The Election: Thoughts From a Christian Independent
by Jen Hatmaker on October 16th, 2012

I have a thing for pomp and circumstance. I famously watched all four hours of President Nixon’s funeral. I watch every second of every inauguration. The peaceful transfer of power in America moves me; it’s all so civilized. All the naughty behavior of the election season is brushed under the carpet, and grown men exchange the reins of leading the most powerful country on earth. And I’m no American elitist in this department…I also woke up at 3:30am to watch William and Kate’s wedding live at my friend Molly’s house, who answered the door in her wedding veil.
 
Ironic, because I put very little stock in politics. I like the dressings – the traditions, the ceremony, the legacy – but the inner workings of polarized government actually leave me very cold. My optimism was deflowered in middle school when I found out about the Electoral College…
 
“So my vote doesn’t actually count??” said the disillusioned 8th grader.
“Well, yes, it technically does.”
“But technically can someone win the election and lose the Electoral College??”
“Virtually impossible.”
“BUT FEASIBLE??”
“Technically, yes,” said the annoyed government teacher.
“All truth is dead.”

 
…and it really never recovered. So it is with no small degree of dismay I watch my Christian community engage the current election. I’m no stranger to the Christian Republican narrative; after all, my home church used to put an election insert into the bulletin on Sunday to tell us who to vote for (straight-ticket Republican). I, like most of my fellow DC Talk totin’ youth group pals, assumed that Christians hedged right, because of obvious reasons, which were actually not obvious at all, but we didn’t ask questions back then.
 
Let me jump ahead and tell you where I’ve landed: I am a registered independent AND WILL ALWAYS BE. I will never get in bed with a political party, because full allegiance forfeits the right to call a party to reform, and both parties are in dire need of reform. Full allegiance tempts us to place our hope in secular government fueled by greed and power, and both parties are fueled by greed and power. Full allegiance silences our prophetic voice in favor of touting party lines and demands we turn our fellow citizens into enemies for differing viewpoints.
 
I’m concerned, sisters and brothers in Christ, with this unyielding group identification with a political party. And I know what you’re going to say: Abortion. This is the veritable end of every discussion as a single-issue decision. To be clear: I am fully in favor of protecting our unborn. I believe history will not look kindly on this page of society. And for my Right to Choose friends who want to holler rape and incest, I’ll remind us those tragic cases account for less than 1% of all abortions. We have an unprecedented loss of life on our hands. It is a dark day indeed.
 
But in many ways, abortion is a straw issue in this election. It is not up for repeal. It is not on the docket as pending legislation. It will certainly not be outlawed by either candidate ("There's no legislation regarding, with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” ~Romney told the Des Moines Register). No vote will result in a repeal, so perhaps we should not so quickly malign citizens who vote toward policies that reduce.
 
In fact, after it was legalized in 1973, abortions surged under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, remaining legal through seven Republican-appointed and only four Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices, reaching their peak of 1.6 million in 1990. Since then, abortions have steadily decreased, with the largest decline under the Clinton administration then plateauing during the younger Bush years. (source)
 
The lack of far-reaching advocacy demonstrated by most Pro-Life folks is discouraging. The Right to Life focus usually omits the crucial before and after parts of the issue, as I see the same people fighting against universal pre- and postnatal care, easier access to contraception (2/3rds of all US citizens are unchurched, so it is unrealistic to expect them to adhere to Christian abstinence, you know, like all the Christian singles are...ahem), better nutrition for new mothers, affordable health care for all, the offer of true community to young and vulnerable pregnant women…as these are the tools that will actually reduce abortions. There is a high correlation between social policies like family planning, contraception promotion, comprehensive sex education, and increased health insurance coverage and lower abortion rates.
 
But I digress.
 
Perhaps most discouraging is the irrational, unreasonable hope I find fellow believers placing in a political party, and lest you think I’m just picking on Republicans, my Christian Democratic friends ‘bout drove me to drinkin’ during the Bush years. And may we touch on the irony of an inherent value of the right – electing a Christian president – and observe the suspension of “biblical truth” necessary to endorse a Mormon candidate? The Christian Right has gone strangely silent over this tiny detail (but should a Mormon secure the Democratic nomination, please prepare your Facebook feed for 1000 posts a day about the anti-Christ and the end of the world).
 
None of this smacks of gospel.
 
Politics are rife with power-plays, hypocrisy, corruption, agendas, contradictions, good platforms, bad platforms, men and women who love their country, men and women who’ve lost their moral compass, good policy, dangerous policy…in the red and blue camps alike. That any believer imagines a political platform will either usher in or threaten the kingdom of God is worse than dramatic; it is unbelief.
 
No president can take the Kingdom out of our hearts. No candidate can steal what Jesus has already won. As the Kingdom came, so will it continue – not through Empire but through radical, subversive faith. It cannot be shaken, it cannot be removed. It lives and breathes through the work of Jesus on the cross, not the position of any human on the throne. Nor can any man in the sphere of government ever represent the comprehensive gospel of Christ. Never. He may reflect elements, but rest assured, those tenets will be contradicted elsewhere in his platform.
 
Our faith and outrage and hope and trust is misplaced in any leadership model other than Jesus’, who resisted all earthly power and position and rejected any political identification:
 
The last shall be first.
 
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
 
My kingdom is not of this world.
 
The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

 
Jesus’ subversive teaching taught his followers to shame and expose the evils of political oppression by audacious acts of humility, not through bedding down within the system. I particularly like how John Piper discussed voting in his post “Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting”, referencing 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (by the way, do not google “John Piper election” in hopes of pulling up this article, because you will find seven hundred thousand pages of predestination sermon links):
 
“So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back.”
 
These things remain: God’s kingdom exists anywhere believers are choosing love and grace and reckless obedience; it is undeterred by a red or blue context. Sisters and brothers in Christ will vote differently, because as we all must, we simply have to choose between two platforms that each include some gospel-centric policies and others that contradict. Either way, we will swallow some ideologies that belie the message of Jesus. Regardless, God is still on His throne, and our true allegiance rests in His sovereignty. Four or eight years of an administration cannot compromise the historical work of a holy God.
 
If discipleship means loving the broken, then love the broken.
 
If following Jesus means abandoning our rights, then abandon them.
 
If you care about the sanctity of life, then devote yourself to its care – womb to grave.
 
If you worry about the vulnerable, then give your life away for them.

If Scripture tells us perfect love drives out fear, then it does.
 
If your trust is in a Servant Savior, then put it there and leave it there.
 
As children of God, we should be unthreatened by secular power. The Law was never able to bring redemption, and it is still insufficient to make all things new. The healing and hope and goodness we long for is realized fully in Jesus, extended through His people despite hardship or distance or the passage of time or the changing of guards. No political party can see it through or take it away. It was finished on the cross, and the discussion is over.
 
So may we deal kindly with one another in a manner befitting the Bride, as a people who loosely engage the system of the day, retaining our prophetic voice and refusing to malign one another for a false kingdom that will soon pass away. May we preach Jesus crucified and risen, the only hope of the world. And whether we vote red or blue, may we reach across the lines, join hands, and proclaim:
 
“To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” ~Romans 16:27
 


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356 Comments

kim - October 16th, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Very well put! How do people recognize we are Christians by our evil-speak in the name of politics? If all the name-calling and political mongering time wasters would be spent in prayer and action for our country, imagine what could be accomplished!
Kristy - October 16th, 2012 at 8:54 PM
When I was a child, we sang a song, "they will know we are Christians by our love" (and if you were too, it's now in your head, too).
Sherrey - October 16th, 2012 at 11:11 PM
It's there, Kristy! And I'm certain I'm a lot older than you -- it's been around awhile.
Brooke - October 19th, 2012 at 1:07 PM
Thaaaaaaaanks! ;)
Kevin - November 10th, 2012 at 2:04 AM
How does it feel to be a minority?

Molly - October 16th, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Are you kidding me with this? Can I stand on my rooftop and shout 'AMEN' to the heavens? My heart cries for the exact words that you write! My heart aches for the unborn, but also for the broken mother. I am so tired of politics and the whole debate...
Thank you for writing such an important and beautiful message. God Bless You!
Annie - October 19th, 2012 at 9:32 PM
This.
Tammy - October 16th, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I have been waiting for this and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Cindi - October 16th, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Amen, and amen.
Holly - October 16th, 2012 at 12:47 PM
My hero! SO SO SO well put! Politicans are exactly that - politicians, no matter the party they are affiliated with. My only question is, how do we truly bring about reform? Like you, I consider myself more independent, but often vote for the conservative (read Republican) candidate because I consider them to be the lesser of two evils when choices are limited. Agree with all of your points!!! Love like Jesus loved - that is the only litmus test necessary!
Jennifer - October 16th, 2012 at 7:19 PM
Voting for the "lesser of 2 evils" is still a vote for evil. Period. I would rather not cast my vote at all or cast it for a 3rd party or 5th party no matter what that does to any other party because I will always vote for something than for evil. If I ever believe there is only evil on the menu, I will abstain.

And Jen, I love what you said about abortion - I honestly could care less about the abortion law. It is a heart issue. Change a woman's heart - give her a choice - and the law become irrelevant. And I believe these are babies - these babies now in heaven - but on this earth are broken women. Women who will count years and days for the rest of their lives. Rest of their lives. Where are the Christians for them? Where is their grace and forgiveness? Where is their redemption?
stephanie - October 16th, 2012 at 7:49 PM
As one of those women still counting now 16 years and 12 days later....thank you for this comment.
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 8:12 PM
Oh Stephanie...bless it. Love and grace to you, sister.
andrea - October 16th, 2012 at 9:39 PM
Bless you Stephanie. Prayers that you feel redeeming love.
Marla - October 16th, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Hugs to you, Stephanie!!
Laura Beth - October 17th, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Stephanie, I am lifting you up in prayer right now. God bless.
lynn - October 17th, 2012 at 1:44 AM
it's especially hard around the date. i'm coming up on five years...

stephanie, there's hope and love and redemption. Micah 7:19

and many many people will offer it, though not always those in the church. i'll be praying for you.
Susan - October 18th, 2012 at 7:35 PM
Praying for you, Lynn.
jessica - November 1st, 2012 at 6:37 PM
praying for you stephanie!!! bless you.
Tamara Mitchell - October 16th, 2012 at 9:41 PM
I think that it's interesting you'd rather abstain????
Casting a vote for a 3rd or 5th party still falls under 'the lesser of 2 evils". Let's face it...we ALL have sin in our hearts and sin is evil...therefore, it doesn't matter who you cast a vote for, you are still voting for an evil sinner...hopefully one saved by grace!
I would never throw my vote out...I am determined to make a difference through my vote, through my actions/love/giving in my home, my community, and beyond.
J F - October 20th, 2012 at 1:43 PM
AMEN Tamara!!! Acting on the heart of God/Jesus doesn't negate responsibel voting. In terms of abortion being on the block for voting....supreme court justices get nominated by Presidents...I would rather have a president that was conservative to at least give some chance of repealing Roe V Wade (which if you look into it was fixed anyway). Yes, to the commenter above that the change needs to be in the heart of a woman BUT if you make it illegal a whole lot less women will opt to break the law even if they were leaning toward abortion.

Kerry - October 16th, 2012 at 10:00 PM
There are many Christians standing at the clinic begging them to have a change of heart. There are many women who walked in their shoes now saved by grace standing there to tell them they will regret it. Thankfully in LR, Abba Adoption, founder Kandi Cox walked in their shoes. She also has a post abortion support group and she is there before they go in as well as after. They will be filled with regret and many of them will not go on to lead productive lives. So I say let's save two lives...the life of her baby bc it will ultimately save her from the bondage of her choice.

Barbara - October 17th, 2012 at 8:51 AM
This is a great conversation that I am so thankful for and being one of those past single Mom's that made the worst decision in her life at the age of 16 will vote to stand up for women and the unborn! I too have a post-abortion ministry and volunteer to help counsel young women in a crisis pregnancy to chose life for their unborn child. I share the horrible consequence of the abortion and the wonderful choice for life. I will vote for a party that stands for life and not death to the unborn. I want the truth to be told about so-called centers that offer abortion as an alternative because a live woman and child walk in and only a dead woman walks out!!! I am that witness....I love women, hurting women and want to vote for the party that stands up for both the hurting woman and the unborn child.
Susan - October 17th, 2012 at 5:47 PM
Amen Barbara. Crisis pregnancy centers do amazing ministry sharing Jesus, saving innocent babies, caring for females & males & children in spiritual & practical ways...I know this first hand for many, many years. And I will most certainly vote against the POTUS who has opened many more doors to this horrific evil than anyone in history. There is a huge difference in candidates in this critical area and not to mention Supreme Ct nominees in the future. What do we think of those who didn't care anything about the legal system changing anything in the past with slavery, etc?? Our only hope is in Christ and His Kingdom is the only one that will EVER be perfect. While we're on earth He says to be salt & light and to.. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." ~Provb 24:11
Marc - October 18th, 2012 at 9:59 AM
Another Amen to Barbara and Susan! The Democrat platform is to ensure easy access to abortions, and having us pay for them! That is evil. Slavery was the law of the land but it was primarily Christians who stood against it, and would not shut up about it. That chipping away by Christian abolitionists changed an evil law. The trouble with many Christians today is that they value a government who they see as an arm of our mission. They pat themselves on the back for promoting a government that usurps the mission and call to the Church to be salt and light. It is absurd! It is not the responsibility of Christians to empower government to do all kinds of things we think people need, it is the responsibility of the Church to use our time, finances, talents, gifts and resources to reach those who need help and those who need Jesus.
There is an arrogance in young Christians to think they are the only ones who are doing anything and that they have these brilliant "missional" solutions. Before they showed up the Church was just a building! Well, it is my belief that the gates of Hell have not prevailed against the Church. There have been Christians who for generations have lead neighbors to Christ, fed those who were hungry, given money until it hurt, endured persecution and ridicule and loved like no one else around them. This generation is not the first, and honestly, I think they have watered it down and tried to make the Gospel "hip" when even Jesus said He was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. We need to put the "hip" behind us and just live as Christians loving, "preaching the Word; being prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2



Jan - October 19th, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Totally agree!
Aimee - October 18th, 2012 at 9:46 PM
I could not say it any better Kerry!
Eileen - October 17th, 2012 at 12:19 AM
http://hopeafterabortion.com/ Project Rachel (based on Jer. 31:15) retreats focus on heping women heal from the pain of their abortion.
Dave - November 9th, 2012 at 8:33 PM
your an uneducated dimwit with your christian dogma.....
Ken - October 17th, 2012 at 9:29 AM
As a pastor I only know of Christian ministries that have helped women suffering as a result of an abortion. The ONLY ones helping - certainly not Planned Parenthood. We need to fully realize that the battle is not flesh and blood and ask ourselves the question - which side are you on - darkness or light - remember he is out to steal kill and destroy.
Maria - October 17th, 2012 at 11:50 AM
I'm sorry Ken, but there are lots of organizations that are helping women deal with having an abortion, including Planned Parenthood. Please don't spread rumors like this, because you do not know what you are talking about. This is why a lot of people choose to ignore good Christian ministries because people spread lies like this.
http://exhaleprovoice.org/
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/western-pennsylvania/counseling-services-36356.htm
Megan - October 17th, 2012 at 2:16 PM
I'm sorry Maria, but to Ken's point, the only ministries that can actually help are the one's who offer Jesus. We know that Jesus is our only hope out of the darkness. I would never recommend anyone go to a Planned Parenthood over the ministries offered by the Church. Jesus is our hope! He is the only Person who can offer life. The battle is not flesh and blood, it is spiritual, and the evil one has certainly taken captive our minds and hearts if we find rest in anything but Him. It might work for a little while, but we all know where it leads. He is everlasting.
Mom to 4 - October 17th, 2012 at 4:43 PM
Nope, don't agree. Sat in a Planned Parenthood and they told me that my beautiful baby girl, just bean sized then , was not viable and therefore was not really a baby yet. They tried to play on my fear at 18 and tried to give me an "easy" way out. I stood up from the table because my heavenly Father spoke to me and I remembered Scripture which told me He knew me before I was knit together in my mother's womb...

