The Periodic Musings of Matt Davis

September 21, 2010

On Politics and the Church… Pt. 1

Filed under: American Church, Politics — Tags: — kcillini77 @ 9:07 pm

As you can see, I have disappeared into the quick posts of Facebook and failed to make a detailed point in about a gestation period.  That kind of fits in with having a new addition to the family, but I digress.  At any rate, there is something that I have been pondering, and I am going to attempt to start discussing it.  I don’t know how often I will get to it or exactly where it will go, but I want to get started and see.  Hopefully some of you will join along with me and we can have some degree of discussion.

I have no thesis at this point – I’m just shooting from the hip.  But the title gives you a little clue of where I’m headed.

I voted for Bush.  Twice.  I was convinced that the hope for America was conservatism – both financially and socially, and imagined everyone else to be, for lack of a better term, liberal heathen idiots.  I used to watch a lot of Fox News.  I had lots of opinions and was happy to share them. If the tea party bandwagon was revving up 4 years ago, I probably would have been on it.

In 2008, I voted for Barack Hussein Obama.  Screeeech.  What?  Did I hit my head in the voting booth?  No, at some point around that election, I moved from a passionate view of politics to a disenchantment with the us vs. them mentality.  I don’t know that I could have put it into words then, but what was most troubling to me was not the fact that America was divided politically.  Division is necessary for our two-party system to thrive.  It may be more heated now than it has been in my life, or maybe it just seems that way because of the media circus.  But that wasn’t really what led me to pull the lever for a liberal.

What troubled me the most on that day in 2008 and still continues to bother me is that as someone who identifies as an evangelical, the voices that seem to be equating or at least marrying the Gospel of Jesus with Republican Party platforms are way too loud and far, far, off base.  I heard so many statements from people that seemed to equate a vote for Obama with a vote for Satan that I just got to the point that I wanted to scream.  Most of these arguments centered on abortion and that it is a moral evil.  You can’t vote for someone who is in favor of support of a moral evil or you have sided with evil.  But the flip side of that is that no party has a corner on morality, and, even if they did, Jesus did not come to restore morality.  He came to restore immoral people to God.  We as evangelicals say our primary focus is to introduce people to Jesus.  That should be our purpose.  But instead we are trying to change the morals of people through politics, which to me is empty, hollow, and worthless.  So, my politics have veered not so much to a liberal slant as to an apathetic slant.  I don’t get too worked up about anything.  But I realize that if I’m going to call out evangelicals for abandoning the Gospel and substituting it for shallow politics, I need to immerse myself in the Gospel all the more.  So, I intend to spend some time thinking about the Gospel and how it does, and should, relate to the politics of the day.  Again, I don’t know how that will play itself out, but feel free to join me in the coming weeks.  Or maybe I’ll get apathetic again before that.  We’ll see.

Oh, to finish the story on what made me pull the lever for Obama.  I was listening to a local political talk show and a woman called in to the station.  She identified herself as a black woman and a McCain voter.  She said most of her friends and family considered her a traitor.  When asked why she was voting for McCain, she said it was because she had become a Christian and the people in her church had made it clear to her that there was a “Christian” way to vote and that was for John McCain.  The audacity of that statement made me determined to cancel out that vote and let everyone else decide the election.  See – apathy.



  1. I think you knew that this one might get a response from me 🙂 but I’ll start off by stating that I think I agree with the main point of your post.

    It kind of bothers me that the tendency by Christians to vote Republican because it’s what you should do as a Christian is just plain silly. I look at voting as issue-based (whether moral/social or fiscal policy or general governance). I doubt that is most Christians or Liberals, the’R’ or ‘D’ label, could really find which candidates are the ones that they are supposed to vote for if you eliminate the small handful of social issues of concern, notably abortion, gay marriage, etc. What makes this a more interesting fact is that most people we vote for, including the President, really don’t have Constitutional influence over these matters anyway.

