Well it’s primary election time here in California and I don’t think I can remember a stranger election than this one. Most people are looking at the candidates for President and thinking, “This is it? This is the best our political system could come up with?” The media have even come up with a new category of voter, the NA’s, or “None of the Above.”
Without tipping the scale in any direction, I think it is safe to say that both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump owe their success to a widespread fear and discontent with politics and politicians in general. Everyone seems to want an outsider in the White House, even when history and common sense would indicate that an “outsider” is only an “outsider” as long as he/she is “outside.” The minute one gets elected, one is on the inside, and here we go again.
I think for followers of Christ, and especially here where we consider ourselves Marketplace Christians, this is a time for great restraint. Of course we will study the candidates, platforms and agendas, but our final decisions should be private and incidental. Our faith informs our life, but not our vote, and least in a uniform way for all believers. We each have different priorities. We should all get out and vote because it is our civic duty; we may even campaign for a candidate or an agenda, but not as a Christian. If we campaign, we campaign as a concerned citizen. There is not, nor has there ever been, a Christian vote. We are Christians who vote, but not all the same.
That isn’t to say there aren’t things we stand for as followers of Christ. In fact, this is a time for Christians to stand out in the marketplace for all the right reasons. Because the qualities that should set us apart as believers are generally lacking in mainstream culture, they stand a chance of being noticed now more than ever. Things like kindness, respect, generosity, patience, gentleness, openness, mercy, forgiveness, hospitality, receptiveness, trust, and justice for all, not just for “me, and my kind.”
Make a conscious effort to support the things you know Jesus would support, and those would come by way of attitude mostly. Above all, we want to be hopeful, since there is not much hope going around in our current state of affairs. Fear stands a chance of being the more dominant emotion, and the political motivator of choice by most politicians and political operatives. We must not participate in fear in any way, shape or form. Our hope, should be our defining factor, though not in our country or our systems of government, or our military strength. Our hope is in the Lord, and it is a hope so confident as to beg the question of those around us in the marketplace.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” (1 Peter 3:15).