God saved my daughter from their destructive and secular ways. God blessed me with her.

Planned Parenthood tried to tell me it was ok to kill her. No amount of post counseling from Planned Parenthood would help me face my self or my God had I allowed them to end her life.
Julie - October 18th, 2012 at 1:51 AM
Maria, I strongly urge you to research the founder of Planned Parenthood. She believed in eugenics and destroying the African-American race.

Michelle - October 29th, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Are you kidding me? Planned Parenthood helping women who have had abortions? What planet do you live on? Read the description of such counseling. Its a bit like the tobacco companies helping people to quit smoking. Planned Parenthood is in the BUSINESS Of abortion. Talk to ANYONE who worked there and now regrets it.
Alena - October 17th, 2012 at 3:08 PM
Loved this article. Thank you. Continue to be prayerful and vote your conscience, Holly. Bless you. Don't let the Jennifer's of the world weigh you down!
Tom - October 20th, 2012 at 5:19 AM
As good as all the points are in this article, the reality is, we need to be responsible with our vote. Independent will never win an election, so disagreeing with both candidates and voting independent or not at all is a waste of the responsibility God has given us to live in this world. He does reign obviously, but He has also given us rule of the earth (Genesis). So, since abortion and gay marriage, liberal spending and taxing to support wrong agendas are only a few of the major problems with the current administration, voting Republican is still the only option (or as you put it) better of two evils. So lets not be distracted with well written articles that potentially cause religious apathy, because our current President will bring more than twice the damage to this country then he did this round of he gets in again. His true colors will come out in a way that will even wake up the currently very deceived media and undiscerning Christians, but it'll be too late. So, great article and well spoken, but we still need to vote him out and replace him with the better of the two - which will not happen if articles like this cause people not to vote. You are not bad for voting for an imperfect candidate - not voting, however, is a dangerous mindset to be in and we all suffer if that lack of vote leads to the worse of two evils. Reality is more important to consider than ideology.
Karlat - October 21st, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Perfectly stated Tom. I agree with you, we must not deceive ourselves nor misuse God's trust over what He has given us.
Amy - October 26th, 2012 at 2:03 PM
Very nice! Voting Republican is not necessarily voting with "blind allegiance". One candidate is clearly opposed to American self-government, pro-life, Biblical marriage, and religious freedoms. The other, while maybe not agreeing with every stance I have, is at least willing to work to support the freedoms I currently cherish. If the day comes that the Democrats favor life, liberty, and American self-governance, then I will by all means vote Democrat.
Sheldon - October 26th, 2012 at 10:54 PM
This is a very refreshing article. I needed to read this as it eloquently puts many of my thoughts into words! Thank you!

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. My reply is to Tom.

I find it a bit disheartening that many of my Christian brethren have been so shortsighted/nearsighted in looking at current affairs.

Christians should realize, there are the civil laws of the land, there are moral laws in man, and there is the spiritual law of God, which supersedes everything. Many civil laws are not in line with God's Law but the "world" observes and keeps them because, well, the Legislature has enacted them and the Judiciary has upheld them. As a result, the Executive/Administrative branches have also "in their official capacities" supported them to varying degrees. Many do not "personally" live by those laws.

We also have to realize that there are unborn-again people (non-believers), born-again people (believers) who live carnally (according to their own will), and born-again people who live in obedience to the will of God the Father, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In addition, the Holy Bible says if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth, that Jesus Christ is Lord, then we are saved. There are so many accusations that President Barack Obama is Muslim. The President has made his Christian confession public: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxEbxMcPwZU and has said he is Christian by choice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOOCABMz6jg The Bible tells me that no man can say Jesus is Lord unless it is by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3) Christians should know this!

On the flip-side, many prominent/credible/reliable pastors and teachers ALL agree that even though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) claims to be Christian, it seems to be more of a cult than Christian. Google searches should assist with comparisons of the two beliefs. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-acb/acb-r002a.html I have found this one to be helpful.

It seems so clear to me that our enemy Satan is operating with a sense of urgency. It seems he is trying to deceive so many people, even Christians, so that he can advance his agenda. The great deception would be that many unaware Christians are misled by the real wolf in sheep skin. The people cry for the release of Barabbas. The people perish because of a lack of knowledge.

Barack Obama is far from perfect since he is just a man. Why is he getting so much unnecessary opposition? Why are there so many lies being told about him? Why is he branded as a Muslim even though he is a confessed Christian?

After I take all of these things and more into consideration, I believe Barack Obama is the best choice for President of the United States of America at this time.

It would be great to see Hillary Clinton run for and become President after B.O.! :D

Thank you and God bless! :)

Michelle - October 29th, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Awesome, Sheldon. Thank you!
GW - October 29th, 2012 at 2:12 PM
Nowhere in your post do you mention Obama's performance or fitness for office, nor do you mention how he has, or has not, served in accordance to his oath of office.

Whether he is a believer or not is not for us to judge; God will sort that one out. Presidents, and those aspiring to be, should be judged against what the office requires. Mr. Obama has been an absent leader, an AWOL Commander-in-Chief, and a clueless foreign policy wonk. He has been a failure beyond that of Jimmy Carter.

Additionally, for you to endorse a man who is outspoken in his support of abortion and gay marriage flies in the face of Christian morality. I could go further into why subverting the Constitution in the name of Marxist/Socialism is bad, but you've drunk the Kool Aid, my friend.
Marci - November 2nd, 2012 at 2:36 PM
I am a Mormon and I can't tell you how sad it makes me when people are clearly so ignorant as to call my religion a cult. Our whole religion is based around Jesus Christ and his teachings. We do not 'worship' a leader. We worship Christ. Just because we believe that there is an added book of scripture, that by the way is another testaments of Jesus Christ, does not mean that we do not believe in the bible. I believe in the bible as well as the Book of Mormon. Perhaps before you criticize a church that you obviously know nothing about you should do some home work of your own. Have you read anything about our church from members of our church? Have you read the Book of Mormon for yourself? If you are interested in the truth about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints then you should go to the source instead of listening to people who are clearly anti-Mormon. By the way, how Christ like is to judge others for their belief? www.lds.org. Jen Hatmaker, you have been a huge inspiration to me. Your book changed the way I think about things. It makes me so sad that you make disparaging comments about the way I believe.
Melissa - November 7th, 2012 at 8:17 PM
So you would rather vote in the presidential candidate that ultimately lost and vote against God? God wanted Obama in, and that's why he is in.... God is in control!
Leslie - October 16th, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Love this so much..."God%u2019s kingdom exists anywhere believers are choosing love and grace and reckless obedience; it is undeterred by a red or blue context." I consider myself independent, although I tend to lean right (not the money-grubbing, mean-spirited right, but with the actual people in our actual country who cherish life and liberty). I've remained mostly silent (and often dismayed and discouraged) in this election season, but you've given me a timely reminder, a fresh breeze of perspective. Thank you!
Leslie - October 16th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
And also, "Jen for President!"
Fawn - October 17th, 2012 at 10:56 AM
YES!!!
Laura - October 16th, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Chills. Tears. Goosebumps.

Amen.


Jamie Friesen - October 16th, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Oh. My. Gosh. Yes. Thank you. Imagine we all lived in Independent land where we didn't just vote for candidates based on their lineage but on their policies. Where people watched debates with open minds because they were trying to learn about the candidates not make snarky comments about the other guy. Where we could applaud a good idea no matter whose mouth it came out of.

That is my utopia. The blind allegiance to a party no matter who the candidate is and what they say is driving me up one wall and down another. Where are the critical thinkers and open minds? Where are you?
Molly - October 17th, 2012 at 9:21 AM
Ooooh, ME, ME! I'm with you Jamie. I'm not as unbiased as I wish I was, but I definitely divide my snarky comments equally. :)

Seriously though, we're becoming more of a caricature than ever when we can't acknowledge good ideas from both sides.
Katie - October 16th, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Amen!
Becky Daye - October 16th, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Thank you. You expressed exactly what I feel in a way that I never could. So many great things in this, but my favorite is "it was finished on the cross and the discussion is over."
Crystal {Serving Joyfully} - October 16th, 2012 at 12:53 PM
This sums up so much of my own ideas of politics. Thanks for sharing.
alison - October 16th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Brilliant!
Brooke - October 16th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I like you.
brooke
Kelly - October 16th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I love this so much. A friend and I were just speaking of this very thing yesterday.
Becky - October 16th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I love you so much. That is all.
Allen - October 16th, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Well put. I continue to encourage those around me. No matter who is in office, God is still in charge. I've read the end of the book, and while I don't understand all of it, I do know God WINS!

-Peace
Wendy Redal - October 16th, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Once again you speak with the all-too-rare voice of Truth, Jen Hatmaker, that transcends parties and poles and pettiness. Ever so grateful for your courage and willingness to speak it!
Kim - October 16th, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Amen and Amen.
Patricia - October 16th, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Can I have a Cliff Notes version of this please?

Karen - October 16th, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Sometimes I have feel like i'm taking crazy pills when it comes to the american political process, and have felt no small amount of self-censorship for fear of losing friendship and ministry support. Thank you, Jen, for your compassionate, intelligent and prophetic voice. Amen and amen!
Carolyn Farrell Kelleher - October 16th, 2012 at 12:58 PM
My goodness- can you hear your sister in Christ in the state of New Hampshire clapping so loudly and stomping her feet for the sheer joy of something finally voiced about this election worth hearing??!!! My heart has been ridiculously distressed over these very issues! I am always listening to both sides of my beloved fervent christian family and feel like I just want to say- do what the bible says- follow Jesus and his humble example of loving kindness and simple truths- just pick up your cross and carry on for the Kingdom- and pray for your leaders because the Lord has spoken.
Ingrid - October 16th, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Thank you for your ability to write in words things that are written on my heart. I agree, I agree, I agree!
Settle - October 16th, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Amen. and Amen.
Carrie - October 16th, 2012 at 1:00 PM
I don't know you, but I love you. Well said.
shannon - October 16th, 2012 at 1:01 PM
p e r f e c t i o n.

thank you for being a voice of reason.
Angel - October 16th, 2012 at 1:01 PM
My heart it pounding so hard. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have a way of writing out what is stirring in my guts.

I'm thankful for the way Jesus uses your prophetic gift to point people to Him and to shake people to care for those in distress.
Alysa - October 16th, 2012 at 1:51 PM
Ditto what my friend Angel said. Love this!
Ashley - October 16th, 2012 at 1:01 PM
I have often struggled with a platform that screams the rights of the unborn child (which I do as well) yet wants to forcibly remove immigrant children raised in our Great Land and return them to a place of destitute future (don't even get me started on Entitlement in America)? Or removing the (tiny fraction of a fraction) of foreign humanitarian aid? If you have never seen starvation and poverty and death, then you have no idea the lengths a mother would go to to give her child Life. Sanctity of ALL Life. I'm sick and tired of the belittling, the angry facebook rants, the hatred. I'm tired of all of it....

Thank you for writing my heart's cry
Jenee' - October 17th, 2012 at 10:53 PM
My sentiments exactly. Pro-life means pro all lives, including brown or Spanish -speaking lives.
Chrissy - October 20th, 2012 at 7:06 PM
YES! It is not humanly possible for me to agree with this more. Thank you!
Abby - October 16th, 2012 at 1:02 PM
Thank you. Very well said. It reminded of something Shane Claiborne said, taken from Relevant Magazine. He said, "Governments can do lots of things, but there are a lot of things they cannot do. A government can pass good laws, but no law can change a human heart. Only God can do that. A government can provide good housing, but folks can have a house without having a home. We can keep people breathing with good health care, but they still may not really be alive. The work of community, love, reconciliation, restoration is the work we cannot leave up to politicians. This is the work we are all called to do. We can%u2019t wait on politicians to change the world. We can%u2019t wait on governments to legislate love. And we don%u2019t let policies define how we treat people; how we treat people shapes our policies."
Jenna - October 16th, 2012 at 1:05 PM
I do believe we should vote and engage in political discourse in a respectful manner. However, the crux of this post that I wholeheartedly embrace is that the church and its people cannot be complacent with the government doing the work the church should be doing (i.e. taking care of the single mamas and the kids no one wants). We MUST rise to the occasion. A system will never replace what is broken in our world: relationships-- with Christ and His Church, in our families, in our communities.
Kerry - October 16th, 2012 at 1:50 PM
Exactly...many look to the govt to provide what the church and her people SHOULD be providing.
Jan - October 16th, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Exactly.....one party is set on replacing the church with government. I want to choose what charity I support and not be taxed to death in order to support what someone else wants to support. Lesser of two evils is ok.....Less government vs more government is the bottom line!

Callie - October 16th, 2012 at 9:55 PM
These are intelligent comments that are right on point.
Kiki - October 16th, 2012 at 1:09 PM
I really appreciate this post. I hate all times political, mostly because of that great divide. And I have christian independent friends who jump on the same sort of bandwagon of shouting about their "truth" and the evil in the two main parties. I wrote a not-as-eloquent post about my frustrations recently and have to keep reminding myself to breathe and look upward amidst election season madness. http://www.stillhatepickles.com/2012/09/trusting-in-princes-and-presidents.html
Aaron Klein - October 16th, 2012 at 1:11 PM
I agree with most of what you wrote here and LOVE your blog. But I think differently about this election for two reasons, and I think you're laboring under a false premise here.

First, registering to vote as a member of a political party does not constitute full allegiance. My choice of party is a reflection of my values and beliefs, not the other way around. Some of the most powerful reform efforts in history were waged from within an institution, not from without.

I respect your right to be a registered independent and many of my family members are, but please don't assume that those of us registered with a party subscribe to all of its beliefs or are giving that party our "full allegiance" (and that goes for Democrats and Republicans).

Second, the life issue is too important to be trivialized in the way that you did. I agree 110% with you that "There is a high correlation between social policies like family planning, contraception promotion, comprehensive sex education, and increased health insurance coverage and lower abortion rates"...and we should pursue those policies.

But I want a federal government that believes in the value and worth of every human life: white or black, young or old, rich or poor, gay or straight, born or unborn.

And make no mistake. Who we elect as President has a wide-ranging impact on the protection of human life at all stages and all ages, long before we ever get to changing hearts, minds and laws on the one issue of abortion. Regulations matter. Judges matter. Secretaries of Health and Human Services matter.

I've been called a bleeding heart conservative and I'm not afraid to admit it. I just came back from Africa and we had some Obama-voting bleeding heart Christian liberals on the trip too. We're working together to build a school there.

I have a hard time voting for the President because he doesn't share my belief about the value of human life. I can respect and love and work with others with opposite viewpoints, but let's also not pretend that it doesn't matter.

The 35 million unborn children that never got a vote on this issue would beg to differ.
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 1:17 PM
You're absolutely right that just because someone is registered with a party means they are fully allegiant. Point well made. And of course, either side could argue that they value human life. We find certain policies valuing life on the right, and different policies valuing human life on the left. And may I say well done on building the school...in this we are certainly kindred. ;0)
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 1:17 PM
"doesn't mean they are fully allegient"...ugh.
Elizabeth - October 16th, 2012 at 1:18 PM
YES! YES!!!!!
Chasity - October 16th, 2012 at 1:19 PM
Very well said Aaron Klein.
Summer - October 16th, 2012 at 1:40 PM
Yes and Yes . . . my sentiments exactly! I know so many Christians who want to sit by with the heads in the sand and pretend this all isn't happening. Your vote does count . . . it does matter. There is a way to be involved in a loving, Christian manner. We can still vote our values without spewing hate. IT IS POSSIBLE. Thanks to you both . . . so well put!
Jenica - October 16th, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Amen Aaron and Summer- Jen, you are awesome- thanks for sharing your heart. I do have to agree that I definitely am registered with a party (and proud of the values and freedoms they stand to protect) and am passionate about the issues at hand because A LOT is at stake- our children's future- I am not giving my full allegiance to that party- but I will exercise my Freedom (that many people died for me to have)- to Vote and be involved, because if all of the Christians "drop out" we are in bad shape! I say lets rise up and be passionate about our freedoms and values and make sure that the people in government (who work for the American people), are putting policies in place to insure our children have the same freedoms and opportunities we have been given. I so love that we have the freedom to discuss!
Kerry - October 16th, 2012 at 1:41 PM
Very well said!
Stephanie - October 16th, 2012 at 2:12 PM
I agree with Aaron regarding the registered member of a party argument; I'm a Republican and often feel as though the only way I can effectively change some of the things I'd like to change about my party is by working from within - I'm sure that's true of those who find themselves in the other camp, as well.

