Look, I'll be honest. I haven't gone to church in ages, and I'm just as disillusioned with the outdated and sometimes disgusting attitudes of so-called Christians as I am with that of certain corrupt politicians. And I hate being lumped into the category "Religious Right," as if I'm single-faceted and will blindly vote the way some pastor directs me to.
I'm equally as disenchanted with the blatant pandering of every single candidate to the voting Christian; maybe it's because I live in the South, but it seems like all the political ads on television make sure to mention Candidate X's "strong faith" or his "commitment to Biblical standards."
Not that that's wrong, obviously, but I would also like to know where Candidate X stands on NCLB, for example, or the war in Iraq, or whether or not it's going to be possible for me to retire on something more than coupons and hand sanitizer.
And you know who feels the same way? Other Christians.
From the Toronto Star:
Young evangelicals are finding new ways to express their faith. They refuse to be held hostage to the hot-button issues that defined religion and politics for their parents, such as abortion and gay rights.
"There's 3,000 abortions in America every day," LaTondresse says. "But 30,000 kids die a day of hunger, preventable disease and lack of clean drinking water, 47 million Americans don't have health care."
In such a situation, he can no longer support the old policies of the Republican party. "The stakes are too high to narrowly define my morality around just two issues."
Cracks in the religious right began to show a few years ago, when surveys picked up a trend by young evangelicals to leave the GOP but not join the Democrats. LaTondresse was part of that shift. No longer calling himself a Republican, he now prefers to think of all himself as an independent – and says many of his friends feel the same way.
This article sums up so well the way that I feel about the government right now. It's no longer a government by the people, for the people; those politicians could not care LESS about the people, and their voting records confirm it. Whether they go to church or not doesn't seem to affect their allegiance, either to their party rhetoric or the mighty mammon god, and that just doesn't sit right with me.
At the moment, I am one of those elusive (some would say nonexistent) undecided voters. I waver every day between the candidates, and no sooner will I make a tenuous decision than they mess it all up by releasing nasty propaganda or choosing a vice-president that I could never ever support (actually, they've both done that).
At any other time, maybe I would allow my religious beliefs to guide my stylus (... erm ... we are old-fashioned here in Randomville), but how can I do that when neither side represents anything even remotely Christ-like?
Okay, I'm not saying that I'm looking for a new Messiah, but ... my choices are the guy whose main recommendation seems to be that he was a POW and another guy whose main recommendation is he's young and inexperienced. Thanks, that clears things up.
For other Christians and me, it's going to be hard to vote on November 4th. Some of us are going to break with tradition and vote for the other party. Some of us are going to just grit our teeth and choose the lesser of two evils. And some of us may just opt out and refuse to vote at all. It's that kind of election.
At any rate, it's probably not a good idea for the GOP to count on Christian conservatives to make up a majority of their voting bloc. The party tends to be pretty hedonistic for most of the year before repenting of their sins come election time. What did Jesus have to say about people like that? Oh, right:
42 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.
43-44 "You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You're just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under."
45 One of the religion scholars spoke up: "Teacher, do you realize that in saying these things you're insulting us?"
46 He said, "Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You're hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.
Luke 11:42-46, The Message
See, my faith hasn't changed, but my political priorities have. People before policies, how about that? Isn't THAT what Jesus would do?
*brought to you by your local sandal-wearing hippie liberal, which is what my dad calls me now