I really dislike election years. It seems like once every few years all of my social media and email become clogged with chain letters, memes, and observations about various political parties. People who are normally reasonable can turn into robots spouting out what ever political jargon their candidate or party tells them to say or believe. Sides are taken, opponents are vilified, and civility gets thrown away. The sad thing is there is very little difference between the choices offered, and those candidates with actual substantive differences get shut out of the process.
The other thing I dislike about election years is how Christians in America react to the candidates. I am sick of hearing about how we need to “elect Christians to office” or “take back America for Jesus” or pray that God’s candidate will win. Usually one candidate gets vilified as a heathen and one gets presented as pious. This year is different though. Obama claims to be a Christian and Romney is a Mormon. Mormons claim to be a completed revelation of Jesus and Obama’s pastor was shaped by liberation theology. Obama went faithfully to his church for many years, so did Romney. Who then gets vilified? The one who went to a Christian church or the one who went to a Mormon church? Who gets elected as God’s choice when both candidates claim to be godly people?
We also need to divorce the Christian story from the American story. Just because the Puritans who founded the colonies in Massachusetts made a “covenant” with God does not mean that God approved or honored that “covenant.” According to Scripture, God’s ultimate revelation to us was in Jesus Christ, nowhere does it say that God would make a covenantal relationships with any other nation. God’s choice of Israel as his people in the Old Testament was due to his own choice and the obedience of Abraham, not because a group of people got together and decided to make an agreement with him. The city on the hill Jesus referred to in Matthew 5:14 is not America, the city on the hill is the followers of Jesus Christ as they proclaim his Gospel.
This political season let us remember to treat each other respectfully and with genuine Christian love. Do not vilify your neighbor, love your neighbor. Remember that God’s story and America’s story is not synonymous. If Romney wins, a flood of goodness and real change will not come and if Obama wins then a flood of goodness and real change will not come. Things will probably stay the same and we will still be stuck in the position we currently live in as Christians: navigating the kingdoms of this world as we live in the kingdom of our God and his Christ until his kingdom comes in its fullness. Our hope is not in a political movement that will transform America and restore a false pristine way of life we never had, our hope is in the Parousia.