No party is ever going to perfectly mirror a person's entire belief system (I would think not, anyway), and I certainly respect your right to identify as an independent. Studies have shown that this group of folks is growing at quite a clip, while both major parties are losing members. I think that speaks to your thoughts on our system being sick.

That said, it is so, so important that rather than checking out of politics (which is not what you are arguing, of course) is not going to fix the system, either. I think it's critical that no matter what people feel about the political process, that we don't throw the democratic one out with the bathwater.

My pastor over the weekend (at COR in Kansas City) preached a sermon on the intermixing of politics and religion, and the dangers of it. He had a fantastic closing thought:

"If how you practice your politics turns people away from the church, then you aren't practicing politics in a way that honors God."
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Great comment, Stephanie. I, too, respect your right to party affiliation. And I love what your pastor said. AMEN.

Ev - October 16th, 2012 at 4:10 PM
Yes, I am a registered Republican, and one reason for my decision is that I want to be able to vote in the primaries. I am certainly not one of those people that votes strictly Republican, though. I do not give full allegiance to any party or person. My allegiance lies with Jesus. I LOVED this, and I promptly emailed it to my husband! Now if only there was something I could give him to keep him from screaming at the TV during the debate!!! lol
JessieLeigh - October 20th, 2012 at 9:00 AM
I, too, am registered Republican, and it is a very recent choice. I made it because, like Ev pointed out, I want to be able to vote in future primaries. Contrary to being registered with a party as a sign of "allegiance" or because I'm "in bed with them", I am registered with a party because I do fear that both sides are very broken. I have been so disheartened by the candidates and platforms that are put before us... I decided that it's not right for me to sit independently on the sidelines and fuss about how disappointed I am. If I'm not happy with the system, I need to do everything in my power to have a voice and to attempt to elect officials who best represent my beliefs. Being registered means I don't stand idly by and then just complain that the Republican candidate stinks.
Heather - October 16th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
I like this comment.
Mindy - October 16th, 2012 at 5:12 PM
Well said. Would also like to add, with the exception of exempting bc from co-pays, this Administration has not added any additional social programs or changed the criteria for qualifying. Many have been added because of current financial environment. Generational Poverty is also not loving people. Freedom does not come through enslavement to govt, and the church most def needs to set up. Also, this President will likely appoint at least 2 SC justices. That's huge if we really carry the banner of the unborn. Finally, while pro-life candidates nationally have little effect (thus far) on the abortion argument, state and local legislators certainly have. (google Rachel Maddow's recent report regarding the almost elimination of abortion in Mississippi.).
Bethany - October 17th, 2012 at 6:43 PM
Yes, I was hoping someone would bring up the Supreme Court Justices that the next president will likely appoint. The right Supreme Court could make a huge impact in saving unborn lives, so it does matter where the president stands on this issue.
Amy - October 16th, 2012 at 5:31 PM
Yes. This.
Jackie - October 16th, 2012 at 9:54 PM
Amen Aaron.
Micah - October 17th, 2012 at 4:45 AM
Thanks Aaron. You put to words exactly how I feel about this blog.
amy - October 17th, 2012 at 7:01 AM
Aaron,
thankyou for your words
Cyndi - October 18th, 2012 at 5:05 AM
YES!

Amber - October 18th, 2012 at 8:06 AM
Yes, Aaron! I wholeheartedly agree with you. Thank you for saying it so well.
Aaron - October 18th, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Yes, Aaron, very, very well stated.
Glo - October 16th, 2012 at 1:12 PM
You..you have this way with words that makes my heart agree and come to peace. Thank you!
Michelle - October 16th, 2012 at 1:13 PM
I just found your blog last week and love you. Is it too soon to say that? This post has clinched it for me. You are officially my new BFF. I agree 110% with everything you have written and I believe there are more of us that feel this way than don't. Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.
Wanda - October 16th, 2012 at 1:16 PM
Just for the record, I am happy that you can register as an Independent for your mental peace. However, in my state, you can only vote in primaries with multiple candidates for that party only. Therefore, and Independent in my state has no voice or vote in primaries as there is never more than one Independent option. So I am registered with a "party", but I vote for whoever I believe will be the best candidate, in primaries and final elections. Do not judge me by a party, it does not signal "allegiance" to that party at all, and I resent that improper implication.
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 1:18 PM
I don't judge you at all! Point well made.
Linda B - October 16th, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Same situation here. Not feeling judged. Love your post! Thank you!
Melanie Dorsey - October 16th, 2012 at 1:17 PM
In regards to your statement, "And may we touch on the irony of an inherent value of the right %u2013 electing a Christian president %u2013 and observe the suspension of %u201Cbiblical truth%u201D necessary to endorse a Mormon candidate?"

Here's a theologically sound person, Ravi Zacharias, who addresses Christians voting for Mitt Romney as it relates to his Mormon faith.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWLzHt8ImyE&feature=youtu.be
I hope you and many of your readers will take a few minutes to watch it.

Melissa Thompson - October 25th, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Melanie Dorsey, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! This Ravi Zacharias Video is simply PERFECT in explaining how to choose between an 'evil' and a 'lesser evil'...! I am completely at peace with voting for Romney...but this video simply explains that when neither candidate is a 'like-minded Christian', you MUST vote for the one who will promote a 'morality' that is closest to the Biblical morality!!
Again, I say, THANK YOU!!!!
kylethegirl - October 16th, 2012 at 1:18 PM
I'll be honest with you- I'm an agnostic athiest, I don't believe in a god or a man named Jesus or any of that... I lean heavily Republican on the more economic issues, but I also strongly believe in a woman's right to choose.

That being said, I really appreciated the well thought out and written notion that although we may vote one way or another, it does not necessarily define our moral outlines to a T. We are forced to make a decision between two candidates, and it is unlikely that we agree with either 100% of the time.

Despite our many differences in religion and politics, I am thrilled to read something intelligently written, with facts and sources. It seems as if through this election process people concerned with Romeny's conservative view of abortion are afraid to vote for him strictly because of that, and do not realize that he has said that while he feels that way about the issue, even if he is elected, there is nothing in his agenda that suggests a change to the way it is currently.

I, too, wish that we all weren't so concerned with parties and colors and sides... I wish we got to choose from more than two people for President. I wish more people were informed on all fronts and had all the information necessary to make a vote that counts. I wish our votes 'COUNTED!' I wish that EVERYONE was so adult to be able to have a conversation with people who stem from different belief systems and political views without said conversations being tainted with hate and malice. I may not believe in a god, but I sure as anything believe in all of your rights to worship whomever you please. This country was founded with the hopes that we could all live our lives without religious persecution, I like to think that extends to those of us with no religion. I would not like to be looked down upon for my non-belief.

Acceptance- it's as simple as that, and I wish everyone would jump on board.

You were right when you said both parties need reform. Neither are perfect- couldn't be farther from it. The whole system needs a makeover if you ask me, might as well start with the electoral college! I was also horrified in a civics class growing up when I realized how it actually worked. Nonetheless, I will be at my local polling center in November to cast my vote for a man who I may disagree with on MANY issues, but that I feel like is the right person for the job for a myriad of other issues.

That being said, thank you for the beautiful read, I follow you on Twitter and read when I can. (I also woke up at the crack of dawn to watch the William&Kate wedding, wish I had thought to dress up too!!)
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 1:22 PM
So well said, Kyle: "...although we may vote one way or another, it does not necessarily define our moral outlines to a T. We are forced to make a decision between two candidates, and it is unlikely that we agree with either 100% of the time." Thank you for this reasonable statement. And all "agnostic atheists" are welcomed here. ;0)
LaDawn - October 16th, 2012 at 1:19 PM
Amazing. Thank you!

Elizabeth - October 16th, 2012 at 1:23 PM
This is part of the disconnect for me...I would love to see abortion cease to exist. I would also love to know that those lives impacted (moms/babies) were valued and cared for. In 2006, a total of 82,056 induced abortions were reported to DSHS. Old Texas stat, according to the Dept. of State Health Services. That means that from 2006 on it is possible that there have been half a million abortions in the the state of Texas. Lord Have Mercy On Us. As the body of CHrist how can we respond to these lives, x2. A million souls. Takes my breath away.
Amanda - October 16th, 2012 at 1:24 PM
Excellent post! I live in the Bible Belt where Republican is synonymous with Christian. Imagine what the church could do if we put as much passion and energy into being the arms and feet of Jesus as we do into arguing politics!
Adam - October 16th, 2012 at 1:25 PM
Jen! Jen. Thank you. Seriously. Thank you.
Ree - October 16th, 2012 at 1:25 PM
I like your words but I do believe we are called (all people - Chritian and other) to be good stewards with what we have and with what is entrusted to us. Our nation is a great one and I would like for it to continue to be. Guess that's where our thinking minds diverge. Some hold true to the democratic platform of growth and progress while others choose the Republican idealogies. Personally, I will be voting for Mitt Romney - no, I am not Mormon. I consider myself a has been Republican who could now correctly be called an Independent. I find myself becoming more of a "hippie" as the years progress and I am one of those who would literally give the shoes off of my feet to someone who needs them. I strive to be more and more Christlike in my daily actions. This has led me to feel somewhat schizophrenic or double-minded because I like the tenets of he Democratic platform that all should be treated fairly.....why should I have a larger house than my neighbor down the street or why should I enjoy the occassional movie when others cannot afford to feed their family a meal other than beans and rice? I don't know the answer to that other than to say that my heart says to do as much as you feasibly can for your neighbor, for those hurting and for those less fortunate - whatever that may be. I want to keep the fruits of my labor so that I can gladly share them with those who are hurting and needy. I don't want it taken from me by force to be used frivolously and with gross misuse. Guess I just wish the Kingdom of God was at hand........
Jen Hatmaker - October 16th, 2012 at 1:34 PM
I completely agree with you, and I fully respect the vote of every Christian. I understand that politics and platforms are complicated, and there are worthy issues to back on both sides. And I, too, pray for God's Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. But not through government. I expect it will be a little more subversive than that, the way it always has been. Blessings.
Beth - October 16th, 2012 at 1:26 PM
Awesomeness. I truly agree.my husband said that very thing to our people at church last Wednesday night. The "christian" choice, is not a biblical choice, that religion thinks Jesus was created.that is not true, people. I am telling people to look at beliefs, not platforms. And yet, neither seems a winner to me.
Beth - October 17th, 2012 at 1:08 PM
So my comment appears confusing. the mainstream christian culture choice that is being pushed is not necessarily a very Christian choice. In the fact that Mormon belief says that Jesus was created. That is false, John 1:1 clears that up for us, in that Jesus has been and always will be.
I really wish we could get option c. But yet that is why my hope and faith is placed in Jesus Christ.

Jamilla - October 16th, 2012 at 1:26 PM
It seems as though you've taken the thoughts out of my head, done research and then written them eloquently here. GREAT post!
leslie - October 16th, 2012 at 1:28 PM
LOVE! I remember some ugly comments that you recieved when you tweeted some inspirational quotes from our president during the DNC, and it kind of reminds me of this post...how do we show our "Christian-ness" when we are spewing and spitting, any time we do not agree? I don't like feeling like I have to vote a certain way just because I am a Christian. And, I totally agree on your comment about "if the Democrats had a Mormon candidate..." Wow-ee!!! Keep keepin' it real, Jen!
Carl - October 16th, 2012 at 1:30 PM
Awesome. Thank you so much for articulating this so well.
Laura E - October 16th, 2012 at 1:30 PM
Thank you for articulating what I have been feeling (about politics) for years. It is a fallacy to think that we can champion the cause of Christ through politics--we dare not try to somehow link them in an unholy alliance. I wholeheartedly agree that we must remain independent and test ALL things against the knowledge of the living Christ.
Vicki - October 16th, 2012 at 1:30 PM
"(by the way, do not google %u201CJohn Piper election%u201D in hopes of pulling up this article, because you will find seven hundred thousand pages of predestination sermon links)" made me LOL! Thanks Jen for articulating much needed truth and biblical (notice I didn't say common...) sense.
KB - October 16th, 2012 at 1:33 PM
Great post and so true. I would consider myself an independent when it comes to my state and local elections but have always voted for the republican candidate in Presidential elections. I don't know the answer on how to reform our Presidential election. I find it sickening the amount of money raised. Obama's campaign has raised nearly 1 billion dollars. And Romney's campaign is not near that but still WAY too much money into the process. I do agree with you 100% that God is King, that will never change. But I do think God has really blessed our country and I see it as an opportunity to bless other nations. We are able to be the hands and feet of Jesus in many countries because of the freedoms we have and the financial success of our country. I feel in no other election is this threatened. We are as a nation in a bad place financially, spending way too much money and in debt beyond my comprehension. I am very pro-life and do agree that the we drop the ball with care for the mother but how can we convince our elected officials to give govt. funding to pregnancy crisis centers instead of planned parenthood? I just attended our local Friends for Life fundraiser, which operates solely on a donated basis and provides free pregnancy test, ultrasounds, parenting classes, free formula and diapers and in the process volunteers share the Lord with these women. Why aren't they eligible for tax dollars?
Also, I disagree with you about Romney being a Mormon and the Christians being silent on this. I have heard a lot about it especially during the primaries. I know many Christians who won't vote for him on this reason alone. We have a system and he is the candidate. For me, I see a man who gives away A LOT of money and while I am not a Mormon nor do I agree with them, they have a moral compass and GIVE. They were the first to show up during Hurricane Katrina...before govt help showed up. One last thing, as a former marine wife who sent my husband to war (IRAQ) 3 times, the sacrifice our family made makes this process very important to me. But ultimately, I rest in Him and know that no matter what happens He holds our leaders in the palm of his hand. I just hope it is His plan for our nation to still prosper so we can be a blessing to other nations and bring the good news.
Gregg - October 16th, 2012 at 4:45 PM
Very well said KB. I agree with you on the Mormon issue. I also don't believe that just because a person calls himself a Christian makes them a Christian. The Bible says we will know them by their fruits. Obama calls himself a Christian but recognizes and celebrates the Muslim religion. He would not recognize the national day of prayer but instead had no problem recognizing the celebration of Ramadan. This is much more of a grave concern for me than a Mormon. What people need to look at is the fruit from these men. I believe the last 4 years speak volumes of Obama and it really scares me. I can say all of this without one ounce of hate in my heart. I wish that people would not view all disagreements as hate. I find myself concerned about those who stand on the fence in fear of taking either side because they do not want to offend anyone. And I'm not referring to the red or blue side. We as Christians need to stand for Biblical truths and pray hard for this country. We should not make decisions solely on our making our lives more comfortable today but think about our children too. Lets all be committed to praying for our leaders and this country. It is important no matter what side you are on.
Laura - October 16th, 2012 at 1:38 PM
Amen and Amen! Neither side has/is the answer and never will be. And I thank God for that!
Michele - October 16th, 2012 at 1:44 PM
Well, hello, Voice of Reason (aka: Jen) amidst the crazy politics/Facebook posts telling me if I vote for anyone but ... I must not be a *true* Christian. God is still God, on His throne, no matter who the President of the United States is/is not. Now I'm not saying I won't exercise my right to vote, choosing the candidate(s) that align with my conservative perspective, but gosh-golly, I will not condemn anyone - ESPECIALLY a fellow believer - if they opt to vote the opposite.

Another fantabulous post, Jen!
Anna - October 16th, 2012 at 1:48 PM
LOVE this. Thank you.
Robin Dance - October 16th, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Ooooooooo, Jen. Good stuff. GOOOOOOO stuff.

