Republican or Democrat? Putting Hope Beyond Red or Blue

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In the midst of bitter political campaigns and urgent issues, a call to remember our ultimate allegiance.

I have a thing for pomp and circumstance. I famously watched all four hours of President Nixon’s funeral. I watch every second of every inauguration.

The peaceful transfer of power in America moves me; it’s all so civilized. All the naughty behavior of the election season is brushed under the carpet, and grown men exchange the reins of leading the most powerful country on earth.

And I’m no American elitist in this department. I also woke up at 3:30 am to watch William and Kate’s wedding live at my friend Molly’s house, who answered the door in her wedding veil.
 
Ironic, because I put very little stock in politics.

I like the dressings—the traditions, the ceremony, the legacy—but the inner workings of polarized government actually leave me very cold. My optimism was deflowered in middle school when I found out about the Electoral College …
 
“So my vote doesn’t actually count?” said the disillusioned 8th grader.
“Well, yes, it technically does.”
“But technically, can someone win the election and lose the Electoral College?”
“Virtually impossible.”
“BUT FEASIBLE??”
“Technically, yes,” said the annoyed government teacher.
“All truth is dead.”

 
… and it really never recovered.

So it is with no small degree of dismay I watch my Christian community engage the current election.

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I’m no stranger to the Christian Republican narrative; after all, my home church used to put an election insert into the bulletin on Sunday to tell us who to vote for (straight-ticket Republican). I, like most of my fellow DC Talk-totin’ youth group pals, assumed Christians hedged right, because of obvious reasons, which were actually not obvious at all, but we didn’t ask questions back then.
 
Let me jump ahead and tell you where I’ve landed: I am a registered independent AND WILL ALWAYS BE.

I will never get in bed with a political party, because full allegiance forfeits the right to call a party to reform, and both parties are in dire need of reform. Full allegiance tempts us to place our hope in secular government fueled by greed and power, and both parties are fueled by greed and power.

Full allegiance silences our prophetic voice in favor of touting party lines and demands we turn our fellow citizens into enemies for differing viewpoints.
 
I’m concerned, sisters and brothers in Christ, with this unyielding group identification with a political party.

And I know what you’re going to say: Abortion.

Jen Hatmaker Jen Hatmaker and her husband, Brandon, live in Austin, TX where they lead Austin New Church and raise their brood. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global non-profits for the individual, collective, and social renewal of Austin and beyond. Jen speaks at events all around the country. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Jen and Brandon have five children: Gavin – 13, Sydney – 11, and Caleb – 9, and they’ve recently added Ben – 8, and Remy – 6 from Ethiopia. Drop her a line or check out her ministry and blog at www.jenhatmaker.com.

More from Jen Hatmaker or visit Jen at http://www.jenhatmaker.com

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  • Evangelist58

    Praise the Lord!! Amidst the insanity of this political madness, just as hurricane Sandy came and took our eyes off of this Presidential race; you have just taken our eyes off of the hurricane of politics and put it back on the true government thatis rising like yeast and shall consume all others The Kingdom of God!! I love the way you are not judging one part Christian, and one not. Truth is we all vote from the tree of good and evil, not the tree of life..All God!

    • matt

      If we vote from the tree of good and evil, we must be very careful how we vote. Our vote needs to support God’s principles. Read Matthew 7:15-20 to help you determine how to vote. This election may be the biggest test that Christians have seen as one candidate is a clear supporter of evil and death and the other seems to be less than a sound Christian. How would God have us vote? Would God have us not vote which would be a vote for the most evil person ever? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, Matthew 12:34-35. One candidate has made fun of the bible and God’s words. He has supported many of the things that God tells us in His word that is wrong, the word that this man has ridiculed. Our ministers need to step up and lead their flocks. It is time to speak out about evil and defeating evil. If anyone cannot see the plain difference in these two candidates, please read more scripture and stop trying to convince yourselves that it says something it doesn’t. God is God!!

      • DeacZac

        Writer.., study Romans 13. Then we can get past Matthew..

        • matt

          Romans tells us to submit to government authorities, 13:1. The President has told everyone to vote!! If you want to put that scripture first, ok with me. Then I follow those instructions and go to Matthew 7:15-20 to see how to vote. Thanks for pointing out that we are instructed to vote by our government and our government leaders. Have you voted yet and when you do vote, will you follow God’s instructions? I have!!!

