In my sermon on Sunday, I made a statement that I’m sure pissed off some folks. However, I stand by it. Here is the statement:
If we desire to build walls, reject and ban refugees, we need to at least be honest enough to admit that it’s not our faith in the God of the Bible that is motivating our politics on the issue, but our fear of the other.
Many of my Christian friends are offering blind support of President Trump…even when some of his executive orders and policies seem to be a departure from biblical Christianity.
I understand that we are supposed to pray for our political leaders. Trust me, I pray multiple times a day for President Trump. However, we are not called to offer unaccountable, blind support.
The Bible is pretty clear on the issue of welcoming foreigners and practicing hospitality for strangers. Yet, some Christians are making a decision that we can ignore the Bible on this particular issue because…well…you know…”America first.”
It’s really intriguing for me because many of my Christian friends who are standing behind the President on these issues are quick to use the Bible to defend their other political beliefs. When it comes to homosexuality, verses from the Old and New Testament are used to defend and support political policy. The words, “the Bible says” are used frequently to defend the conservative position on homosexuality and marriage (in)equality. However, when it comes to issues like building walls and banning refugees, well, we don’t like to admit that the Bible might be clear.
So, many are quick to retreat, back pedal, and practice the art of biblical avoidance when the same books of the Bible they use to support their views on homosexuality are used to question the moves of our current President.
And, if we’re going to be honest, we would have to admit that the Bible has more to say about our treatment of foreigners than it does about homosexuality. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t pick and choose which verses God intends for us to follow and which ones God intends for us to ignore. If we are going to use Leviticus to champion our anti-homosexual agenda, we have to use it to champion our pro-refugee agenda too. Or if we are going to ignore Leviticus on the issue of foreigners and refugees, we need to ignore it on homosexuality too.
At least there is one thing most Christians agree on…the Old Testament dietary laws are ridiculous and should be forgotten because…well…BACON!!!
I fully believe each citizen should be able to make up his/her own mind when it comes to political issues. However, I think we should be very careful when it comes to confusing our Christian faith and our politics.
Throughout the election cycle, I heard my more conservative Christian friends champion the Republican ticket – overlooking the shortcomings of the candidate – because of supreme court appointments (which is really about homosexuality and abortion). I also heard my more liberal Christian friends champion the Democratic candidate – overlooking the shortcomings of the candidate – because of issues like healthcare and social justice.
It is my desire that all of us would be honest enough to admit when we lean more on our political perspectives than the Bible to arrive at our conclusions. While we can say that our faith informs our politics, we should not blame our politics on Jesus.
I’m more than willing to go first. It will come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I am a far-left-leaning-progressive-liberal. On particular issues, I lean more on my personal experience and reason than I do Scripture and the tradition of the Church. While my faith shapes and informs my conclusions, I rarely attempt to justify my political leanings with Scripture. Sure, I could do some “proof texting” and come up with a convincing defense of my views on marriage equality, women’s choice, and other issues. But, that would be manipulating the Bible to make it say what I want it to say. I know that other Christians would struggle with my political views. As a result, I have felt the judgment, condemnation, and even received a few, “How can you be a Christian pastor and believe that?” and “Are you even a Christian?”
I also know that there are times when my views, writings, and articles I share have made my more conservative Christian friends feel judgment and condemnation. For that, I do apologize.
Listen (well, this is a blog, so, read), I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m simply inviting us to be honest. Let’s just admit that, at times, our politics and our Christian faith simply do not align.