Girlfriend, you can PREACH a word!

xo
Brooke - October 16th, 2012 at 2:02 PM
I am reading 7 right now, and have become mildly obsessed with you in the process. This just put me over the edge...thank you for prompting me to ACT and love Jesus more.
Ev - October 16th, 2012 at 5:29 PM
I'm reading 7 too, I bought it when Jen spoke at Council Road Baptist Church a few weeks ago. Totally awesome!
Elaine - October 17th, 2012 at 1:48 AM
Jen H. - I too, just found you through your book "7" and came looking for more tonight - and found this...all of it. I agree with your points and identify with so many of the thoughts of the respondents above. Michelle - I too think there are a LOT of us out here that feel this way - we identify with one party or the other because of our backgrounds, but also with ideals from both parties and find ourselves moving to be "Independent" because there are crucial issues on both sides.
Thanks Jen for all your thoughts which are so well put together and obviously mirror the thoughts and FEELINGS of so many of the rest of us. Keep putting it out there lady - you have a gift that can keep on giving!!
Jill - October 16th, 2012 at 2:03 PM
I was literally shouting at the screen in agreement with you! I worked for several years for a Republican congressman, whom I had deep respect for, out of college. I voted Democrat in the last three presidential races, but was also sure to clap loudly for President Bush as he was announced on the square in Washington during the incredible pomp that was our last inauguration (my husband is a government teacher and we were fortunate to chaperon a senior class trip to Obama's inauguration). I am a huge fan of our (Ohio) current Republican U.S. Senator, Rob Portman, and will vote for him when he is up next for election.

Purple is what we should strive for as a country, not red vs. blue. "Purple, being the color associated with royalty, is symbolic of the sovereignty of Christ." "Sovereignty (being) the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area." (from Wiki)
Authority over any HUMAN in political office, ever.

Thank you and AMEN for this post!!!
Donna - October 16th, 2012 at 2:07 PM
AMEN.
Mari - October 16th, 2012 at 2:14 PM
Amen and amen! Whenever Christianity is equated with a political party, Christ is demeaned.
Erin - October 16th, 2012 at 2:16 PM
I decided to close Facebook until the elections were over, I didn't want to start hating people I love, Red and Blue alike. Today, I message a friend who had a baby and saw your blog, thank you Jesus. I frustrate friends and loved ones on both sides for being independent, sometimes question my own views as the political world can be louder than the eternal perspective He's given me. Thank you so much for being bold enough to write this and share it.
Bonar Crump - October 16th, 2012 at 2:22 PM
So it's like that, huh?!? What's wrong with the kool-aid? Everybody's drinking it.

I like it. Like ALOT!
Carol - October 16th, 2012 at 2:26 PM
So much about this post and the comments that follow it that give me hope. Your "So may we deal kindly with eachother..." , Aaron Klien's wanting a government who values all life, Jenna's point that the church needs to rise to the occasion, and kylethegirl's statement that we will vote for someone even though we may not agree with them 100% . I wish everyone could see this. I will be sharing. Thanks Jen!
Katie - October 16th, 2012 at 2:33 PM
Absolutely love this. You are brave for venturing here, but thank you for doing so!
Vanderbilt Wife - October 16th, 2012 at 2:36 PM
This is the best thing I've read in a LONG time. I want to be you when I grow up.


lfrlegal - October 16th, 2012 at 2:36 PM
Thanks for the post Jen. I don't disagree with you at all. Until Kingdom comes, I will remain to the left of politics...mostly because I am so disgusted by the Christian right and their hypocrisy.
Jan B - October 16th, 2012 at 2:37 PM
I so appreciate your comments, Jen, as they help to re-focus our frustrations with the "push and pull" of the political arena at this time back to center - Jesus Christ. Politics makes me want to just go hide in my art room and drool on my paints for another month or so til it's all over. Lord knows, I'm not judging people's opinions (though sometimes their methods), because I myself barely have one and not an intelligent one at that.

I'll admit I was going to vote straight ticket. And, as you may have surmised, it's not because I'm passionate about one side or the other. But it's because I just don't feel that I know enough about either platform to make an intelligent decision about the presidency, much less all the other seats of government. True, I haven't done my homework. I confess, I'm cynical. I just don't believe anything I read on paper, hear over airwaves or watch on a screen. I feel it's all so biased anymore and I've just given up. So, yeah, I will go out and "do my duty" on election day, but I'm not passionate about it at all. Certainly, I have a responsibility to a point. But it's so hard to find "the political truth" (I think that's an oxymoron) and I totally know that life will go on either way and the "real" truth of the Bible will continue to captivate my attention on a daily basis regardless. The everyday stuff of life, with Jesus as my guide and mentor (not to mention Lord and Savior) is where I'd much prefer to focus my time and energy.

Even if I knew how to register "independent" (I'm gonna go Google it...), I realize that doing so would remove all excuses (mine) and put the ball in no uncertain terms smack into my hands to make sure that I'm making an informed and responsible decision. Gah. I hate to say, but it really discourages and exhausts me just thinking about ALL the research I'd have to do to be able to become at least responsibly informed about every candidate up for election. Sad, isn't it? I suspect, unfortunately, that I'm not alone in feeling this way. To be registered with a party allows you to close your eyes, your mind and your curtain while you go in and yank one lever...and then walk away feeling like a good citizen. Just being honest here. Dang. I don't want to be this way. But I really don't know what else to do. Like you, I fear it doesn't make much of a difference what lever(s) I pull, anyway. Sigh. What WOULD Jesus do?
Melinda - October 16th, 2012 at 2:37 PM
If politics was what the world needed, Jesus would have come as a politician. But he came as a Savior - Our Redeemer. Because THAT'S what we needed. And still do...
Thank you.
Angie - October 16th, 2012 at 2:41 PM
Most everything you've said, has crossed my mind during this election season. Thank you for stating it in a much more eloquent way than I ever could! God bless!
Camille - October 16th, 2012 at 2:53 PM
I've been waiting to read this post since you mentioned working on it on FB a week or so ago. As always, I was not disappointed. :-) I'm SO frustrated with the people who will mention God in one sentence and then spew forth hate for one candidate or another in the next. These folks obviously don't understand the definition of IRONY. I'm SICK of people insinuating that if a person votes one way or another, then he or she isn't a Christian. God is so much bigger than all this. Thank you for this beautiful post! :-)
Amanda - October 16th, 2012 at 2:56 PM
I agree with so much posted here, and Jen and I love your blog and your work, but one thought has struck me throughout this election. I do believe that we should vote based on our Christian principals to the best of our ability and in the way we feel God leads us to do. But the thought has crossed my mind that maybe it would be wise to focus MORE on changing our country through the church than through the government. I know many people probably feel this way but to vote this way might look a bit different.

Like, I will vote for a president that will keep our country secure, will not drown us in waves of overwhelming debt, and actually will know how to help, not hurt, an economy. I also think abortion is one of the bigger issues because we are not talking about quality of life here, we're talking about life at all, and ending the killing of life should be a high priority. But then you get into actually taking care of those who are in need physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally and spiritually and I think that these issues should be addressed first and foremost by the church, not the government. I mean, we will never make the government "un-corrupt" or motivated by the gospel. Therefore, when it comes to spreading the kingdom we should focus on our churches doing so, and not shaping our voting based on hoping that our government will do this.

So that being said, I think I will vote based on who I believe will best protect our country, get us out of debt, and help our economy to thrive (and not give tons of money to funding abortions) and then focus on helping get our churches on mission to spreading the gospel and loving our neighbors in the way that Christ has shown us. The change we hope for will come from the church (through the power of Holy Spirit) and not from the government! Just my two cents. :)
karen - October 16th, 2012 at 3:06 PM
I'm sorry, but would you rather give tons of money to abortions or tons of money to war? And in all seriousness, how does one define "keeping our country secure" - your #1 priority, it seems here - and how does it relate to biblical principals?
april - October 16th, 2012 at 3:56 PM
I think what she's trying to say (and, to be clear, i have no idea :) ), is the idea that government should be about law and order. Not about the social needs the Church should taking care of.

In my mind, the bottom line is the Church has failed to do what Jesus commanded. We keep looking to our neighbor to do OUR "job." And many of us are looking to the government to do what the Church should be doing -- taking care of the poor and orphans, widows and weak.

The government can't and won't do what the Church should be doing and what only the Church CAN do. That's because it's the Church's job. The buck stops here. It's our responsibility. Jesus didn't speak to governments to have more programs. He spoke to His people to give as He did -- He made himself poor so others could be rich (he didn't give to Caesar so his neighbor could be rich). He give his life so others could live. We fail every day in this -- maybe we're just trying to blame someone and the gov't is the goat!

(Btw JH, I love "The Law was never able to bring redemption, and it is still insufficient to make all things new." SO TRUE! And so GLAD the Law isn't what redeems)
Amanda - October 17th, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Karen, you certainly misunderstood what I was trying to say, which I don't blame you. I see that I did ramble quite a bit (It was a long day yesterday and I was exhausted) :)

April is right in saying that the idea I was getting at is that I feel the government should perhaps be more about law and order and the Church needs to step up more into being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are in need. I simply meant that we can't expect the government to act like the church or to be on the mission like Christ has called us to be. That's all.

By "keeping our country secure", I meant that we need the government to do the practical things that the church can't. We can't protect against terrorism or war. We also can't address the practical needs of the economy like the government can. My "# 1 priority" has nothing to do with the government but every bit to do with us, as Christians, actually being the Church that Christ intended us to be to a very hurting world.

Anyway, I'm sorry my post rubbed you the wrong way. :)
Nikki - October 16th, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Government funds cannot and do not go to fund abortions... It is against the law. Just FYI. I respect your pro-life belief, but the spread of misinformation doesn't help anyone.
KBH - October 16th, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Umm, what do you think Planned Parenthood is? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood#section_3
See section on funding.
Amanda - October 17th, 2012 at 6:10 PM
Nikki, did you know that in the stimulus package that Obama created at the beginning of his presidency, millions went to funding overseas abortions? You can look it up, it isn't misinformation. And, of course, Planned Parenthood is partially funded by the government and they perform a huge percentage of the abortions here. I'm not spreading misinformation, and only lightly touched on abortions at all, but I do think it's sad how much of our money does in fact go to helping provide abortions. Misinformation would be to say that the government doesn't help fund abortions.
Hope - October 16th, 2012 at 3:09 PM
Amen! Amen! :) Thank you for writing this piece!
Nish Weiseth - October 16th, 2012 at 3:16 PM
You win the internet. Forever and ever. Amen.
Darren Schalk - October 16th, 2012 at 3:22 PM
I agree with all this, and then some. But I think our generation has a problem in general with accepting any sort of "title" or "branding." We don't want to be labeled in any way, shape, or form, and while that is a good thing in the political world (I think) it's not such a good thing in the church world (I think). Just as we refuse political labels, we also don't align ourselves with any particular belief system which allows us to hop from church to church regardless of belief systems or doctrine. Many move from Presbyterian to Catholic to Pentecostal with no thought of the varying beliefs portrayed. So, I'm with you on the political spectrum, but I wonder if our refusal to accept labels is more of a hindrance or a help. Just a thought.
shari lynne - October 16th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
Amen and Amen Sister! Preach it! Enough Said! :)
Blessings Jen
Jenbunch - October 16th, 2012 at 3:37 PM
I want to kiss you on the lips. And clone you. And carry around my little Jen H dolls and pull the string so people can hear your words and remember what level-headed wisdom sounds like. Because? WE HAVE FORGOTTEN! Thanks for taking the time to form these thoughts and share them with us. PS: I'm friends with Kristen H and have been trying to control my seething jealousy that she is now real-life BFF's with you. I mean, I'll get over it. Kind of. Or never. Whatever. I LOVE YOU!
Rachel Turner - October 16th, 2012 at 3:37 PM
Oh, my stars! Oh, my stars!! Oh, my stars!!! Preach, it, Jen Hatmaker!! I don't care what the pundits say after the debate tonight - I am declaring you the official winner!! Speak, sister, and do not STOP! :)
Cindy - October 16th, 2012 at 3:41 PM
These very words have been forming through frustration in my heart for so many years. thank you. at last someone can give voice to my thoughts. Amen.
Lisa - October 16th, 2012 at 3:49 PM
Love it! I've tried to say the same thing, but failed miserably. Can I mention that while I am pro life, I have always been perplexed by the Republican push for the death penalty? Seems incongruent to say the least. We are all full of duplicity and double mindedness. Come Lord Jesus!
erika - October 16th, 2012 at 3:58 PM
AMEN!

and can I say that politics will never be the answer. the world is broken, the world needs JESUS, not a man (or woman) and their policy leading the United States.

and guess who is voting DEMOCRAT for one position and REPUBLICAN for another?

this girl here.
Blake - October 16th, 2012 at 4:10 PM
Conviction is ever present in my heart as I read your words. I get too caught up in the political rhetoric at times. There is a right way to address the issues without caving in to the political quicksand. Thank you, Jen, for leading me to think.
Debi - October 16th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
Confused...a registered Independent in Texas? Then you don't vote in primaries? Independent means on the fence. The fence belongs to the devil.
Jocelyn - October 19th, 2012 at 3:59 PM
Yes, you do sound confused.
MM - October 16th, 2012 at 4:28 PM
If Jesus were our President today I highly doubt he'd be invading foreign countries, cavorting with bankers and the military industrial complex or making decisions based on a cost benefit analysis.

Doing the right thing has nothing to do with money and has nothing to do with being easy. Jesus would do the right thing no matter the cost or the sacrifice. I always remember Jesus casting out the bankers and doing all he could to feed the poor. I don't remember him doing an analysis to determine how much better off his approval ratings would be if he helped the sick. He did it because it was right.

Sadly our politicians are just men and are very far from being as virtuous as Jesus. Since that will always be the case, we must make do and make the best choice with what we have to choose from.

But how do we do that?

I tire so much from my fellow Christans telling me how Christian they are. Keeping track of how many times they say name Jesus or how many times they thank him each day. That is just plain phony.

Don't tell me how Chriatian you are....show me. If you perform Christian acts, trust me you won't have to tell everyone how Christisn you are. It will be obvious.

The same goes for voting. One should vote for candidate because of the acts they perform, not based on political party or affiliation or by what they tell you. (They only tell you what you want to hear anyway). One should always vote by their auctions. Didn't smart old grandpa say "Actions speak louder the words"?

It applies now just as it did in the past.

Ask yourself which candidate behaves more Christian like. Close your eyes and weigh the facts. Who better follows the teachings of Jesus?

Value not what they say, but what they actually do. If you look deep and without party bias, you should have your answer.
Bryan Hersman - October 17th, 2012 at 9:48 AM
While I disagree a lot with Jen, I disagree even more with this post. First we can outlaw abortion first and change hearts second. Going across the street and shooting your neighbor is both biblically wrong and against the law. God has never been against the industrial war complex or whatever you want to call it. You mean the industrial war complex that has brought down the evil of the murderous communist Russian empire, or that of national socialist party of Germany? If God was running the war against terror he would be doing it with scorched earth policy. As for taking care of the poor and needy, nobody does it better then the supposedly cold, uncaring, hearth of capitalism. I argue the the great majority of poor in this country are actually wealthy compared to most of the world and to history. I wish I didn't have to care as much about who we elect, if we would have kept what I believe was the Devine inspiration given to our founding documents then it really wouldn't matter much. We could live our lives without the heavy hand of federal government directing everything you touch. The beauty of the design was individual free states, a state BTW is AKA a country. So currently 50 countries forming an alliance or union. The what matters is how each state is run. If you really don't like how Texas is run then maybe you would fit better in Florida. The current and past statists can't allow that. Mainly the same reason communist Russia had to eliminate the US or keep their people from knowing what it was like here, freedom leads to prosperity. If one state was more free, it would become more prosperous to the point everybody would leave the tyranny of the "fair" and caring state where everybody is kept equal, equally miserable, for the opportunity of liberty. Its happened over and over in history, and you would never hear a liberal even being game for such an experiment.