          • ben

            matt will you submit to the government if it tells you not to worship Jesus and if you do you will be killed, what will you do? Matthew 7;15-20 talks about false prophets. there are no false prophets these two men do not even know our God and savior, they do not believe in the cross or that the Blood of Jesus has washed us from all sins let alone Jesus went hell for us. I think you just like hear your self talk. do you live under grace or do you obey the law?

          • matt

            Ben,

            I live under grace for my salvation because Christ gave it all and died for my sins so I could have eternal salvation. I also live under the law because I am saved and I desire to please Jesus as much as I can because of what He did for me. It is a two way street as Jesus tells us in many scripture that we must follow His commandments or we will not see the Kingdom. Paul and James also tell us that if we are saved by grace, we will follow the law. This is where the pulpit becomes so weak in only telling people one side because they desire to fill their pews. It is what we do when we leave church that proves wheather we are truly saved or not. As far as your very first question, if Obama is elected again, you may be killed for practicing your faith unless of course you are muslim. By the way, why don’t you ask some of the millions of babies that would have been growing right now up if our leaders like Barack Obama were not supporting the killing of them by the millions. As far as the two men that are running, I will vote for the lesser of the two evils. God chooses the lesser of two evils with us every day. If you want to learn more about scripture that supports this, please let me know. May God Bless You!

          • DeacZac

            Matt.., Do you believe that we should make our own choices or have them dictated to us?

          • matt

            DeacZac,

            We make our own choices when we vote. If we do not vote or vote for evil, we will have those choices taken away from us and we will be dictated to. I choose to vote as long as voting is part of our constitution.

          • DeacZac

            Matt…, voting didn’t include my race until 1965..so yes I take voting very seriously. To many Americans lost their lives for this right. Voting to ensure that we retain this right is on the top of my list. I believe that we as American citizens should have the right to, good insurance, safety for all regardless of, race, sex, or sexual orientation..these are hot button issues. I don’t vote a civil servant into office as if he/she is my pastor (I have one of those). Your correct in saying we have to vote for the lessor of the two evils, but when the one evil blatently says that the government is not in the business of helping people who happened to be less fortunate (47%), then my decision becomes very simple. I have the heart of Jesus and I believe you do to, so let’s pray together for the direction of our country..
            Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

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  • Russell Godsgrace Parker

    I think it was a good & thought-provoking article! I happen to agree with a majority of the author’s points! Both major parties have good views & bad views! But as for me i will always look to the LORD! As long as He is on the throne it matters not who is in office! The LORD Jesus Christ is the supreme ruler!

  • Done With Churchleaders

    This article was so ignorant I’m embarrassed for the author.

    1. The electoral college is genius and we are a Republic not a democracy. Democracy’s lead to socialism.

    2. Your disrespectful slur of “the younger Bush” is insulting.

    3. Abortion went down under Clinton because of the leadership of 1994.

    4. You skipped gay marriage. You skipped the moral issue of taking things from other people at the point of a gun. You skipped the support for the anti Israel and Jewish UN. You skipped the historic votes on segregation. You skipped….

    5. No one is trying to prevent care for the unborn and babies. “Universal” health care always leads to rationing and the very same babies getting poor care. Go to one of these countries and see the dirty hospitals with women giving birth in hallways. Canada is one that I have seen first hand.

    6. Lastly, saying abortion is not on the ballot is ridiculous. One word – JUDGES. Who picks them? Please do some research about how a California senate election in the 80’s kept abortion happening in the USA. Because Christians stayed home we ended up losing a crucial vote by 1.

    You never mentioned Partial Birth abortion. Obama voted 3 times to keep it happening in Illinois. I don’t care who the candidate is that is evil. We get it, you grew up in a Republican culture and your not like them.

    • RevRalph

      So long. Your vitriolic rants will not be missed.

    • shilohgarcia

      America has one of the worst rates of infant mortality in the developed world, and is managing to do so with health care costing twice as much as in socialist countries. Death panels can be located in a government office, or in a corporate office where someone says “Don’t pay that. What are they going to do about it?” Happens all the time.

