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Politics – BWAAAAA!!!!

February 8, 2008

That sound is the excited noise my brain makes when election season is in earnest.  It was the noise I was making when I was watching Super Tuesday coverage.  I am very much into politics.  I follow politics with a passion.

However, something happened to me a little over three years ago now that changed my outlook on politics: I moved into the “DC Metro Area”.  This is the local moniker for Washington, DC and its environs.  This is THE area where politics happens.  The Beltway Elite are the movers and shakers in this country, and they pretty much treat DC as the only place that exist.  When you live here, you either get caught up in the political culture, or you see what getting caught up in the political culture can do to a person.  I fell into the latter category – because I came here to work in the defense industry instead of a DC think tank, I could clearly see the negatives of getting caught up in politics as the solution for all issues.

It took me a few years to get excited about it again, although I must admit, any election return shows always get me watching.  Heck, I’ve watched Canadian election returns live before.  Anyway, I am still a political junkie, but one with a perspective on where that can lead.

All that to say, I am loving this time of year.  Very entertaining and exciting.  I do believe in using the political process as Christians, but not in putting ultimate hope in it.  As someone I can’t remember said, at the moment, Christians tend to have more in common with the Republican party, although this should not be our ultimate allegiance.  However, it is the vehicle that we can be using to influence the political process for the glory of God.  It should not be counted on to be what brings God’s Kingdom on earth, but if we can use it to further his kingdom, we will be doing things that are pleasing to God.

A great point that Chris brings up is that liberals have effected social change.  This brings up a great point: different parties have been conservative and liberal over the years.  The liberals of the Civil War era worked to free slaves, and they started a new political party that happened to become one of the two major parties at the time – the Republican Party.  The Radical Republicans aren’t some group of warmongering conservatives today, but a term for a really liberal group of Republicans after the Civil War that were trying to push large degrees of change in the South after the Confederacy lost the war.

Looking back further, the Democrats have switched several times from liberal to conservative.  They were liberal when this country started, as opposed to the Whig party, which was more with the establishment.  At some point, the Whigs collapsed, the Democrats became the establishment, and Southern Democrats became the defenders of slavery.  During the Civil War, the Republicans were formed, and Abraham Lincoln came along, and did very liberal things as President, including free the slaves in the South.  For years after the Civil War, the Southern Democrats continued to be the party of segregation, although no one really opposed this on either side of the aisle.  At some point (I’m not sure when this happened), elected Democrats started taking positions in the Civil Rights movement, and they moved the party away from segregation.  The Republicans during the Reagan years were turned into a conservative party, although in this case, for the most part, the values they were defending did not include grossly immoral things like slavery.

Anyway, all this to say that different parties have been right at different points in history, and we as Christians should be prepared to stand with the political party standing on the morally right side of the major issues of the day.  In this current climate, I believe that abortion, embryo research, and other threats to the helpless in our society are the moral ills that Christians must support, which tends to be a position we can stand for through the Republican party at this point in history.  However, if the issues change, we should be willing to work with another party that we did not agree with before.  Fighting against abortion with Republicans should not stop us from fighting poverty with Democrats, so long as the work we are doing does not morally compromise our Christian testimony.

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