Religion and politics; they are both hot topics, even separately they are two areas that stimulate a large amount of discussion but when you mix ’em together…whoa buddy, just watch out.
I observed a particular point-of-view that I found highly interesting after watching Jesus Camp, a documentary that followed a group of kids to an evangelical Christian summer camp. After watching the movie, I knew people online would be all over it, in terms of discussion, so I looked up a discussion board, and sure enough everyone was getting worked up talking about it. Amongst all the discussion, there was a group of people from the liberal side of the aisle who were horrified that people would let their religious beliefs influence which candidates or laws they would or would not vote for…scandalous I know.
There was an odd undercurrent of thought that if people voted their religious morals, then we’d magically turn into a Theocracy…showing that the slippery slope fallacy is alive and well. What baffled me was the seeming lack of acknowledgment that we live in a republic and that we (at least used to) take democracy quite seriously. That means we get to attempt to elect people that will represent us in government. They were also making an odd fuss over “legislating morality.” Folks, we legislate morality all the time, that’s why we have laws against things like murder, theft, and rape…
I can understand why someone might be upset by this, because maybe their view might not be represented…well, yes, that’s why people need to get out and vote, as well as to make their voices heard to their representatives in the different levels of government. So, anyway, I filed this type of thought away for further analyzing, thinking that it would be a liberal gripe because of its religious nature. Fast forward about a year and I’m discussing various laws from a religious perspective with some fellow Christian conservatives, and wouldn’t you know it, the same line of reasoning cropped up, only in a different form. Turns out that there are some conservatives out there that do indeed think you should vote with your religious based morals as long as your thoughts on various laws line up with their thoughts, if not, all bets are off.
For the laws they like, oh, say, the death penalty…one that perhaps other Christians don’t support, all of a sudden they use the argument that God enters in and has set up rulership over others to keep the peace, work out His divine plan, etc… (which I believe) and we shouldn’t try to shift things too much…you know, like voting the way you feel lead to as a Christian. I pointed out that the law of our land also says things like abortion is legal, so, should we not try to change that? For some reason, no one wanted to touch that with a ten foot pole. Yes, God sets up certain national leaders and directs history, no doubt about it. But, He also lays a charge on us as individuals to be responsible within our own situations and cultures, and He happened to bless the USA with a representative republic…doesn’t that mean that it too is a part of His plan that we get to vote how we feel lead to in this great country of ours, even if my opinion on a law is different than yours?
Should we vote our religious convictions? Can we vote our religious convictions? I would think the answer to those questions would be obvious… I vote “Yes,” to both.