Theological Insights from a Modern Perspective

Posts tagged ‘united states’

Vote Like a Christian

In a month Americans will gather together for their quadrennial trek to the poling place in a lackluster drove, a tradition that has occurred every four years since 1788. Sadly, American’s interest in this groundbreaking event is sadly not what it should be. In the nation that created the modern concept of voting for a country’s leader we have rarely even topped 45% voter turnout. Afterwards we are more than happy to top 50% in people dissatisfied with the results. Lately one party has consistently sat out participation in the 4-year term when their party doesn’t win, denying acceptance of the official outcome, sour grapes in an event in which they did not participate. I would like to request that this election season we vote like Christians, and, yes, there is something we can glean from the New Testament on this topic.

First, we are not going to get into whether Jesus would be a Democrat or Republican – IMO, neither. Jesus was apolitical, not getting involved in the Roman political system, or even the Jewish political system of the time.

Now, into it. Voting is not a religious duty or obligation, it is the most secular event event in America. Turning it into a WWJD event is a travesty. In Jesus’ time elections did not occur, but he did address the secular world and its intrusion into the lives of Jews – taxes.

Luke 20:22-25 (RSV) Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a coin. Whose likeness and inscription has it?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Voting is Caesar’s law, not God’s. Vote your conscience, but don’t drag God into the debate.

If you lose remember that it is not the end of the world. Conservatives have had to live through Clinton/Obama, and they have survived. Liberals have had to live through Bush/Trump, and they have survived. Whomever wins is the President, and is due all the honor and respect of the office, regardless of how you feel about the person. Going around yelling, “He’s not our President, we do not support him” it about as childish as you can get, like a 3-year-old stomping around upset because he can’t have ice cream because he didn’t eat his veggies. Remember what Paul teaches us about worldly authority.

Romans 13:1-2 (RSV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

And this was in a time when defying authority could, and did, cost the lives of Christians. If your party loses, at least you will not lose your life. So, give the winner the respect, honor, and obedience that God asks of us.

Finally, remember: politicians lie. It’s a fact. Groups that run ads for politicians lie, whether the candidate approves of the message or not (approval doesn’t mean they guarantee there are no lies in it). And regardless of what they promise, they rarely deliver. If they did, what would they run on next time? Politicians have been promising to fix Social Security since they wrecked it in the beginning, no one has lifted a finger to solve the problem (other than cutting benefits), no one will so long as they can use it as a bargaining chip for votes. Our healthcare system is a mess, and it always has been – I’ve been under private, Obamacare, and Medicare, they all suck. If you think any politician will fix it then ask them one question – will they give up their coverage and go under what they are proposing? No one has, no one will. Get over it, live peacefully with the results.

So, vote like a Christian – vote your conscience and live peacefully with the results. Let the secular world deal with it. Don’t look at your brother with hatred for his view that differs from your own, instead try to see what he sees, why his view is different from your own, for from his view he is just as valid as you.

Matthew 6:34 – 7:5 (RSV) Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

 

America a Darwinian Nation

Wednesday I was at the annual Darwin Day at Duquesne University, the presentation was by the eminent professors Drs. Rosemary and Peter Grant on the continuing evolution of the Darwin Finch. It was an amazing presentation on the rapid evolution of the species due to the continuing environmental changes in the Galapagos Islands. If you are interested in the presentation it will (at some time) be uploaded to their site: Darwin Day 2018.

Anyway, after the presentation my mind started to wander (happens more often than not) on how everything evolves from external pressures and changes. Even Christianity has evolved over the centuries from small home-based churches struggling with keeping a unified church following the same systems of beliefs (delivered by tweleve Apostles (including Paul) and numerous disciples) to the modern day with thousands of denominations having little desire to interact with each other, some with teachings barely reflecting anything we find in the New Testament.

Would that my mind could stay there, but such was not to be the case, I started to think about America (United States of, as we fail to remember that Canada and Mexico are America as well). The US was a great experiment in self government (not Democracy, but self government), a people who cast off the imperialistic government almost 3,500 miles away so as to take control of their own destiny.

The new government was set up in such a way as to allow the country to be ruled, no, governed, by represenatives elected by the states (exact method varied from state to state). Sixty nine electors voted for George Washington, the first and only unanimous vote ever recorded for President. John Adams won 34 votes, making him the Vice President (each elector had two votes, one for each position). At that time only six of the thirteen colonies allowed for a popular vote. The only citizenship requirement is that you be a citizen of the United States (immigrant or natural born) for no less thatn fourteen years.

Our leaders then were smart, they knew that the Consitution had to be a living, breathing document in order to allow this young nation to grow, so they provided a method for future generations to change it to meet their needs, and change it we have (27 times). Fortunately, they were also smart enough to allow that one or two largely populated states (ex: NY and Ca.) couldn’t run roughshod over the rest of the country simply because they had more people. No, they were bright enough to know that in a true Democracy (one person, one vote) the little guy (or small state) would have no voice in this new nation, so they put in safeguards.

America has, over her 241 years, seen massive changes in law, culture, and ideology. We have moved from a country where the ownership of an individual was considered part of the natural order, to a time where we look upon it with disgust. We no longer allow for the treatment of women as property, or as the part of society that stays home “barefoot and pregnant”, but are looked upon as a valued partner in this great experiment. America has long welcomed immigrants to her shores – not. In the early nation Catholics were not accepted in most states. Chinese laborers brought over to build the railways (and other projects) were treated as sub-human. In the great state of diversity (NY) Irish were not allowed to hold jobs in many fields. Eastern Europeans brought to work in the mines and steel mills were treated poorly. Oddly enough, immigrant Mexican workers were welcomed, indeed they were not restricted by the immigration quotas of the 1924 Immigration Act. It was not until the Great Depression that Mexican immigrantion went, well, south. Now we are in a struggle caused, not by migrant workers, but by the drug cartels and 9/11. Prior to these events Mexican workers flowed freely between the two countries as seasons, and job availability, changed. Closing of the borders trapped these workers on one side or the other of the border, leading to the Mexicans on this side being classified as “illegal” immigrants, and those on the other side finding their choices limited to life in poverty and danger, or sneaking across the border hoping for a better life, much as millions of immigrants before them.

America continues to undergo Darwinian Evolution, like the Darwin Finch, changed by both external pressures and internal ones. This evolution comes to us in two forms (as all evolution does) – gentle evolution of an evolving species through inbreeding and natural progression, and through the violent changes brought about when the natural processes are interrupted. For the finch this comes about during those periods of drought and excess; in America this comes as societal segments become impatient (sometimes rightly so) at the slow progression of a developing nation (we sometimes forget that we are but 241 years old, unlike countries hundreds of years our senior).

So, we continue to grow and change again, this Great Experiment we call the United States. As we do so we must do it with the wisdom and foresight that our first leaders put forward – in changing to meet our needs and desires those in the majority must remember that this country was created not just for them, but to shelter and protect the minorty as well. We must understand that the desires of the majority cannot but used to overpower the rights of the minorty, for we are all equal citizens of these United States.

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