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Christians ought to prioritize issues — not political parties

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Taylor Walding
Variety Editor

Rather than swear allegiance to a particular political party, Christians ought to pledge allegiance only to their faith and vote on issues, not parties.
If the current political climate hasn’t made Christians aware that their faith and doctrine doesn’t fall under one political party’s umbrella, I don’t know what will.
Controversy surrounding the sanctity of marriage and life persuades many Christians to adopt the Republican party as their own due to traditional conservative values.
Personally, I’m very passionate about both of those things, but in accordance with biblical teaching, I’m also very passionate about social justice, as it relates to refugees and sexual abuse.
These issues are not held in high esteem by our president, who ran on the Republican ticket. Although I’m sure many Republicans would say they do care about these matters, it is evident Christians in both the Democratic and Republican parties disagree on how to approach or solve them.
Timothy Keller, a pastor and founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian churches in New York City, wrote an article titled, “How Do Christians Fit into the Two-party System? They Don’t” for the New York Times.
Keller talks about how historical Christian positions on social issues — caring for the poor or speaking up for the oppressed —don’t clearly fall under either political party. There is biblical wisdom to build from but no clear mandate as to how to tackle these.
Keller also addresses the importance of the church being involved in politics because refraining from doing so is essentially an affirmation to the status quo, as with slavery and segregation in times past.
Keller tells of an incident where a conservative Christian Republican traveled abroad to Scotland. He had much in common with fellow Christians there except for their disagreement about the government’s role in caring for the poor.
He preferred the strategy of limited government interference so churches and volunteer organizations would care for the poor, but they believed the government should intervene and redistribute the wealth to care for the poor.
They each came to these conclusions out of Christian conviction.
“He realized that thoughtful Christians, all trying to obey God’s call, could reasonably appear at different places on the political spectrum, with loyalties to different political strategies,” Keller wrote.
For the past few years, incidents in the political arena have been disheartening to me. Not so much because of the events which have taken place, but because of the hatefulness of some Christians when discussing pertinent issues.
I’m not asking anyone to compromise their convictions for the sake of compassion. By all means, stick to your convictions. God knows I have my own. However, consider your neighbor when expressing those convictions.
I think it’s important for us to take a step back and consider Christianity’s greatest commands: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment,” And a second commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Speak truth in love. Seek understanding and unity. Try to set aside your biases and have an honest, cordial conversation with someone who disagrees with you.
Basic human politeness is the least Christians can do, but really, we have a much higher calling of radical, Christ-centered and sacrificial love for our neighbors.

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