    • DeacZac

      Wow.., those were some pretty harsh words. The article spoke on us as Christian fighting amongst each other over political views..that shouldn’t happen. I’m not a registered Rep, but in some cases I have voted Rep. Romans 13 deals with a lot of what’s happening in our world today. Why don’t you apologize to the author, despite your deep resentment of the article, that’s the Christian approach.

    • jpc853

      Well thought out and accurate. Thanks, you saved me a lot of time and I could not have said it better…. It is hard for many to remain civil when so much is at stake and we are passionate about our convictions.

  • servant

    we are called to be moral straight not socially , i’m a firm believer that if we get our moral straight than God will work out the socially!

  • clearly

    How can one look at both party platforms and not see that there is a clear difference? DNC: pro abortion on demand; pro gay; pro same sex marriage; no to Jerusalem as capitol; no reference of God.

    • DeacZac

      Just as the article has stated, if you believe that both parties will be different, entirely, on those issues, you’ll be sadly mistaken….

      • AMOS8

        Could “the article” be wrong (on this, and other issues)?

        • DeacZac

          Perhaps.., nevertheless, its one’s own opinion..to me this article is promoting awareness. Even though we disagree we should not hate one another because of a political choice one makes..

          • AMOS8

            Perhaps some harsh words, but “hate”? Isn’t that a harsh conclusion?

          • DeacZac

            In the article the author stated how the two parties, or any party, had us as Christians basically hating, and in some cases, causing harm to each other because we like a certain parties platform.That shouldn’t be amongst Christians…If “HATE” is the worlds reality, it shouldn’t be ours as a set apart group…God is in control wether President Obama remains in office or if Senator Romney gains the seat.

    • shilohgarcia

      GOP: Pro corporate criminal activity, pro war of profit, pro high taxes on poor, low tax on wealthy…Stop being so selective in your morals.

      • Mike

        The morals you list here are subjective and are NOT part of the party platform. That’s a huge difference.

        • shilohgarcia

          Well of course the party is not going to phrase it the same way I just did. They will call it “leading from the front” , “unchaining our struggling businesses” and helping everyone to have some “ownership” in our society. At the end of the day, asking people to work until they are seventy so that billionaires can have 36% taxes (used to be over 50% during the nineties boom) is just exploiting the weak for the sake of the already strong (economically, anyway).

          • Jesse

            I don’t understand, is the goal to demonize the wealthy and tax them as much as possible? Look, most of us probably don’t fall under that tax bracket you listed, but is casting everyone wealthier than us as some kind of undeserving cheaters really what would be most honoring to Christ? And if we think we have problems with businesses being shipped overseas now, how is confiscating their revenues going to help? I understand the need for equity, but we are already taxing the wealthiest individuals enough to push their businesses out of our country. If anyone isn’t paying their “fair share,” it’s probably us. Almost half of Americans pay NO federal tax. Unfortunately, and as painful as it is, we will not fix the fiscal hole we’re in without spending cuts and raising taxes on virtually everyone. Then again, we can keep burying our heads in the sand and think we can cut taxes, tax businesses more, and spend more, and somehow we will magically end up with a stronger economy and a balanced budget. It hasn’t worked for the past 12 years, and it will continue to not work. Life is going to get harder, or our situation won’t change.

          • shilohgarcia

            Jesse,

            Total agreement on the “share the pain” argument. What I don’t understand is how a simple call for everyone to share the pain, including the wealthy, is turned into “demonizing the wealthy”. Who the heck is “demonizing” anyone other than the tax department?

            You seriously believe people trying to get by on 18,000 a year working in a doughnut shop should get by on 17,000, so a billionaire doesn’t have to try to get by on a mere 710 million down from 740? Seriously? Sounds to me more like you want to punish the poor for not having hit the big time. Which is the true problem with country spiritually – idolatry of the wealth.