I do believe God is ultimately in charge, it is his will who our president will be. That doesn't mean he is trying to make our lives easy with his selection, but to teach us. I can accept whoever that is but that doesn't mean we are to be disengaged from the process.
Jessica Bridges - October 16th, 2012 at 4:42 PM
I think we should all right Jen Hatmaker in for President! :}
Jenny - October 16th, 2012 at 5:11 PM
Sometimes I read your posts and it almost seems like you don't like Christians.
Charles - October 17th, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Sadly I feel the same way.
Jill - October 19th, 2012 at 1:29 PM
Sadly, you are both mistaken. It's not that Jen, or those of us like her, dislike Christians. It's that we are heartbroken by the fact that people are so willing to stand up and fight for a candidate...to the point of bashing another human being...and yet they won't stand up and fight for an injustice like children starving, or being trafficked as sex slaves. Christian or not. God calls us to LOVE one another..not just those who vote the same as us. And by LOVING one another, we show respect for each other as well.
Danielle - October 19th, 2012 at 3:01 PM
Sadly, too many people want to bear the name "christian" but not live how Christ has called us to live. Jenn does a wonderful job of being brutally honest - and I believe God uses her words to convict the hearts of his people....
There are enough "Christians" out there padding peoples egos and tickling their ears so as to not make them uncomfortable. It is time for the North American Church to experience some real discomfort...
TRL - October 16th, 2012 at 5:12 PM
schzam
Wendee Helton - October 16th, 2012 at 5:21 PM
Oh man, do I love this...you truly are my 'soul sister' Jen!

A friend who is a pastor in Minnesota recently posted this article in his FB feed on things Christians should keep in mind when engaging in politics (which I also loved) - short & very much to the point:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/politics/7-things-christians-need-remember-about-politics?fb_action_ids=4706833357092&
MStone - October 16th, 2012 at 5:56 PM
Just wanting you to know I read it and appreciate it. I was going to make a smarmy comment and try to draw out angst/anxiety amongst the readership but thought better of it.....but I have to say: cheers to your skillz...word up.

Kris - October 16th, 2012 at 5:58 PM
In the words of the great prophets - The Avett Brothers - "Your life doesnt change by the man that's elected...decide what to be and go be it." Amen, bruthas
Natalie - October 16th, 2012 at 6:04 PM
AMEN! You put more eloquently what I have been saying for years. Thank you...thank you
MT - October 16th, 2012 at 6:17 PM
Thanks for freeing me from having to vote against one party because, as some American bishops have said, their platform is an "intrinsic evil". But I will continue drinking rain forest friendly coffee down at the cafe. Seriously, you should read C. S. Lewis' Abolition of Man before you wade into these waters.
Phyllis - October 16th, 2012 at 6:42 PM
THIS. Oh my word, some of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters are also 'drivin' me to drinkin' over these issues. When and why did it get like this? Thank you, THANK YOU for stepping up and SPEAKING IT. I will be thinking of this quote from you for a long time: "That any believer imagines a political platform will either usher in or threaten the kingdom of God is worse than dramatic; it is unbelief." Did I say thank you already?! : )
Dawn Ledesma - October 16th, 2012 at 6:51 PM
Seriously guys, It's Ron Paul for President. Freedom works. Worked for Jesus, still works today.
Terry - October 16th, 2012 at 6:51 PM
I sometimes wonder why I keep reading this blog by someone who has little in common with me(at least on paper), and then a post like this shows up and I remember! Thanks for being a voice of reason (I especially loved the "before and after" digression since this exemplifies why I remain pro-choice--here's to hoping your words are read and absorbed by people in both parties and on both sides of that issue) and reminding us that not all folks calling themselves Christian have forgotten that Jesus was anything but a "Christian Conservative." Keep speaking out from your heart and you can't go wrong--thanks for sharing your ideas with us.
Tina - October 16th, 2012 at 6:54 PM
I just think you & I are destined to be friends! And not in that creepy-stranger-left-this-comment kinda way. :) great post!
Joey - October 16th, 2012 at 6:57 PM
Thanks.
No matter who wins this election, God will ALWAYS be king.
Holly - October 16th, 2012 at 6:59 PM
Not only did I appreciate your post, I appreciate the (mostly) civil comments from your readers. I think that says something about the truth of your message.
Mindy - October 16th, 2012 at 7:01 PM
Facebook is an interesting place for people to share and I am finding many Christian's feeling very free to share their policital leanings and more with their fellow "friends" - many of whom are non-believers. The way they share and carry on is with such a lack of love and even an ounce of grace is nowhere to be found. Why would any non-believer want to know Jesus when this is how He is represented by his followers? You had some very good and thought provoking words. Thank you for sharing...
Holly - October 16th, 2012 at 7:15 PM
Funny how I was really thinking along these lines this morning on my way to work. I was struck by the fact that by focusing on only two main parties we often miss the many ways they are similar and then we lose the ability for overall debate about the ways that we may not agree with those similarities. I would love for presidential debates to include other candidates. I would love for all of those candidates to talk about their views on a wide range of topics. I would love to believe I could vote for a party other than democrat or republican and have a chance of them actually winning.
Andrea - October 16th, 2012 at 7:21 PM
I'm Canadian. But it applies. Love this!
Missy @ It's Almost Naptime - October 16th, 2012 at 7:32 PM
It makes me want to scream when Christians hop in bed with politicians.

We have dear friends who are missionaries in Italy. Why would one of the countries where Christianity began need missionaries? Because the State was the Church until about 20 years ago. People will always hate the State. Therefore...people hate the Church. And with good reason.

I believe that the LAST thing we should ever want as believers is to be identified with a politician or political party, ANY political party.

But, I'm in Texas. My opinion on this rarely flies very far.

I've decided that I cannot in good conscience vote for either candidate this year, and I'm thinking this may become a permanent edict.
Kara - October 16th, 2012 at 7:41 PM
Thank you Jen for saying EXACTLY what I have tried and failed to say!
Mark - October 16th, 2012 at 7:51 PM
As soon as we recognize that neither abortion, homosexuality or poverty are political issues but moral issues; then we will have much progress. As soon as we understand that capitalism as we know it today is corrupt and vile with much greed and selfishness and understand that "virtue capitalism" is the way to go, we will have made much progress. We were admonished to take care of the orphans and the widows and we have been pitiful at that.

With that said, God in His infinite wisdom and being all knowing and understanding that nothing catches Him by surprise, He knew we would be the country we are today; He knew we would have the political system we have today, and He knew that both would miss the mark and His desires for us. Even so, as a Vietnam veteran, I think that we have both a right and an obligation to vote, regardless of what party it is. Too many people fought and died for our rights to vote.

I will say one more thing, as a messianic Jew let me forewarn all that have posted that sometimes it becomes necessary to hold your nose and vote. If you are not voting based upon biblical values and standards, then either you do not understand the bible, or you don't care you'll vote your opinion. Voting for anyone whose ideology is not in line with the Word of God, that is a misplaced vote, period. Finally and this is important, if you don't take a stand for something you will fall for anything.
Michelle D. - October 17th, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I soooo agree with your first paragraph!!! Nicely said. We are in the place we are today as a country because very few people care about good morals. (or even know that they ever existed) That sums up most of our problems in a nutshell.
Lovin' It - October 16th, 2012 at 8:24 PM
You are Jesus' Oprah. Love. It.
Susan - October 16th, 2012 at 8:32 PM
Jen thank you! That was so fantastic! You hit the nail on the head with so many points! Great job! God bless your sweet heart!
Vicki - October 16th, 2012 at 9:04 PM
Thank you. I have been so frustrated through the years at how ungodly otherwise Godly people behave (and now tweet and post on facebook) during election years. So glad to know there are others with similar feelings.
Annie - October 16th, 2012 at 9:16 PM
Jen,
I appreciate your heart and understand the overwhelming feeling that lead to this post. I do want to add one important thing. The elected president this term has the ability to elect one or two new supreme court justices. If conservative judges are appointed, there is a possibility of roe v. wade being overturned. This would mean that abortion is no longer a fundamental right in this country. Also, I am passionately pro-life and passionately pro-women. I pray for and work for the healing of broken women before and after abortions. General statements like the ones in this post are easy to make, but are unfair, hurtful and just as devisive as the facebook posts you are deriding.
Kelly - October 16th, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I believe Jen covered this with this information: "In fact, after it was legalized in 1973, abortions surged under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, remaining legal through seven Republican-appointed and only four Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices, reaching their peak of 1.6 million in 1990." President George W. Bush appointed two justices, and while both are conservative, neither is staunchly pro life. I am, like you, passionately pro-life. I just have a lot of doubts that any justice will wade into this territory. The two appointed by Bush said that Roe v Wade is "settled law" and that they would "respect the precedent" that it established. Will the appointment of other conservative justices make any difference? I think the work that you are doing is that best course of action. I have wrestled with this idea, voting a straight pro-life ticket or considering other issues at hand. I'm struggling most with poverty. I feel that voting pro-life will do little to change the current law or protect the unborn. Should I then try to use my vote for other issues that I find of great moral significance as well, being a good steward of our budget, aiding the less fortunate, etc.? I'm just commenting because I have struggled with this. I value other opinions on this matter.
Annie - October 17th, 2012 at 7:46 AM
i appreciate your response. I understand the difficulty of overturning roe v. Wade, but am hopeful that it is possible. I also understand the struggles with poverty issues. I do think that abortion is one issue that can be dramatically changed with legislation. Poverty is complex, and there is no one piece of legislation that is going to fix it. There are so many good non-government responses to poverty. And no one thinks that handouts are the best way to remedy cyclical poverty, but that is primarily what the government does. Just some thoughts...
MMS - October 17th, 2012 at 11:10 AM
If we are concerned about poverty, we should be most concerned about allowing all children equal access to high quality schools (parent directed school choice) and good paying jobs for their parents. President Obama has shown for the last four years he is not able to turn the economy around. I understand it was bad when he came in. The fact is, it hasn't gotten better. It's worse. There's no improvement and too much spending. I was worn out after GWB. I didn't vote for Obama, but I truly hoped he could follow through on the promises he made. I'm an American, first, and I wanted him to get our country on the right track. He couldn't. He has not offered one new idea for this four years. There are so many other reasons besides sanctity of life which make this President not the best choice. What has he done for poor people? Not one new social program, the qualifications to qualify haven't changed. Yes, more people qualify now because they do not have jobs! I really would like someone to help me understand what you really believe Pres. Obama or his administration have done to help the poor? And, while we're bashing conservatives for ignoring the poor, we should also reference the data indicating conservatives give 3 times more to charity than Liberals. Where is the love?
Kelly - October 17th, 2012 at 3:25 PM
MMS and Annie, with regards to poverty, I really think it is difficult to say which policies are the most beneficial, the most sustainable because it is such a complex issue. Truthfully, I don't follow politics as closely as many do, but I do interact with the poor in this country every day. I also work overseas in developing nations on a regular basis. I have never really identified with either party and have traditionally voted Republican. I think whether government aid in the U.S. is a hand out or a hand up really depends on the recipient. I interact with hard working families every day that could not survive if the government hadn't stepped in to cover their children's health insurance, provide food stamps, WIC, etc. That being said, there are plenty who abuse the system as well. While Obamacare is a messy subject (I am a physician and disagree with much of it including federal funding for Planned Parenthood and abortion), it has improved access to Medicaid services for children, and I'm looking forward to the end of preexisting conditions. That could be a very tangible help to many of my patients and their families. I am in favor of national health insurance; I'm just not certain that Obamacare is the right plan. That being said, I don't think Romney's plan is any better for improving access to quality health care. It is the same with economics. It is hard to know which policies are responsible for which outcome. Was the economic recession because of policies during the Bush administration? Does it take more than 4 years to make up for that kind of mess, even with different policies? If Romney cuts the taxes of the wealthy how does he make up for that lack of revenue? Does Obama's allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire generate sufficient revenue to make up for the spending (i.e. Obamacare)? What is the best way to create more employment opportunities? I feel really uncomfortable allowing the extremely wealthy enormous tax breaks especially when so many are struggling. Sometimes I wish I were an economist so I could make more sense of all this. It is hard to know the truth. I feel like Obama's proposed economic polices make the most sense in terms of improving employment and reducing the deficit while maintaining important social programs that help the impoverished. I have also been really disappointed by the divisive behavior I've seen by both parties, but I am particularly bothered by the Republican party because of it's general affiliation with Christianity. I feel I have a responsibility to vote, but it is so hard to decide which issues are most important and which proposed policies will create the desired outcome. I'm trying to learn what I can; I pray for wisdom. I remain undecided at this time.
Alison - October 18th, 2012 at 12:56 PM
While I'm a pro-life voter who also struggles with many of the Republican positions towards povery, immigration, etc., I've consistently voted Republican and will continue to do so for the simple reason that I strongly believe the appointment of one or more conservative justices could lead to the demise of Roe v. Wade. It came very close to being overturned in 1992 by Planned Parenthood v. Casey and only a last minute switch by Justice Kennedy "saved" it. Given the makeup of the court now, Scalia and Thomas would surely vote to overturn Roe (as they did in Casey), Alito would also (consistently conservative), and most likely Roberts. In fact, in 2007, these four (plus Kennedy), upheld a state partial birth abortion ban, explicitly reversing a 2000 Supreme Court decision striking down such a ban. Statements during confirmation that they considered Roe "settled law" are mostly understood as comments that have to be made in order to be confirmed by the Senate, and not an indication of how they would vote. Therefore, if a liberal justice (most likely Ginsberg who is close to 80 years old) were replaced by a conservative justice, Roe could be history. Also, I don't think this Court has shown a reticence to wade into "hot" political territory. For example, the Court's conservative justices will most likely strike down affirmative action this term which is a hot-button issue and has been allowed to some degree for years. Finally, abortion supporters themselves have expressed serious concern that a Romney win could spell the end for Roe.
Connie - October 16th, 2012 at 9:24 PM
Your words speak what my heart cries out... thank you.
Anna C - October 16th, 2012 at 9:40 PM
Hi. I love you. Have I told you that? Probably not since I've never commented. I'm sitting here screaming AMEN AMEN in my head because my baby is sleeping and it's just not worth it to wake her up that way. :-) Anyway, thanks for putting into words what I've been struggling to understand and express for the past several weeks.
Melissa - October 16th, 2012 at 9:44 PM
As one of the few Democrats to respond, I am grateful for your words. Check out the Christian Left on Facebook. They are wonderful, too. I try to live as Christ did. I run a children's home. A wise priest told me "your work is your mission" and indeed it is. Red, blue or purple, I will vote Blue and feel blessed by our current president, because his words and deeds echo and support my life's work. I hate abortion- who loves abortion? Your words heartened me. Thank you.
Jen Arnold - October 16th, 2012 at 9:48 PM
Brought to tears. My heart exactly, just much more eloquently put than I could! Combing through trying to decide which quote to post on my Facebook wall -- such TRUTH here. Thanks, Jen. So inspired by you and how God works through you!
Theresa - October 16th, 2012 at 9:49 PM
Excellent! i could not have said it better myself!!
Chuck Anderson - October 16th, 2012 at 9:58 PM
"Politics are rife with power-plays, hypocrisy, corruption, agendas, contradictions"

Is this possibly because Christians have ceded the ground and stopped being salt and light as Christ commanded? If we had more Christians in office, serving and loving like Jesus, this would change.
Alison - October 16th, 2012 at 9:59 PM
Powerful words. You spoke (wrote) my very heart on this matter. Bravo!
Linda Kelly - October 16th, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Extremely well put! I recently read the book Sacrilege and was really taken with what was shared therein. I have said for years that the extremism which has taken over in so many Christian Churches is not what Christ taught. I do not believe in standing in the pulpit and telling people how to vote! I also agree with your comment on Mormonism, and have brought that up to many of my Christian friends who have chosen to completely ignore it. I personally sat through two separate courses on Cults and was instructed BOTH times that Mormons were part of a Cult and were NOT Christians....this has been a really difficult time as I have watched people "unfriend" me for sharing these beliefs. This nation needs healing and that can only come if we as Christians become true "Christ followers!"
Mike - October 16th, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I am so ashamed that "Christians" are passing judgement on who is or isn't Christian based on their religous label. Isn't this whole post about not judging on candidate or the other based on their political party label? In other words, judge them based on the character, morals, work ethic, plans for the economy etc.?
Who are we to judge who Christ will accept as his people. Do you know the heart of Mitt Romney? Has he accepted Christ as his Savior and does he live by faith in Him? Then don't judge him. The fact that he is Mormon certainly doesn't preclude him from the above which I think is a pretty fair definition of Christian....
Charlotte Ludema - October 16th, 2012 at 10:22 PM
"Both parties"... um... there are more than two parties. Maybe if you look over the Libertarian party you would like their ideals of freedom. Freedom for the unborn, freedom for people to keep more of their own money (and give freely by choice), freedom freedom freedom. Look into it; maybe it's one party's philosophy that you would like.
John - October 17th, 2012 at 2:01 PM
While I appreciate you pointing out the fact that there are other political parties (I consider myself Libertarian leaning), it's important to realize that a 3rd party candidate will never have a legitimate chance of being elected in America. The US political system has been built in a way that no one outside of the 2 main parties has a chance of being elected (see the exclusion of Gary Johnson from the debates despite him being on the ballots in all but 3 states).

