If you didn’t see the “God vote” on the floor of the DNC this past week you missed the biggest convention gaffe since… um well… the week before when the RNC allowed Clint Eastwood speak to an empty chair. In Eastwood’s defense, at least he was trying to be funny.
I highly suspect that many Democrats wish that the “God Vote” hadn’t gone down the way it did. If you didn’t see it happen you can see it HERE.
As you can see Ordained Minister, Democrat, and former Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland brought a motion to amend the Democrats 2012 platform which read: “I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we’ve expressed in our party’s platform, In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party’s platform should as well. ”
When DNC chairman and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for the vote it took three attempts at voting – all of which, to my ear, were unclear that two-thirds of the delegates had voted in favor of the motion. But, even as unclear as it was, Villaraigosa obviously didn’t want to actually count the votes thereby potentially pitting the Democratic Party against its own Presidential Candidate. Instead, he simply said that he believed that two-thirds of the delegates were in favor of the motion.
In fairness to Villaraigosa he was triaging an active no-win situation for President Obama. Additionally, we should also recall that, even in the half-empty stadium, nearly half (or more) of the delegates were in favor of the amendment that had two distinctly separate parts. The incident though – while a bit mind-boggling – does still illuminate several reasons that most Conservative Christians are afraid of the Democratic Party. Here are five of them:
1.) Most Conservative Christians understand that there is no such thing as a “G/godless” political party.
How CC’s are right: *If a political party abandons the Judeo-Christian God they will simply be trading God for another god. As I have detailed in an earlier post – Everyone has a God/god(s) – the only question is which one we choose to serve.
How CC’s are often misguided: *God does not need a political party in order to fulfill God’s will. To believe that God does is to not understand who God is.
#2 Most Conservative Christians believe that this election is the “Most Important election in the history of our nation.”
How CC’s are right: *This should be the “most important election in the history of our nation” for all Christians. I think Brian Roberts missed the mark on this one (See his article 7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics – Point #7). For the Christian, anything that aids our suffering neighbor (without doing harm to another) is the most important thing right now. So all Christians should be voting based on which candidate’s policies they think will help the suffering neighbor more. That is not to say at all that social issues of the past were not important. It is to say though that Christians are not called to live in the past, we are called to live in the present. It is naïve for us to pretend that we can really understand someone else’s level of suffering. To empathize with someone’s suffering is one thing, but to say that we understand it completely – borders on hubris. Additionally, for us to pretend that immense suffering does not exist in this world today and that our government has no responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the people of this world on a massive scale is, in my opinion, simply irresponsible. The only thing that allows this election to be less important than any other is the level of apathy that we ascribe to it.
How CC’s are often misguided: *No-matter who is elected President of the United States, Democrat or Republican, the president does not have the power to fix everything. For that matter, neither does the government. Our best bet to help people as Christians is to mobilize the Church into action in love. The Church has done more to motivate social change than arguably any institution in the history of the world. Instead of putting all of our future hopes on one government official, regardless of who it is, let’s focus more on concretely serving the people of the world as the hands and feet of Christ.
3.) Most Conservative Christians believe that if non-Christian Democrats are elected that their religious liberties will be at stake.
How CC’s are right: *It is true that if persons are elected that do not hold the same set of Christian values that you do – they may advocate for their own set of beliefs before/instead-of yours.
How CC’s are often misguided: They assume that their candidates don’t do the exact same thing to others when they are elected. Christianity is not supposed to be about Christians enacting power politics. It is about love and sacrificial service to others.
4.) Most Conservative Christians believe that the Democratic Party is not a political party led by Christians anymore.
How CC’s are right: Based on the “God Vote” video, they may be at least half right.
How CC’s are misguided: Based on the “God Vote” video, they may also be half wrong. It will be interesting to see how such religious disagreement affects the Democratic Party in years to come.
5.) Most Conservative Christians believe that the Democratic Party’s lack of conviction regarding God is a sign of times to come in the U.S. if they don’t actively push back now.
How they are right: There does seem to be a growing disagreement within the Democratic Party regarding this issue.
How they are often misguided: If their “pushback” is not done through the love of Christ then they are helping to bring about exactly what they fear.
MY CAUTION to Christians in both parties: Don’t judge the other party with severity. It’s not your job. Instead simply seek to “love the hell out of one another” and faithfully discern what candidates policies you think will most effectively serve the most people. If we are diligent in that process we will all benefit and fear will cease to be our motivating factor.
Here are a few more thoughts on this year’s election season: The Elephant in the Room…