one of those two, shake it up a little, rattle the cages of the masses and vote for who you believe will best do the job.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if people did that. We might all be surprised. I know there is the risk that then the one you HATE may become president because you did not give your vote to the one who you felt was the lesser of 2 evils....


OTR sister said...

Love this.

I don't believe all Republican politicians are idiots. Cheney was terrifyingly smart and I'm comforted by the fact that Romney is at least very intelligent. I would strongly consider voting for Condoleezza Rice. However, I did believe Bush W. was an idiot. I always want my President to be smarter than me.

I don't hate either candidate and I feel that I am voting FOR many people this year, including Obama. But as Eugene Cho put it so eloquently, regardless of who wins the election, Jesus will remain King.