Additionally, I feel the need to point out that the Libertarian party is actually very Pro-choice... it says so in the party's platform. This is actually my main deterrent from fully supporting the Libertarian party. If they moved towards Ron Paul's version of Libertarianism, sign me up.

Jody - November 8th, 2012 at 12:37 PM
What's important to realize is that the sense of resignation people have towards this 2-party system is what keeps it the way it is! If nobody ever chooses 3rd party candidates, then OF COURSE they won't have a chance! Stand up and express your frustration with the current 2 parties! Speak with your vote, and also with your voice! Don't just give in. It may be a long, slow journey to get there, but there is a better way to choose our leaders than the gong show we have right now.
Christa - October 16th, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Perfectly stated. Specifically the paragraph about the Christian Right going silent on the point of Romney being Mormon and preparing my FB page for the rabid status updates should it have been a democratic Mormon. I rolled my eyes as I could visualize those updates. Every time I read one of your blog posts, I am so grateful God gave you the gift of writing. For me they are always spot on, make me think, push me closer to God, challenge me or uplift me to name a few things. Thank you for this post and being a voice of reason.
Donna - October 16th, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Brilliantly stated, Jen. I constantly remind myself to think about what Jesus would be doing, not about what the Republicans or the Democrats are doing. I try to boil down the choice to which candidate would serve those among us who can't speak or act on their own behalf. How would Jesus serve the neediest among us? And I pray that God will give the winner discernment and a caring heart.
Julie Jung - October 16th, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Thanks Jen. Just thanks!!

Kaylyn Van Camp - October 16th, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I love this more than words.
Kaytlyn - October 16th, 2012 at 10:41 PM
So good. Thank you for creating a language and understanding for all of this.
Pam - October 16th, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I'm crying over your comments...So many times I've wanted to scream from the rooftops to my fellow Christians that I love so much that putting Christ's name on secular politics only makes Satan rejoice. You just made Satan have a bad day!!! God bless you!!
blake - October 16th, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Interesting. You claim to be an independent. And to be far too spiritual to dirty your hands with political issues. Yet all your arguments are leftist agruments. And all your attacks and questions are focused on the political right. Appears to be a lack of integrity here.
Angie - October 16th, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Appreciate your comments and also your willingness to address this. Our pastor did an amazing job with a sermon this past Sunday on how we, as Christ followers and Bible believers should look at voting. Nothing partison, nothing telling us who to vote for or what to vote on, but what values we need to consider. His arguments are quite strong on the importance of this election, particularly in relation to saving the unborn and religious liberty. Might be something you would enjoy listening to as this issue is obviously important to you. http://scottsdalebible.com/sermons/values-for-the-voting-booth
Susanelizabeth - October 16th, 2012 at 11:58 PM
You. Speak. Truth. My heart and my brain thank you.
Tracy - October 17th, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Back to the basement. . .
cliff - October 17th, 2012 at 2:20 AM
I respect your perspective and agree with many of your Biblical truths. However, we are all blessed to live in a country of freedoms for a reason until Jesus returns. If the majority remained neutral, independent, or undecisive we wouldn't be writing books, blogging, or even be able to worship freely(ex. North Korea). I personally choose to make a definitive non-neutral choice and have faith in God's direction for our country. Also, remember to note Romans 13: 1-7.
Trace - October 17th, 2012 at 12:15 PM
It seems obvious from her blog that what Jen meant by "independent" is that she votes on the candidate based on his or her qualifications rather than party affiliation.
Nikki - October 17th, 2012 at 4:49 AM
I agree with the bottom line- that God is in charge no matter who's elected, but forgive me, it's still missing some things. For instance, when you speak of abortion really not being an issue that will change no matter who we vote for, that's a half-truth. No, the judgement will not be overturned by either Candidate, but there are other things at play. For instance, Obama puts into policy more federally funded abortions, while Romney opposes this and would move toward repealing that funding. I am all about grace for those women who have been through that horrible experience! I just don't feel ok voting for someone that is taking my tax dollars to fund more abortions. So, yes, God's in charge, and until his second coming, I will vote with God's word as my guide. I cannot remain neutral or use my own opinion to make that choice.
Christa - June 1st, 2013 at 9:51 PM
Good point and covered the content of my argument to her position. It is true that no candidate has promised to repeal RvW, funding of abortion clinics using taxed monies is dangerous territory, and lets call it what it is...institutionalized sacrifice to molech.
Kris - October 17th, 2012 at 6:41 AM
Oh my word. AMEN!!!!!!!!!
Sam - October 17th, 2012 at 7:37 AM
Very well put!! As Christians, a moral responsibility is to vote and we honestly know what (2) two choices are available this time around. So as nicely put by John Piper..."by all means vote. But remember: %u201CThe world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever%u201D (1 John 2:17). Voting with you, as though not voting"
Zoe Ann Whitley - October 17th, 2012 at 8:20 AM
As believers we owe all of our allegience to Christ and our passion should be to lead other to Him. However, we would do not take a stand on issues of the day, are we being less than Christ expects. He cared for those around Him. He fed them, healed them and took care of their needs just as He does for us today. Who will stand for those boys and girls who have yet to be born and someone is telling their mothers it is their choice and there are no consequences. We have to look at the issues and the platform of those who are running and vote as closely as we can to the things Christ would. We know there is one candidate that will not stand for the unborn and any change he would get behind would be to make this process of killing even less complicated. I would ask that we pray for God's will and mercy and exercise our right and duty as a citizen of this country and vote.
Anne - October 17th, 2012 at 8:23 AM
I feel as though you might have given up on the church. By voting against abortion, we can still be caring for life from cradle to grave through the church. Why leave it up to government to take care of those who God has called us to take care of? I'm voting for the issues I know scripture speaks clearly to and I am voting with faith in the church to fill in the gaps of feeding the poor and counseling pregnant women through crisis pregnancy centers.

My first reaction would be to just disregard how you vote and these handful of comments that thank you, but the fact is, we are blessed to be a priesthood of believers. We do not have to (nor should we) come up with Biblical interpretations and values on our own. Rather we should consult a great cloud of witnesses that have come before us. We should read those believers of days past and then read the people those people read. How confusing for the unbeliever to see an un-united front when it comes to issues the Bible has clearly spoken to if you believe in the infallible Word of God.

Being pro life does create some incredibly messy situations. We have adopted more than once to help rescue precious children from these situations. I see the "pro life vs pro choice" as a " life vs. quality of life argument".

If breaking from the traditional stance on issues that believers have normally had, we really need to be hesitant. Is this out of a rebellious spirit? Is this out of a frustration with our other brothers and sisters? Why have Christians never historically voted for abortion?

Oh, and then there's the debt issue which the Bible is clear about also.

I'm praying for you Jen as you have influence over many through your words and your church. I'm also re examining my own heart. This will all be sorted out as we stand accountable to every word that comes from us before a perfect God. May we glorify the Holy One.
Mary - October 17th, 2012 at 8:26 AM
I was working in a village in Rwanda in 2006. I was with a pastor as we shared the gospel in a village that the Mother Church wanted to plant a new church. It was raining, but we continued through the village. We came to a house and he motioned for me to come inside. Sitting there, were about 15 women ... from the very young to what appeared to be "old". He looked at me and said, "All these women are prostitutes and they need to hear about Jesus". I was totally unprepared in my flesh, but the Holy Spirit began to speak through me. I shared that I was raised in a big family ... a poor family. I knew that my mother loved me and that she would do whatever she had to do to put food on the table. "My" story led to the story of Jesus. As I came to a time of invitation, the pastor asked me to step outside. About 10 minutes later, he came out and told me that they all decided to follow Jesus. They formed a group called "Former Prostitutes of Rwanda" (later they changed their name to "Special Sisters".) We had a glorious time of prayer ... asking God to be their help so they could follow Him without compromise. Most all of them had AIDS. I went back a few months later to do a conference with the Special Sisters. A friend wrote a study on Rahab, we had an AIDS specialist share about the disease, we brought them gifts of clean, white underwear, candles, flashlight, and other gifts to help sustain them. When we asked how their lives had changed, it was amazing to see how God transformed their hearts. One woman shared that she no longer breast fed her baby because of her AIDS. She was trusting God to provide. We washed the feet of these precious women and many of them began wailing so loud it made me feel like I was in another place and time ... unforgettable. So, what transformed these impoverished women? JESUS! Not me ... not a pastor ... not a candidate. How can we help women make the right decision in the USA about their babies? JESUS! We need to pray that God is drawing women thinking about abortion to Himself, and then we need to be obedient in sharing the gospel with people God brings to us. No politician can change the heart of an individual ... only Jesus can. I haven't seen JESUS on any ballot yet. It's up to me ... it's up to you, not presidential candidates or the government. Amen!
Mary - October 17th, 2012 at 9:18 AM
Sister, thank you for this reminder of who our God is and who we are in Him. His sovereignty and power and vast control over all brings rest and freedom. Thank you for this reminder of hope. May HIS Kingdom come. May we live as those awaiting & preparing for HIS Kingdom. Amen, COME Lord Jesus!
Matt - October 17th, 2012 at 9:31 AM
I appreciate your thoughts and post greatly. I am thankful we live in a country where we can have this discussion openly! I have come to the conclusion over the past 5 -6 years that politics are a distraction from Kingdom work. Both political parties have hi-jacked certain Judeo-Christian principles and used those to leverage the "Christian" voters. When we take the sole stance of a political party on any of those issues publicly it will alienate certain people on the other side of the political fence. Our ultimate authority is Jesus and when we are more public with a political stance than we are about Him we have personal spiritual issues we need to evaluate. I recently drove by an abortion protest march outside of a clinic, with around one hundred people holding signs protesting agains abortion. I support their right to do that completely. I also wondered how much change each of those individuals could facilitate should they chose to spend that same amount of time and energy loving and supporting at risk women and young mothers rather than protesting and holding signs.

That being said, I believe we do have a responsibility to vote and take stands on "political" issues. The founding fathers of this country provided us with a means and way to do this - through the Constitution. We need to support the Constitution more than we do either political party so that our rights continue. I wonder if candidates were held more to their views of the Constitution and their support of it as the foundation of this country rather than the hot button issues of the day how much different our country may look today. The presidential oath after all states "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." It does not include any language about advancing the ability of their party to expand their platform and support it's views over another.

I also feel many of us, myself included, as Christians have come to rely on the government to take care of social issues rather than doing this myself as I am commanded to do biblically. If the government were to step out of this role completely it should force the true church, not the institutional church, to step up and act. Just some thoughts...

Thanks for your post and the opportunity to share some additional thoughts on the topics of the day!
Marcel - October 17th, 2012 at 9:56 AM
I'm a politically agnostic Christian and am very dubious about political affiliation and allegiance. I've concluded that there is much to like and much that is distasteful at any point along the political spectrum, just as I suspect the same about denominational affiliation. The challenge is to remain astute about that which is good, stand against what is not, and to have confidence that God works in all things to His greater purpose. Whats most troubling is our being mute about the flaws in our own orientation and demonization of those with opposing views. I find often that there is a kernal of truth and useful insight contained in the other side of the argument.
haj - October 17th, 2012 at 10:10 AM
As a fellow Christian, who also happens to be a Mormon, I applaud your efforts to try to bring some peace into this election. It is a rare thing to find a group of people with differing views (of any sort) who can share their feelings and opinions without all the ugliness and name calling that seems to accompany most political events these days!

For the record, I am not a huge fan of either candidate. I have conservative views, and both candidates have a lot of liberal ideas that I don't agree with. So what is one to do? Do we abstain from voting? Do we vote for someone else?

I have heard many Christians say that they won't vote for Obama because he is pro-abortion and other things that go against basic Christian beliefs. Then they turn around and say that they certainly can't vote for Romney because he isn't a Christian at all, so they just won't vote or they'll vote for someone else.

Keep in mind that if you abstain, or vote for someone other than Obama or Romney, you are voting for Obama. You can spin it however you want to, but this election will be decided by the undecided. By staying out of it, or by voting for another candidate, you ARE voting to re-elect Obama for another four years. Just as Pilate was not innocent of the death of Christ, you can not wash your hands of this vote and expect to remain innocent of it's outcome.

The name of our church is the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. "Mormons" is a nickname given to us from nonbelievers waaaay back in the day. For the sake of convenience, I'm going to continue using the nickname. As far as Mormons being Christian, I can only refer you to the various definitions of Christianity. According to ALL of the definitions I have been able to find, a Christian is one whose life is based on the basic teachings and principles of Jesus Christ. As Mormons, we are taught to strive every day to live Christ centered lives.

The Christ we know is the same Christ that you know. He is the Son of God, born of a virgin mother. He lived a perfect life, serving all of those in need, regardless of their race, gender, religion, job, character... he did not discriminate, because we are ALL children of God, and he loves us all. He teaches us to love our neighbor. He performed miracles, he taught the gospel and he lived every day to serve those around him. He took upon himself all of the sins of the world, and he suffered and paid the price for those sins, because we can not do it alone. He lived for us, and he died for us, and then he broke the bonds of death and rose again, so that we may all live again. It is only through him that we can live with God in Heaven after we die. He walks with us on our good days, and he carries us through our bad days. Jesus Christ IS our Savior and our Redeemer.

Have a blessed day. :)
Fly Mom - October 17th, 2012 at 10:34 AM
I. Love. This.
Meghan - October 17th, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Well said. This is exactly what my husband and I have been discussing. I like this more scholarly version of your writing (in addition to your funny, sad, and/or uplifting stuff).
Fred - October 17th, 2012 at 10:51 AM
I hate to disagree but I believe there are actually huge abortion (and Same Sex Marriage) issues at stake.

The next president will pick up to 3 Supreme Court Justices. 1 liberal and 2 conservative are set to retire in the next 3-7 years. If Romney wins and is able to appoint true strict constructionalists (those who believe the Constitution is a contract between the people and can only be changed through the amendment process -i.e. an approval of the people) vs. liberal judges (who believe they are the oligarchy that decides at their whim how to change our contract), then we can overthrow Roe v. Wade (and protect traditional marriage).

Remember we have never lost the battle at the ballot boxes when it was about issues. We lost it through the actions of liberal judges.

So you are not voting for Romney or Obama, you are voting for the next 30 years of judges and deciding what will become of the USA when it comes to murdering babies. Based on that I have to say, if you have any prolife convictions you have to work to make sure that we end up with the right judges on the Supreme Court.

I recommend you read this book: Jesus Is Involved In Politics! Why aren't you? Why isn't Your Church? http://www.jesusisinvolvedinpolitics.com/

We are doing a book club on it, and it changes minds.
DJ - October 17th, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Thanks Jen - It is great to see someone articulate exactly what I have been thinking. If we want to end abortion then we do it through sharing the love of Christ with our neighbors. It is sad to see complacent Christians putting their trust in government officials to do the work of the church. The means by which we transform hearts is through the Gospel and through the church, not government.
Fred - October 17th, 2012 at 11:39 AM
DJ the reality is that Christians have changed the world tremendously through the government. It's only by being involved in politics and changing laws that these things are illegal:
1. Abandoning children in the wild
2. Gladiatorial games
3. Slavery
4. Racism
5. Child marriage
6. Child prostitution
7. Child labor
8. Temple prostitution
9. Killing of twins superstitiously.