    What bugs me is somebody who goes to the ballot-box with an ‘I’m going to nullify this philosophy’ vote. I agree that there are a lot of politically uninformed Christians who voted straight-ticket ‘R’ because that’s what Christians arw supposed to do. But do you honestly believe that there are any more of those than uninformed folks from a variety of backgrounds who thought a vote for Obama was the right thing to do because (fill in the blank with, he’s black and it would show progress and it’s hip, he’s well spoken

    Comment by joshua — September 22, 2010 @ 12:48 am

  2. (Cont’d), or he is just a Liberal as oppopsed to a supposed conservative, which must mean he’s better!).

    I propose that voting for the best candidate is the only right-minded option, regardless of religion, creed, sex, race, etc. I voted for McCain and, looking back, realize that my best represented vote probably would’ve been Nader who was a Libertarian candidate.

    I guess my point is, if one is voting because they want to rebel against their usual base’s flawed ideology, I’d rather see a that person not vote at all. Voting for incompetence (which, IMHO, was a vote for Obama if one listened to the words he said, not just how he said them) isn’t proving a point, is it?

    Comment by joshua — September 22, 2010 @ 1:01 am

    • Hey Josh – sure, I know my reaction was knee-jerk. In the grand scheme of things I probably would have been better to abstain from voting. But I also know that despite the grand illusion of democracy, the Kansas vote was already decided in favor of the Republicans before I set foot in the booth, and who I voted for for president had no bearing on the election as a whole. So I chose to vote more whimisically for the the presidential election than I would one of the local issues or seats.

      I suppose I decided to throw that story into my intro to give a background into how severely disillusioned I have become with national politics. I don’t want to persuade others to follow my example on that anecdote!

      Comment by kcillini77 — September 22, 2010 @ 1:28 am

  3. true. as you noticed my vote may have very well been misguided as well. not sure if a vote for a third party (i.e. Libertarian) candidate is that much better. but i guess that i was in a satate (North Carolina) where the vote was neck and neck to the very end! so definitely a different circumstance 🙂

    Comment by joshua — September 22, 2010 @ 2:27 am

  4. Matt, I understand your dissatisfication and I too am dissatisfied but I also believe that people should work – are some of work by no choice of their own absolutely but I don’t want people to get to a point where they want a hand out. I think this entitlement society is a result of a give me attitude. Do I make much? By the worlds standard yes I do – so what do I do – give some away. I really believe government is not the solution to what is hurting the US. It is the selfish nature of people who do make a lot(and if you read this – it includes me) but don’t think to give it to the homeless shelter in town, to the soup kitchen who feeds the hungry, to the program who packs backpacks for kids to have meals over the weekend – I believe some problems can be taken care of by me…I need to get busy and help people in KC. Can government do something? yes, encourage people to serve and to give.

    Comment by tageis — September 22, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

  5. I’ll cogitate on this a bit. I have been at this political/Christian interface studying a few years. There are some good books and some good blogs and some good websites. Nothing beats face to face jawbonin. The one thing you will find is that “open-minded” people aren’t. That is one of the first lessons. I have also learned that there are too few breaths to be had in a life time to waste them arguing with a bonehead. So pick your dialogs.

    Comment by Dad — September 23, 2010 @ 2:07 am

  6. James 1:27 is worth some meditation “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”. In first century context, “widows and orphans” were completely helpless socially. So our legal system should protect those most in need of protection. The church most assuredly has to do that. I can think of no one more defenseless than a fetus. Can you?

    Comment by Dad — September 23, 2010 @ 2:20 am

    • “I can think of no one more defenseless than a fetus. Can you?” No. I can’t. But a politician can practically guarantee the christian vote just by saying they are “pro-life” and never do a single thing to change the abortion laws in our country. And those same politicians can then engage in all sorts of general dishonesty and we never seem to realize that perhaps the priority was just capturing that vote by pretending to be righteous.

      And if we are REALLY against abortion, let’s stop buying products made with fetal cells… Until then it’s just lip service.

      Comment by sarah — October 1, 2010 @ 1:23 am

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