            Yes, there is a ton of waste all over. Especially (by the way) in military spending which for some reason can never be audited for reasons we can only speculate about. Everyone needs to clean up their accounting, public sector and private. But signing some demonic pledge to never raise taxes on the wealthy no matter what is absurd.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jtworkman Jesse Workman

        There is a shred of truth to what you wrote, but it seems very sensational and blown out of proportion. First, no one is condoning criminal activity. Neither you nor I can identify any specific criminal activity that the left or right condone. That is an unfair generalization. You have a great point about republican foreign policy, but the left does nothing to change that, unfortunately. High taxes on the poor? That is absurd. The poor are not taxed AT ALL (including myself) and are in fact handed lots of money that they did not earn. Again, including myself, and I would be more than happy to pay more taxes if it meant that we can get our debt and deficit under control. Low tax on the wealthy? They are already the highest taxed in the world when you put together all of the taxes in our country (federal, state, local, etc.). The problem is that other countries do not have the same form of government so it’s not apples to apples.
        You have a point about war, if you developed it and stayed away from the sensational generalizations and inaccuracies. I say do that and we will all be better off, seriously. The GOP needs to be questioned and reformed, but some of the points you make don’t make sense.

        • shilohgarcia

          Yes, far be it for me to be sensational. Consider the guy above who informs us that Obama will murder us for our faith unless we are a Muslim.

          • Jesse

            Way to shift the blame. So as long as you can find someone else who says something more sensational, it’s okay to generalize and spread false information.

          • shilohgarcia

            Good point. Wish more conservatives would take to heart as well.

  • db23

    I like the article. For a while one of the most frustrating things has been trying to get my peers to see the duplicity of political figures seemingly by the nature of the position. Each candidate has built a platform of self promotion and political party ideologies, a mask (convincing to say the least) and may the best deceiver win! Yet with this knowledge many still place their trust in that candidate (or political party) as if its the “closest thing to Godly” as we can get. There is great truth to wht Jen is saying. We have to keep our eyes fixed and more importantly our hearts fixed on the Lord God and not allow ourselves to become so intangled in the political agendas of either party tht we lose sight of His agenda through Christ Jesus.

  • Rachel Stocker Allen

    even though I disagree with the arguments of this author, I think it brave of her to be so open and honest, even putting her real name and picture to this article, brave indeed… I also think that we who disagree with her need to measure and weigh our words and our reactions to people of faith with opinions like these. I would much rather that the people around me have the security and assurance to be themselves and to voice within our community these controversial opinions, than to be bullied into silence or bitterness, or worse, one day I wake up to find that the person I put my trust in because I thought they supported my cause due to their silence, is actually not with me at all… angry reactions, bullying, and talking down differing opinions (yes, even ones like these) is not going to change someone’s beliefs, it only temporarily silences them and gives us a false sense of progress…. plus, it solidifies the fact that whether we lean to the right or the left, Christians are at times not unified, not loving, and have serious inter-structural issues.

  • shilohgarcia

    If we can somehow get ourselves to control our sex urges in such a way that we only have sex with our spouses on certain specific occasions (with intent to conceive children) all else will work out in the corporate, international and atmospheric sphere as if by marriage. You may say that I am being sarcastic, but this seems to be genius behind Christian conservative thought. Unfortunately, the Bible implies that while sexual morality is surely very important, it is the distribution of wealth the determines if a nation is being Godly. Economic immorality does not seem to bother the Right quite so much.

  • Rodney

    Mrs. Hatmaker sounds too “Polly Annish” to me. We live in a real world where choices are not always between good and bad, but often about the lesser of evils. Any thinking person must acknowledge that America was founded on Judeo-Christian (biblical) values. While both parties do have flaws, one of those parties is flagrantly undermining our moral heritage (abortion, gay rights, work ethic, etc.) while the other is taking important moral stands (protection of embryos – THANK YOU BUSH THE YOUNGER!). Finally, by not registering with a Party, you give up helping to choose who represents the Party in elections. In most states, Independents cannot vote in a Primary). Be as independent as you want in general elections (I am), but don’t give up helping influence a Party for good.

  • An eternal realist

    A great article. God has no favorite political party. His passion is that people should know His Son and that is our first and highest concern. As Christians we vote because it is the responsibility of a Christian citizen. We vote our conscience and look for a candidate that will lead the government to carry out the God ordained work of making just laws and enforcing them. We vote with the wisdom God gives us and then pray for those we elect. The government is temporal, but the Kingdom of Christ is eternal. If we would spend the same energy and passion in being Christlike to those who are without the hope of eternal life, we would accomplish more than all the political agendas, resources and ranker of another political cycle.