There are about 20 more in the book we are reading: http://www.jesusisinvolvedinpolitics.com/ and 100's more in history all over the world many times even under dictatorships.

Change has been the most effective when we legislate God's moral values into the nations' laws.

Imagine if we just preached the gospel but let our nations kill babies and oppress people. How heartless would that be? Imagine if William Wilberforce who worked for 40 years to stop slavery in England had said: My job is only to preach the gospel and bring food and medicine to the slaves, not to fight against the murder and enslavement of them.


Nicole Cottrell - October 17th, 2012 at 11:52 AM
I agree with almost everything you said and not that agreement is the goal, but rather clarity. For clarity's sake, I will say that "allegiance" is not the same as registering for a specific political party.

You can maintain allegiance to Jesus Christ and still register as a Republican or Democrat. At least I sure hope so...
Jen Hatmaker - October 17th, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Absolutely you can. 100% right.
Linda - October 17th, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Thank You! Well said! I'll share it with others.
Gregg - October 17th, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Dear Jen, you have beautiful children counting on you and I believe our vote for president will directly impact all of our children's futures. I feel sometimes that you are afraid of offending people and so you take the middle road. This concerns me as you have a great following and are indeed influencial.

I appreciate the many posts in response stating truthfully that the government has taken over things the church should be responsible for - the poor, the needy, the orphans. More government is not the answer and although you are "independent" you are clearly choosing Obama's side. Obama is for more government, for abortions tax funded, etc. How does this not scare you to your core?

Obama is disregarding the Biblical beliefs against life. Hobby Lobby is a Christian business that will be forced to pay a high fine if they refuse to provide the healthcare including contraception. Is that fair? That is only one example.

Obama disregards the Biblical truth that marriage is between one man and one woman. If we make homosexual marriage legal, what is next in 20 or 30 years? Now please, do not take my statement as a "hate" statement. I truly love gay people but do not believe in marriage between them. I tire of the remarks from Christians that people who disagree with gay marriage are "haters".

Please continue to be informed. Weigh both sides very carefully because we only have 2 choices in this election. This video can provide some insight for you. https://livemeeting.freescale.net/lmp/WelcomeOrganizer.htm

I believe this next president can and will change the course of our nation. Another 4 years under Obama will be detrimental to our country.

charles - October 17th, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Excellent points. Well said.
marcel - October 17th, 2012 at 1:19 PM
Sadly, Christianity has also been cited as a major contributor and justification for much social injustice as well, such as the American Church's stand on slavery, segregation and civil rights. Many of the issues you cited above were actually the position of a left-leaning and countercultural splinter of the church, not the status quo view.
Megan - October 17th, 2012 at 1:28 PM
I think the thing that bothers me about this post is the presupposition within it that we have two parties that basically have the same end goal for this country, but just have differing means in achieving that end. That is just not the case. Now more than ever, we have two parties that have inherently different ideas, not just about policy but about what America should look like in the big picture. I feel that its only when each of us, as individuals, go back and really search our history and understand what a miracle this country is that we understand the gravity of letting our founding ideals slip away. I would call myself a conservative rather than a republican because its conservative values (what this country was founded on) that we need to cling to (and of course the republican party has not always lined up with those values). This country was given as a miraculous gift, a shining city on a hill that was blessed to be a blessing to the rest of the world. It is because of our belief that we have unalienable rights, endowed to us by our creator (not the government!) that we look around the world and use our wealth (that can only be created through a free-market system) to help the least of these around us. Take a look at the countries in Western Europe who we seem so bent to emulate--do you hear of these countries stepping up for the oppressed and using their resources to fight poverty around the world? Its always been the US that has stood in the gap and rushed to defend the oppressed nations. Between the two parties as they stand today, republicanism is the closest thing we've got to conservative principles. Am I saying that republicans are good and democrats are evil? Of course not, there are integrity-filled people as well as hucksters within both parties. But when it comes down to the principles themselves, I have to ask myself which party is holding to the blessed values we were founded on. I am reading an incredible book right now that I believe should be required reading for every high-school student (we take for granted the gift we've been given or call it arrogant to champion it when we don't understand that it IS a gift when we don't know our own history), "The 5,000 Year Leap" which explains in layman's terms what a miracle this nation is and why its so imperative that we hold on to it. I would highly recommend it!
Lastly, I would just say that I trust myself and this country into the hands of God and if Obama is re-elected it is not because God's will was not accomplished. And I believe that there is a whole other discussion to be had on whether or not the church is functioning within the role that God has given but those two things don't preclude us from wading into the political arena and fighting to hold on to this gift we've been given so that we may continue to be a blessing to others.
Katie - October 17th, 2012 at 1:58 PM
Megan, you are obviously someone who thinks hard about the big picture and all issues. That said, you are incorrect about oppressed nations--We rank very low compared to other countries in terms of how much aid we provide based on how much we have available to allocate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_governments_by_development_aid#Official_Development_Assistance_by_country_as_a_percentage_of_Gross_National_Income_in_2009_.28April_2010.29
Megan - October 17th, 2012 at 6:22 PM
Katie, we as a nation have been extremely charitable toward other nations and have also used our military to defend underdog nations all throughout history. But really its our private sector that has stepped up and cared for the underprivileged around the world and its because we have felt a responsibility at the individual level to help those in need--we haven't relied on the government to do it. But over time that is going away...the closer we inch toward socialism the more we as individuals take on the mindset that we don't really need to help because we're paying taxes for the government to do it. The beauty of our country has been that we have wanted to use our blessings to bless others....not sit back and let the bureaucrats do it for us. If you look at the charitable giving among conservatives (the so-called white, rich, "you're on your own" ideologues vs liberals (the so-called purveyors of social justice), the conservatives are by far the more charitable group. Did you know that Mitt Romney gave away his ENTIRE inheritance from his father? Go look up what Obama or Biden have given in charitable donations.
Cyndie - October 17th, 2012 at 1:36 PM
THANK YOU!!!!! You put into words exactly how I feel and have felt for some time now. The other day I was so fed up that I stated that I was now a GreenRepubllndieDemolibertairian! That is why I am not voting for the President in this elelction, to me a bad choice is a bad choice no matter what party you are most aligned with. I will still vote on the local and state issues.

Just before the last Presidential Election the Pastor at my dd's college preached a sermon and the jist of it was this:

Vote your conscience, but remember that Jesus is still King overall and that is who you must serve!
Katie - October 17th, 2012 at 1:52 PM
Thank you! A thousand times thank you. I read this post immediately following an old friend (read, part of our wedding party, known for 15 years) blocking me on fb because I disagree with his hateful political spewing and I told him so. I was very upset and a bit enraged. (read ready to lose it) Your thoughtful, loving, well researched post just made me breathe again. And while we are roughly the same age I'd like to be you when I "grow up"! :) Thank you Jen. My life was made better yesterday by this post.
Ashley - October 17th, 2012 at 3:29 PM
I love you - that is all.
Cheryl - October 17th, 2012 at 3:38 PM
Jen, I wanted to tell you how much I really like your blog; I stumbled upon it from another friend's Facebook page. If you or any of your followers are interested there is a group called "No Labels" that is all about getting away from identifying ourselves and especially our politicians as Republicans or Democrats and become Americans. I have always said no one individual, one group or one party has all of the answers for what is troubling our great country.
Erica - October 17th, 2012 at 3:41 PM
"But in many ways, abortion is a straw issue in this election." I understand why you say this, but I have to disagree with the repercussions implied. If one presidential candidate is verbally in favor of building orphanages for two year-old orphans, but also in favor keeping a law that allows shooting them if needed to avoid overcrowding, and the other candidate doesn't support orphanages, but is opposed to the shooting law - there's no question which one I'm voting for.
Meaghan - October 17th, 2012 at 4:33 PM
Thank for always putting into words what so many of us are thinking!
Mike - October 17th, 2012 at 5:03 PM
I highly recommend Wayne Grudem's book, Politics According to the Bible.

"I think Christians should support the candidate who best represents moral and political values consistent with biblical teaching, no matter what his or her religious background or convictions."

506 pages later...

"The Republican Party has been dominated by people favoring smaller government, lower taxes, strong defense, traditional moral standards regarding abortion and marriage, the promotion of democracy, and the promotion of free market economies. These stances seem to me to be consistent with biblical teachings on government and a biblical worldview..."

Anyone who knows me knows me well enough to know I look to Jesus as my Savior, and the Lord of my life -- not the government. But, there is no denying the fact that the Republican Party's platform is "more consistent with biblical teachings on government and a biblical worldview" than the opposing party's platform.
charles - October 17th, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Excellent point.... particularly this:

"But, there is no denying the fact that the Republican Party's platform is "more consistent with biblical teachings on government and a biblical worldview" than the opposing party's platform.".

This ISN'T about political parties it IS about Christ and more importantly His Word. We have an obligation as U.S. Citizens to vote but not JUST to vote but to vote intelligently. We have a responsibility as Christians to let the word of God be our guide for all major decisions. When you look at both parties platforms and what they believe in then align them with Scripture it's a crystal clear choice which platform is nearest to the morals, values and teachings of the Word.

How can a pro gay rights, pro abortion party who voted to REMOVE God from their platform possibly line up with Scripture? How can a party that will potentially make Pastors preaching God's word guilty of a hate crime possibly line up with Scripture?
Sarah - October 18th, 2012 at 1:25 PM
THANK YOU! I was wondering if I was the only person who watched the news that day! Did no one else on here realize that the party of the left did not include God or Jerusalem (remember her, the capital city of God's beloved Israel?) in their platform on purpose. And then when the people revolted and they added it back the measure was booed not once, not twice, but three times! Someone on here earlier called Republicans hypocrites - we are all hypocrites at one time or another - but we do not make conscious decisions to leave God out of our politics.
MARIA LUISA - October 17th, 2012 at 5:22 PM


READ ALL COMMENTS, GOOD! BUT ONE THING NO ONE MENTIONED : GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND IN CONTROL! SO WHOEVER WINS WAS ELECTED BY GOD FOR GOOD OR BAD OF THE COUNTRY..I LIKE TO KNOW ALL THAT IS GOING ON NOT ONLY IN USA BUT THE WHOLE WORLD IT BRINGS ME CLOSER TO CHRIST COMING SOON!
MAY GOD'S WILL BE DONE! AMEN AMEN
Marisuela - October 17th, 2012 at 7:01 PM
I'm sorry, but that sounds like a copout to me. If you believe that God elects the next president, then why should anyone bother to vote? I absolutely believe God is all powerful and can do anything he wants to do, but I also believe he has given us our freedom to choose right from wrong. He has given us the intelligence and wisdom to be able to discern what is of God and what is not. He will give us the opportunity, the courage, and the strength to be his warriors here on the earth if that is what we choose to be. I believe that if we stand up and fight for God, and fight for our beliefs, then God will strengthen us. It might be a long hard battle, but with God on our side, we can endure and we will win the war.

But we have to choose it. We have to want it. We have to stand up for what is right. Don't just sit idly by and hope that someone else will change things for you. Stand up and fight! Be a warrior for God!
Dana Snyder - October 17th, 2012 at 6:01 PM
Thank you for another great post, Jen. You do such a good job at shedding some much needed Biblical wisdom on current events. I always appreciate your ability to put words to my thoughts! :)
Dee - October 17th, 2012 at 6:02 PM
Firstly, as much as I appreciate your heart felt insight, your beliefs are connected to a book that was written by men based on 10's to possibly 100's of years of oral tradition and myth. If you truly read the bible with an objective mindset, you will see that the god in that bible committed/advocated/assisted in genocide against men, women and children almost as if that were his true mission - not Love. Please do not say jesus christ is the new covenant and everything that happened before him doesn't matter. An all knowing god would not need a do over. I am not advocating abortion nor am I discounting the effects abortions have on the women who make that choice. I am advocating a mindset and an approach to the problem that does not rely on blind faith to rehashed medieval myths. Some of you will immediately ignore this post because you will consider it blasphemy. Some of you will not think any further than a prayer that god show me the error of my ways. I believe many people do find purpose and meaning in the ideas of christianity. That doesn't make what the bible says any more real than homer's odyssey. People find purpose and meaning in much less weightier concepts than religion. Christianity is no different. People generally make choices that benefit them at the time. Sorta like god did in the old testament. They may or may not regret those choices later - this depends greatly on how their world view changes as they proceed through life. You chose to believe in jesus christ for the reason that it benefitted you at the time. You needed to feel loved, you needed to feel forgiven, you needed to know there was something more, you needed a sense of security, you needed to believe that there was a reason for the chaos happening around you. Most of all, you wanted to go to heaven. Your selfishness has created what seems at times like selflessness. You are willing to selfishly forego your self now so that you will secure an eternal place for your self later. You will vote based on this selfish belief. You will choose based on this selfish belief, all the while professing that you are doing it for jesus christ. At their core, your beliefs are based on your desire to get to heaven. You will do anything to get there. You will even suspend said beliefs when it benefits you, only to ask for forgiveness later if the hypocrisy of your actions comes bubbling to the surface of your conscious mind. If you were to ask yourself why you are doing all that you do in the name of jesus christ and god and christianity and truly answer the question - my guess is the answer will be related to your desire to spend eternity with god. It starts and ends with your survival instinct, which is a desire to live, a desire to fight for life, dare I say - a selfish desire to be alive without all the problems being alive presents. So live like christ except when you can't and then you will get to live with christ later - he will forgive you for those times when you chose not to live like him. Heaven is that mythical place where you can live forever without the problems that "real" life presents. This is why as a 'believer' you do what you do and believe what you believe - christ does all the heavy lifting. Not a way to live a life in the here and now and certainly not a way to legislate others to live their lives in the here and now. Your good works do benefit society and if i were a believer i would pray that you continue them without all the proselytizing though. We really are all in this together and your efforts to make the world a better place do matter, just don't claim it's because you care about others - it's because you want to go to heaven.
Kate - October 17th, 2012 at 9:34 PM
Dee, I do not pretend to be unselfish. Though, I wish i were, it seems the minute i do something with true humility and consideration of others, i become proud of that deep down, and there goes the momentary humility. That doesn't mean I quit trying to live for others and look to their interests.. that is the very reason I attempt to live my life in the footsteps of Christ. And that is also what I appreciate about Jen and how she sincerely wants to "look to the interests of others" and not blatently claim her rights or demand you believe as she does.
The main thing I wanted to share with you, though, was that my desire to live my life for Christ is not motivated by the promise of heaven. It is still a selfish motivation, I guess, but a very different one. It is one I am already receiving every day I that I choose to draw close to God. I am blessed by the comfort of His presence and peace in my life. I have confidence and courage knowing that I am a creation of the Creator and that my Creator desires to find joy in me and that I find joy in Him...not some day down the road, but today. To be honest, it is difficult for me to fathom heaven and eternity. It makes me tired just thinking about the thought of living forever:) So, even if there was no heaven or promise of eternity,i would still be thankful for the mercy and grace of my God today. And yes, He is more than a simple God of love. He is just and sovereign and has the right to create and the right to destroy. The only reason I am not cowering in a corner afraid to approach and presume to think he would be interested in little ole me, is because I have read and studied what He has done from Genesis to Revelation..what 'we' in our finite minds consider good and bad, and I can see his mercy and grace even in the midst of his judgement. And even without the Scriptures, I see His good gifts everyday all around me..all have to do is open my eyes and look. I can't go outside in October without being overwhelmed by the beauty all around me. And you know what? I believe God made the trees to change colors in the autumn for my enjoyment. There I go being selfish again.
I also believe the only reason I can approach him and enjoy Him is because of Christ.. Sure I've been taught this so maybe it sounds like I've just bought into some myth to make me feel better, but guess what? I've tested it and found it true in my life and no one can speak to that but me.

