But from some of the correspondence I’ve received and the conversations I’ve heard, I have reasons to suspect that many of those who claim to be God’s followers really believe that He does hate Democrats. It’s not just that these folks disagree with the Democrat party and what it stands for, it’s that they really hate Democrats and believe God does too.
I suppose that I hear more of this because: I am an evangelical Christian and most of my friends are as well. Because of our mutual religious convictions they assume we have mutual political convictions. So I get to hear and read their fears and loathings and prejudices.
Here’s a sample, an e-mail I received not long ago from a Christian friend who is involved in an evangelistic ministry:
”_____ and I are fed up with the President, his Democrat colleagues, and those who hold to or vote for the Democratic Party. Why? Because they are in open rebellion against God’s Word and principles and are leading our country away from God.
How? They support killing of babies, support the homosexual lifestyle (including same sex marriage), make government the god, steal from people who have earned it and give it to those who refuse to work, lie and deceive, and support Islamic countries over Israel, God’s chosen people. (And woe be to those who curse Israel, said God in Genesis 12.)
_____ and I are both sickened over this and many other things, as I imagine the majority of you are. But what we both fear is that some will feel that they cannot support a non-Christian for President and not vote at all. That would be like a vote for Obama. … Having a non-Christian with good morals and character is better than having a ‘so-called’ Christian president and party who are openly defiant against God’s Word and the principles this country was founded on.”
Please notice that the first paragraph not only attacks our “President and his Democrat colleagues,” it also attacks me as one who “vote(s) for the Democratic Party.”
Our President has been the object of slanders and half-truths since even before he was elected. I realize that to a certain extent this goes with the job, although sadly much of the slander has come from those who claim to be followers of Christ and it usually has a tone of (self-) righteous moral indignation.
I have felt very strongly that those on the religious right were sliding farther and farther from anything that looked like a Christ-like manner of dealing with disagreements, whether religious or political. I have defended our President and tried to clarify some of the issues and my positions from a biblical perspective. I have also rebuked some of the slanders I’ve read and heard. And as I have done this I’ve alienated a few “friends.”
But this e-mail pointed out to me something that I should have realized before. The folks who say such things aren’t just angry and hateful toward Barack Obama – they have the same feelings toward me for voting for him. According to them, I and all who vote for the President and/or the Democrat party are guilty of the evils – real or imagined – listed in the second paragraph quoted above.
And, of course, this makes complete sense. If the claims about our President are true, then I am a supporter of this evil conspiracy. My Obama/Biden bumper sticker might as well be the mark of the beast!
There is much discussion about why people “drop out” of church. I believe more thought should be devoted to this matter. If people are stigmatized and condemned or at best “tolerated” by their supposed brothers and sisters for holding political views which they have conscientiously arrived at, how can there be any fellowship?
Have we forgotten Paul’s exhortation to the Romans: “Therefore receive one another, even as Christ received you” (Romans 15:7)?