The 2020 political divide is strong and filled with hate...
People with differing opinions are attacking each other online and in the streets. Cancel culture is heavy amongst my Black folk specifically. "Oh, you support [Insert Trump or Biden]? Delete me." This has even happened amongst people who profess Christianity! People who are called to serve Christ, to love one another, and be united in faith. Something is wrong here.
For Black folk, Democrat has been the way for the past 70 decades or so, as historically, the Democratic party has advocated for people of color... at least in speech. Let me explain...
After getting “paper” freedom post Civil War, most Black people were Republicans. Democrats strongly opposed any rights to Blacks pretty much until the 1920s, when Black folk were allowed to officially attend the Democratic convention in 1924. The great switcheroo happened during the Great Depression when The New Deal helped poor people, who were largely Black, get jobs. The following Truman administration in the late 1940s made more strides in desegregation that triggered a large shift, to where about 56% of Blacks were democrats. It was the association of civil rights legislation with John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson that solidified the Black is Democrat philosophy that lives on today. By 2016 only 8% of African Americans considered themselves Republicans.
The pains that caused so many Black Americans to run to the Democratic side of the line are beginning to rear their heads all the more, making it an appalling thought that a good person, let alone, a Black person, could ever be a Republican; a party that lacks diversity and does not champion federal spending that so many minorities depend on, such as welfare programs, housing programs, etc. Que the arguments on Instagram.
I get that. I truly do. Racism is still alive. Inequality is still alive. I have experienced it first hand. I am from the Bronx, the poorest borough, and have experienced just about everything short of sleeping on the street. I get it, but Black community, we have a problem... Christians, we have a problem as well... If you identify with either or both of these groups this is for you.
1. We tend to just vote Democrat, without doing the research. We are not having conversations, not looking at data and therefore, we have little negotiation power politically. Mama DW said it well...
For me, my issue with folk and how we vote goes beyond what political side of the aisle we align ourselves with. It bothers me when people of color don’t do the research and educate themselves on the issues that affect their lives before they pull that lever on election day. Far too many of us only listen to the sound bytes being spewed and skewed by the media or only read the headlines in an article and make it the gospel according to someone else’s opinion when in all actuality it could be a bold-faced lie.
There was no talk of politics growing up in my home that I can remember. I know for a truth that my mother never voted, but I’m not even sure about my father. Like most households, I would hear my father complain about certain politicians but that’s as far as it went except there was this one time my father said to me, “I would trust a KKK member before I would trust a liberal cause at least with that KKK person I know what their true intention is upfront”. I personally had no interest in politics till around my late twenties.
2. We trust these politicians too much, depending on them to change our lives. Charisse said it well...
Psalm 146:3 tells us to not put our trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. The issue with agendas, platforms, and promises is that they are still coming from a fallible human being! 1 Samuel 16:7 states The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart". We have discussed this in the house many times. Politicians are in debt to the lobbyist that raises the money for their elections. They are beholden in their tenures. In my adult life, I have never heard a politician keep their policies. Too many other factors come into play. You can have too many factors at play; opposing parties in government stalling policy, systemic injustices, those with the most money being the most vocal, etc etc etc. We vote yes, do I put my trust in politicians no.
3. We forget the role of the local community, and the church, in making change.
I believe our community members, especially our churches should be alert enough to pick up where the government slacks domestically. For example, if the government is not providing for the poor as much as they should, Give! Is health insurance high? Help families by having clinic programs and sessions where we learn how to keep health in the church. If the government is not speaking out against racism, get to work! The Bible instructs the church to evangelize, which means to make disciples. Be like Jesus then, who catered to the whole person, satisfying their earthly needs before speaking to the soul and addressing sin. If we took on more responsibility, political parties would be seen as aids rather than saviors, and we would hopefully cry less on election days.
4. We made the mistake of believing the world when they said our faith is not allowed in the political arena via Separation of Church and State. Mama DW and Charisse dropped real truth...
The constitutional provisions concerning Church and State were to protect the people from the government. Separation of church and state gives the people the freedom to live their faith, even in public; without fear of government control. Individual citizens are free to bring their religious convictions into the public arena, but the government is not allowed to favor one religious view over another or even favor religion over non-religion. However, this nation has moved far away from that original understanding of the First Amendment. Before I am a woman and before I am Black, I am a child of GOD and it is with that my decisions are shaped politically. It is my right.
Of course, Christians should be involved in politics. That’s a given. Concerning the idea of State vs. Church, our nation’s founders did not want governmental interference in the affairs of the church but not the other way around. And if you are of another religious persuasion but you hold to moral values that’s fine. It’s always been the will of God for His people to do what? Go into all the world, not the church, and make disciples. It’s our responsibility as believers to influence and affect our culture for the Kingdom of God. How much more so concerning the laws that we are to adhere to! Our best bet is to pick that person by their fruit and not words, whose agenda is most in line with the principles found in the Word of God. And if that person should get into office our responsibility is to pray that the will of God is accomplished through that person.
My opinion? I personally never understood where the State vs. Church concept was misconstrued People use it to say. If your faith doesn’t fit with what I want to do, with what the culture says, put it away. This is wrong and hypocritical of the tolerance that the country claims. Congress still has a chaplain and opens in prayer each session. The political parties still make reference to God. The constitution is based on God-given inalienable rights; the morals that we argue in the supreme court are literally based on the existence of a God first, which permits you to not believe if you choose. With something so embedded at its core, to God, how can we separate State and Church? We see communist countries like China who mandate atheism as the religion! Vote your values. Period. We all do it! Just because some of our values are Biblically based doesn’t make them any more or less acceptable in politics than any other view!
If you are still hesitant to bring your views to the main stage, you can still pray before you cast your private vote! I see a lot of political Christians, but not many spiritual Christians these days. If we were to seek God first, all things would be added unto us, and I believe knowing who and what to vote for would become clear and less of a feud for the modern day Christian.
5. We practice one-dimensional politics (voting based on one position such as LGBTQ rights, abortion, race/culture, personality, etc.)
Mama DW and Charisse had some good points here too...
To care about one thing so passionately and earnestly to the exclusion of everything else is honestly in my opinion narrow-minded and selfish. We do not live in a bubble, and as my father would say, “No man is an island unto himself." We are always being affected by what is happening around us whether we are consciously aware of it or not. And that’s just the truth of the matter.
Another saying that ties in with this thought of one-dimensional view of politics is the saying, Don’t throw the baby away with the bathwater!” This expression speaks to an avoidable error in which something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, or in other words, rejecting the favorable along with the unfavorable. We have to stop this!
Let Us Pray:
Lord God, We thank you for your governing Word. We are thankful that in times of chaos and confusion, You are the Truth, The Way, and The Light. Help us to sincerely love our neighbors no matter what their views, and yet, always speak with integrity and love. Help us to make sound decisions based on information and more importantly, what you lead us to do. We speak death to the spirit of division in America, in the name of Jesus!
In Jesus’ name, amen