Sunday, October 26, 2008

Voting My Convictions.

I just finished reading Adam Smith's
In the Booth, Not of the Booth article from the September/October issue of RELEVANT magazine, and absolutely had to blog about it. Smith's article focuses around the opinions of Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, writers of Jesus for President (as well as residents of Philly and Camden, respectively), and Eastern University's Tony Campolo.

These guys present a lot of good food for thought on how to your Christian convictions should translate to the polls. It is impossible for me to slap my stamp of approval on either candidate in this presidential election - or probably any election that will ever be held. I can never completely identify with one political party label or another. Overall, I think the majority of politicians are slick smooth-talkers who end up making a lot of empty promises. There is too much money and deal-making involved in our politics for me to be able to trust the system.

There were a lot of great points made in the article, but this point made by Haw probably stuck out to me the most:
"Global markets, rather than elected offices, truly hold the balance of political power. 'I think Christians need to be making some economic connections, too, about what the whole sphere of political change means today," he says. 'In the mid-20th century, something started changing within the U.S. economy and the military and the whole sphere of global economics that started totally moving in this direction of global capital being more powerful than any government. That has not been noticed by most folks. We think we're controlling the government by our vote. It turns our that the marketplace is really tantamount to all things going on in the government."
This is a huge issue for Christians if you take what Jesus said - "You can not serve both God and Mammon (money)" seriously. So I am struggling through how I respond to all of this. I believe the most effective change will come from people's passionate grassroots movements. But I also believe you can work with the system to get things done and policies in place.

I can't vote anti-life, which for me, means the innocent bloodshed of the unborn - as well as Iraqi children. I can't vote hoping that the "trickle-down" effect will solve the problem of poverty. I can't vote for environmental policies that refuse to fight for a better world for our children. I can't vote for a health care plan that leaves people wondering how they are going to be able to support their families.

If I vote - which I probably will, because I recognize that it is a right that I am blessed to have as an American, to have a voice in my political system when so many people around the world do not - it really does come down to voting for the lesser of two evils. I agree with Claiborne that "one way of looking at voting is that it's damage control - voting against whatever is going to do the worst damage." No one person can embody the "hope" that America really needs. We will not find our savior in a presidential candidate.

I believe the hope America is looking for was embodied in a man who died on a cross 2,000 years ago - the God who came down to Earth to walk beside and give hope to those who had none. The greatest hope America has is for those who claim to follow the way of Jesus to usher in the Kingdom of God here on earth by loving our neighbors as ourselves. My ultimate allegiance does not lie with my identity as an American, but as a member of the kingdom that was, and is, and is to come.

"My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It's to a King & a kingdom"
-Derek Webb

1 comment:

Holly Fullmer said...

Good insight Erika, thanks for the blog!