Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why Our Government Should Not Be Christian

Growing up, I thought that all Christians voted Republican. That we were the "right" ones. That we had God on our side. That Democrats were non-religious and therefore lost.

Growing up, I thought that we, as voters, needed to make good "Christian" decisions in order to create the world that God wanted in America. 

Growing up, I thought that I needed to call out other's "faults" and let them know when I believed strongly that the Bible was condemning them.

Growing up, I had a lot of things wrong. And it was upon meeting my first-ever (ha ha) Christian who voted Democrat that I began to see the many versatile sides to politics that I'd been missing in my black-and-white view of the world. 

For as long as I can remember, I've heard that "America is a Christian nation." However, realistically, America is not a Christian nation. We are made up some very diverse cultures and religions that make it impossible to cookie-cut all of us as white, male, heterosexual, and Christian. Why then should our politics be that way?

Imagine how frustrating it would be if somehow a Jewish person were elected president and they decided that because their view was supreme and they were elected into office, that all of our laws and decisions should be made through that lens? There would be an outcry. People would be angry. And rightfully so. You simply cannot make an entire country's decisions from your one, limited point-of-view.

And I believe this is the climate we find ourselves in now. This political race has turned into some sort of distorted argument about what each candidates religious stance says about his politics. That if he believes this way, then he can't possibly be "one of us."

My friends in Canada laugh hysterically at America. We claim this whole "separation of church and state" bit that literally makes them chuckle. Our religion and our politics are completely intertwined and everyone seems to see it but us. 

So, I've been considering how my own personal characteristics may effect my vote and I've been learning to see more of the whole picture outside my own, comfortable lens.

For example, being that I am a heterosexual, female, white, Christian, it may be so incredibly clear to some how I would vote on gay rights. But I don't think that just because I am not gay, doesn't mean I get to act like this decision doesn't exist. My friends who are gay fear that--depending on this election--they may or may not be able to marry the person they love in their lifetime. I can't even fathom what that would feel like, to have the government deciding who I could love. Why should anyone get to make that decision based on their particular interpretation of the Bible? When exactly did we decide that we, in a somehow superior realm, should make decisions that have nothing to do with us? Can't everyone just have freedom and rights regardless of how some interpret that they do or do not align with the Bible?

Another example: there is a good chance that I will never need the services of an abortion clinic. However, whether or not abortion clinics exist will not decrease the need/desire/necessity for women to seek them out anyway. If abortion is made illegal, women will only have to put themselves at higher risk of infection and fatality because they'll have fewer options. You cannot change a person's mind just because the laws on the issues are changed. Not every woman uses abortion as birth control. Not every woman has an easily deciphered reason for seeking out an abortion, but really, it's none of my business. Who am I to decide whether or not she should carry that baby inside her? So, regardless of my own personal need, I will be voting that women everywhere--Christian or non-Christian, rich or poor--will have access to the medical services they need.  

We all care about different issues. These are mine. I admit, I don't know the ins and outs on every issue, however, I will never vote for a candidate that wants to take away freedom and rights from people who don't align with his white, rich, heterosexual, Christian view of the world. I care about the end of war, a cleaner environment, and a smaller government that doesn't have it's fingers in people's sex lives and vaginas. So, I'm going to vote for a presidential candidate that creates the most safety and freedom to as many people as possible.


David Skau said...

Thank you, for your stand for freedom. For your commitment to caring for others - whether or not they agree with you. Thank you for caring about me, since I'm likely in the group that disagrees with you on one issue or another! Thank you for making your voice heard.

I'd only ask one question. When do people start counting as deserving rights of their own?

Thank you, for being human, vulnerable, and inviting others to be as well.

Starfish said...

Well said.

Heather said...

Hey David,

Thanks for your thoughts. Your question: "When do people start counting as deserving rights of their own?" I think you're alluding to the question of abortion and when life truly begins at conception or at birth..If I'm way off, please correct me. Is that what you mean?

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts. Roger Williams, an earnest truth-seeker and Christian, founded Rhode Island on the principle of civil and religious liberty, and contributed to the way out nation operates. True Christianity never forces the conscience!