  • John

    Great article!

  • http://twitter.com/matthewburger Matt Burger

    Best. Article. Period.

  • ConcernedPastor M

    Ah, to return to the days when political party lines were drawn by political philosophy!
    The position the DNC has forwarded for the past 3 decades must FORCE Believers to not vote for Democratic Party candidates until as a political party, their platform stops opposing God’s direct Orders: 1) Do not kill the unborn. This is convenience killing. 2) Do not promote homosexuality. Fervently love those struggling with homosexuality, but make no social provision for an approval of the practice. 3) Do not espouse socialism or force socialism upon the populace. God does not condone thievery, yet He does support the paying of taxes.
    When we, the Church, realize that that little bit of sinful leaven unfortunately leavens the whole of the DNC, we must oppose these offenses to God by voting for anything BUT their current choices to support sin. To not vote is abdication of duty, and thus supports their positions. VOTE!!!

  • ben

    Jen Hatmaker, i read some of your article what are you saying? do this or not do this, are we as people so stupid that we need a reminder on how and who to vote for? Maybe you should read the scripture, we are not of this world we are sojourners. Ben

  • concerned believer.

    s it true that Mormons believe that the Afro race is a curse because they did not fight valiantly in the heavenly war?. and is this why some post with such vitriol against the incumbent. Please, I hope this is not a white supremacy thing among believers. The President is ‘dead wrong’ on some issues, but this is not a contest between The Christ and the antichrist

  • http://www.facebook.com/edwin.guess Edwin Guess

    Thank you so much for expressing in words what I feel in my heart.. There is no Christian political party. We as believers make ourselves hypocrites when we give the devotion and allegiance to a a party. I am appalled by the silence the so called conservative right on Bishops Mitt Romni’s Mormonism. These same people continue to call the President a Muslim and antichrist. What is Mormonism ?
    I to am an independent because my Kingdom is not of this world.

  • Todd Scranton

    “I met those who had votes in the ensuing election and advised them: 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. 2 To speak no evil of the
    person they voted against, 3. To take care their spirits are not sharpened
    against those who voted on the other side” (John Wesley, 1774)

  • Andrew Dixon

    Thank you!

  • Blessed

    The weapons of our warfare are not carnal,the problem here is not who you vote for but the fact that we as Christians have missed it. If we were truly the light we are meant to be and interceding for our nation, we wouldn’t get to this level of moral decay. You can’t go into a strongman’s house without first binding the strong man. Obama or Romney are not the issues here and we should not be fighting over them, what we should do is to wrestle with the devil spiritually who is the cause of all these. Remember, the spiritual controls the physical. Just like Jesus said, before we try to remove the speck in the presidential candidates eyes, lets deal with the log in our own eyes first. Let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Have you prayed for America today?

  • pastor Roger Culwell

    We are in a mess a pagan baby killer and a mormom obama wont back Isreal and God said I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you so obama is cursed big time and he sure dont need in there again disarming America and wont even salute the flag if he stay’s in he will destroy America and every thing our family’s have faught and died to keep, and not counting in God which this country was established on and in and I mean the God of Heaven not the little god litte g of this world But the God that created Adam and Eve and made a union between one man and one woman it’s even in the wedding vow’s what God has joined together let know man or any thing put a sunder,[ and he joined a women and a man together and nothing else so let no one put asunder] and it will stand when the world is on fire and will never change in God’s eye’s know matter what any one doe’s it’s a union between a man annd a woman and will never ever change. And i am not a hater of any one but God called it sin and all sin is wrong whether adultery, fornacation, drunkness, gossip what God call’s sin is sin in the old testament and the new and we must abide by what he say’s because we are not God and we can’t change one word of what it say’s, but you obey it , or you will pay for it. pastor Roger Culwell

  • Bethany K. Myers

    This is absolutely beautiful. This is everything that I have wanted to put out there, but don’t have the eloquence to say on my own! Thank you for standing up for those of us caught in the crossfire of political discourse as we seek God in all that we do, including voting for a president. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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