Sorry, this was so off topic. Jen, thanks for the post and making me think. Dee, thanks for making me think as well. Now, to go work on being less selfish...
tirzah - October 17th, 2012 at 6:03 PM
Can't take you seriously since you obviously have no clue about the electoral college. Please read the Constitution. A few times.
Danielle - October 17th, 2012 at 6:22 PM
Dear Jen, I heart you. Really.
If i'm ever in Austin, let me take you out for queso and a margarita (I don't come often--don't worry)
Cmdale - October 17th, 2012 at 8:02 PM
Thank you. The heart is the best test of right and wrong. If anything stirs up hate it is not the response we are called to give. COMPASSION toward both sides is. Make decisions based on Gods guidance.
Kari - October 17th, 2012 at 9:47 PM
Thought provoking post but many of the comments are down right concerning. I worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist at a non-Christian counseling center. I can't report the stories that I heard and the people that were healed but to say that ONLY a Christian organization can help people is just plain uneducated. Compassion, acceptance, tolerance, hope, and mercy these are the things that bring people to healing and while I am a Christian I know of many great non-Christian organizations healing through these powers every day. And when I look at the two candidates one clearly portrays those characteristics more then the other.
Martha - October 17th, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Very refreshing and thanks for offering a sane, Christian perspective on our political options and how imperfect they are compared to the God we serve!
charles - October 17th, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Jen clearly you are a gifted writer who has great passion but unfortunately I think this post is representative more of what's wrong with Christianity today than what's right with it. The first few times I read through your post I was frustrated then finally it just sickened my stomach.

The rise of liberal Christianity is alarming to me and clearly that's the core of your followers. I think your post was wrong on far more points than it was right. To me it came across as another liberal Christian voting for Obama and trying to justify it either to yourself or others.

And for those of you who choose not to vote, I can't even begin to express my opinion of that choice without completely compromising my integrity.

Unbelievable.
tirzah - October 18th, 2012 at 7:39 AM
Charles, you are right. She won't say who she's voting for, but her ideas speak volumes. Just trying to justify/rationalize her liberal beliefs. I, as a Christian, cannot fathom voting for someone that is ok with partial birth abortion, doesn't want his daughters to be "punished" with a baby, and does not support Israel. Scary that people follow and listen to her.
Gregg - October 18th, 2012 at 8:51 AM
I agree. Good points made by Charles and Tirzah. It is scary to read so many responses in favor of Jen's writing. Christians, please stand up for Biblical truths! I'd certainly rather offend another human being than my God!
Terri Moore - October 18th, 2012 at 1:46 PM
Charles:
Liberal Christianity or Liberal Theology describes a theological movement that is very broad but which is identified by certain characteristics: commitment to and reliance upon the various claims of modernity when studying or interpreting Scripture or Christianity, a denial of all things supernatural including the resurrection of Jesus, a denial of the inerrancy of Scripture and sometimes even the authority of Scripture, universalism and the belief that all religions lead to God, and many times a denial of the divinity of Jesus. As you can see Liberal Christianity is a different category from liberal politics or social/economic theories. One can be politically conservative and theologically liberal and vice versa.

I read and follow Ms. Hatmaker and I assure you she is not representative of Liberal Christianity in any way. This is a serious claim you make of her and I would challenge you to find evidence in her writings that she fits the definition above. Otherwise you need to retract or clarify your statement.

If you want to claim that she is liberal in her politics or her social ideas, then please specify your claim as such. You are certainly free to do so, but even here it would be helpful to give specific evidence of her "liberal" ideas (or those who have commented here) and your counterpoints to these ideas. This makes for better conversation that an untenable label of "liberal Christianity" and assumptions about for whom she plans to vote.
Robyn - October 18th, 2012 at 3:41 PM
^Terri - I agree!
I am independent (with strong libertarian beliefs), and in my personal life I am extremely conservative, but a huge supporter of freedom/free will, because I cannot and should not play the role of Holy Spirit in the lives of others! I am also adamantly pro-life (because I believe that while we should have complete individual freedom, that only goes so far as it does not hurt another human being, especially the most helpless and innocent...)
Even so, I agreed whole-heartedly with what Jen wrote! I have heard constant fear tactics from both ends of the spectrum on this entire thing - that christianity is on the verge of extinction in America, that people who are christians should vote to pay others' healthcare because we should be taking care of the hurting, etc etc etc - there are definitely very loud and bitter complaints on both sides! But when it comes down to it, our individual hearts and actions cannot be dictated by a government that is strongly for, or strongly against, God. He is Holy, and stronger than any political affiliation! The only danger that christianity is in, in this country, stems from our overall apathy, and often a misapplication of our role in this world!

I re-read what she wrote a couple of times, and cannot tell which of 2 (or 3 or more - there ARE other candidates!) she will be voting for! I agree with her, and my own leanings are more conservative - so for those that believe her "ideas speak volumes", or that this is "what's wrong with christianity today", you probably aren't accurately grasping the general idea of what she is actually saying! I work in church ministry - and I guarantee that THIS is not what's wrong with Christianity today - quite the opposite in fact!
newt - October 18th, 2012 at 9:59 PM
If you cast your vote for anyone other than Romney or Obama, then by default, you cast your vote for Obama. If you can live with that, then vote for whomever you want to. BUT if you are against voting for Obama, then don't help him out by taking votes away from the ONLY candidate who can beat him. Just something to keep in mind.

-a vote by any other name is a vote for Obama
Robyn - October 19th, 2012 at 12:32 PM
And yet I thought we were still in a free country, and that we could vote for whomever we chose, unlike those countries that don't offer true choices in candidates... Oh.. wait... :|

A vote for anyone is a vote for that person alone. The opposite pov is fear mongering, and it's like saying:
"your choices are hamburgers or hot dogs"
"thanks I'll go with the carrot sticks instead"
"well, now more people will choose hot dogs"
(well, sorry, that's their unhealthy choice, not mine...)

Truly, I'm undecided between 3rd party and a "top party candidate", but I will ONLY vote what my conscience allows, and have made it a matter of constant prayer (as each person should do!) I have to admit, however, that each time I hear that a 3rd party vote might help elect one of the "top 2" over another (because that door swings both ways), I am more and more inclined to do it, based on the injustice of the system alone.

Tara - October 17th, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Oh, sister. Wow. Such a powerful post, so grateful for it and for your efforts to put it down for the rest of us. Amen. Amen and Amen.
Kelly - October 18th, 2012 at 2:34 AM
Jen, your post was very powerful and the first of its kind that I have seen, so I thank you for that. As far as the abortion issue goes, I guess I am part of that minuscule 1% you talk about. I was raped. I don%u2019t count the days since I chose not to bring a child by the man who violated my very being into this world. Do you know what days I count? I count the days until my rapist is released from prison%u2014which as of right now, is exactly 32 days. I count those days, because if I had chosen to carry my pregnancy to completion, that is the number of days I would have until the same man who raped me who have a LEGAL right to see my child. But none of the protestors outside of Planned Parenthood (where VERY few abortions are actually performed) stop to think about that.
Jen Hatmaker - October 19th, 2012 at 8:44 AM
Kelly, you can count on me to pray for you on that very day. I put it in my calendar. May God's peace and mercy reign in your heart, and may every broken place be healed. Love to you, sister.
Liz - October 18th, 2012 at 8:35 AM
This is worth your time. Please watch. http://www.westernjournalism.com/powerful-video-from-a-former-obama-supporter/
Emily - October 18th, 2012 at 9:48 AM
Jen, everything I have been feeling in my heart since this awful election began, you have so eloquently stated in this beautiful post. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Julia - October 18th, 2012 at 10:11 AM
I really appreciate your perspective and am glad you shared it here. Your negative outlook on politics and politicians is really understandable, but I want to encourage you to look at it from a different perspective.

We are profoundly lucky to live in a time and place where things like democracy, freedom, rights, and justice are taken for granted. Profoundly lucky. This way of life we have is no accident--people created it for us by creating our democratic system. The people who created our democracy did an amazing thing, but they could only hope for the future generations--us--to do what is necessary to sustain it. We have wonderful rights and freedoms and opportunities that the majority of humans through history have not had, but those rights, freedoms, and opportunities come with responsibilities. The most important responsibility is exercising the virtues that are needed to act for the greater good over our own self interest. That one is hard, and it seems few people are taking that responsibility seriously these days. A much easier responsibility that we must take if we want to sustain our democratic way of life is to vote.

I don't care who you vote for, that's your decision and your business. I'm very strongly affiliated with one party because it aligns with my values, but I'm putting that aside with this plea. I want to persuade you, and all the undecided voters reading here, to exercise the responsibility that each and every one of us must act on if we want to sustain the democratic system that we so easily take for granted. Please vote.
Megan - October 18th, 2012 at 10:14 AM
I noticed a couple of people recommended this website www.jesusisinvolvedinpolitics.com and went and checked it out. Here is a good point from his book....

An excerpt from Jesus Is Involved in Politics by Neil Mammen:
"What is %u201Cpolitics%u201D anyway?
In a discussion a few months ago, one person objected when I said,
%u201CJohn the Baptist got involved in politics.%u201D
%u201CWhen?%u201D he demanded.
I responded, %u201CWhen he condemned Herod, a political leader, for
committing adultery with his brother%u2019s wife.%u201D
The person immediately said, %u201CJohn was not getting involved in
politics; he was just speaking out against evil.%u201D
This made me realize that while most of us have an understanding of
what many politicians do, we seem to forget what it is they are supposed to do.
And thus, when I say we as Christians should be involved in politics; they
think I am suggesting we get involved in the cult of personality; posturing for
position; making ourselves out to be better than others; seeking favored
positions in the eyes of men; taking illegal contributions; bribing people and
all sorts of other vain and pompous things.
But, as you will find out, I am not talking about that. In fact, I agree
with the objection. If that%u2019s what politics is about, we should all stay far away
from it. Yet, when I say Christians should be involved in politics, I am talking
about what politicians should be doing, not what they have been doing. I'm
talking about lawmakers, not just speaking out against evil men and evil laws
just like John did, but taking action against evil men and eliminating evil laws,
making just laws, appointing impartial judges, ensuring that justice is served,
making sure that people are not oppressed, ensuring that true equality in
opportunity is given regardless of results. That every person is free to achieve
their greatest potential.
I'm talking about lawmakers who look towards the future and realize
how a law today could damage an entire nation by undermining the family
structure. I'm not talking about a popularity or self-promotion. I'm talking
about getting involved as %u201Cservant-leaders%u201D, not %u201Cleader-kings%u201D.
You see if that%u2019s what politics is about, surely you can agree with me
that not getting involved in politics it%u2019s no longer an option for us who love the
Lord, and have compassion for those who suffer unjustly."

Looks like he makes some other really good points too. I definitely want to get his book.
newt - October 18th, 2012 at 2:18 PM
The title of his book is a bit misleading, and gives more ammunition to those who rely on sound bites as their sole source of information. "We'll of course I can do X. Jesus is involved in politics, you know!"

BUT, it sounds like a good read for those of us who want to Lear. :)
newt - October 18th, 2012 at 2:21 PM
Oops! iPad issues! That last word should read, "learn."
Doug Walter - October 18th, 2012 at 10:32 AM
Jen, I a Jess Soete's dad, she sent me your link. You are so on point. I am a pastor and try to keep politics out of my public life, but I will post this link. You are a breathe of truth and fresh air, this has made my day. May God continue to watch over and bless you and your family.
Carmen - October 18th, 2012 at 12:19 PM
WOW YOU ARE CONFUSED AND THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T. DONE THEY'RE. RESEARCH. MAY ACTUALLY. THINK. THIS. MAKES SENSE . SAD. REALLY. SAD
greta - October 18th, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Jen for president. haha. Just wondering if you have been sitting at our dinner table this week. OH my and how well said.
TGJ - October 18th, 2012 at 3:39 PM
Came across this post through a friend. It's hard for me to believe it is written by a Christian. While I don't think we should vote by party, I do think we should vote by principle. You negate the importance of abortion in this election while not daring to mention that our president has voted against provided newborn survivors of abortion medical care. He uses taxpayer money to fund abortions in other countries. He has stripped Christian of their religious freedoms in his healthcare mandate and he is funding Planned Parenthood which is stocking our high schools with carcinogenic and abortifacient oral birth control to be handed out without parent consent. Ms. Hatmaker states that the pro-life community fails to address prenatal and postnatal concerns of women. Really? Is she not aware of the 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the US that provide prenatal care and material and financial support to new mothers? Is she aware of the 1,700 Catholic Charities Centers that offer adoption alternatives and financial support for unintended pregnancies? She states that social policies like increased contraceptive use help reduce abortion. First, currently 54% of women who have an abortion were USING birth control. Secondly, the rate has *barely* declined in the last 15 years (a decline of less than 2 abortion per 1,000 women since 1993) and that is only measuring "induced abortions". Is she stopping to think of all those that are using oral contraceptives, IUDs and using Plan B that actually abort a newly conceived child. Is the life of a 6 day old fetus less important than a 6 month old fetus? Not in the eyes of the Divine Creator, I think. And, not in my eyes. I believe we will one day be judged on how we fought to save the least among us and justifying voting for Obama is a sad day for many of our immortal souls.
Tracy - October 18th, 2012 at 6:48 PM
I long for the day when people will STOP believing everything they "hear" or "read" from antagonistic sources about what Mormons believe.
Let me just state for the record, Mormons do NOT believe that Jesus was "created" in the way that you are saying it. We believe he was "born" to the Virgin Mary-- the same way YOU believe he was born to the virgin-- the stable, the star in the sky, the shepherds-- I'm sure you know the story. And no, we don't believe that God had sex with Mary the way so many claim we believe, either. We believe she was "overshadowed" by the Spirit exactly as the Bible states, and that she conceived the Savior through the power of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Lord EVEN THOUGH she was a virgin--- just as the Bible states. So if "being born" equates being "created", then in that sense, yes, he was "created". But if YOU believe that Christ was born to the Virgin Mary, then in that sense, YOU believe he was "created" too. So maybe I should say that YOU aren't Christian.
And that video that someone linked-- he claimed Mormons believe several things that they do NOT believe. That we believe God is really Adam... nonsense. All sorts of stuff that people find all over the internet and in anti-Mormon literature that is completely false.
I just saw Ann Romney on The View-- Whoopie Goldberg said that she'd "read" e that Mitt didn't serve in the military because "it was against his religion". 100% baloney. Completely untrue. The LDS church has military congregations all over the world-- where ever there's a military base, there's an LDS congregation. Even at basic training. Several of the church's current leaders were themselves in the military. Gracious sakes, even when they were still crossing the plains in their covered wagons and pushing handcarts back in mid 1800's, several of the men LEFT their wives and children to make the rest of the trek on their own when President Polk sent Colonel Steven Kearny to look for volunteers to help the military effort in the Mexican-American war. There was a whole battalion, made up completely of Mormons-- in fact, to this day it remains the only "religously based" military unit in all of American military history.
I just wish people would stop believing everything they hear or read from NON-Lds sources. You don't have to believe what I believe, you don't even have to believe me when I say that I worship Jesus Christ, (the only one there is-- the one who was born to a virgin, who healed the sick, raised Lazarus from the dead, made the blind see, suffered for my sins and died on the cross--- yes, that One-- the ONLY one, there IS no "different Jesus" -- even YOU know that) But if you want to claim that I believe in a "different Jesus" then go ahead. But at the very, very least, please stop assuming that everything you hear or read about Mormons is true. Especially when it's coming from an antagonistic source.
When I was in highschool in Texas and wanted to know what Baptists believe (because nearly everyone around me was Baptist) -- I asked my Baptist friends and even went to church with them a few times, I didn't ask my Mormon church leaders and friends. When I wanted to study about Judaism (besides what I already knew from the Old Testament), I didn't do a google search and start reading some Catholic or Baptist person's critique or overview of Judaism. I talked to my daughter's math teacher, who IS Jewish and actually practices her faith. She answered alot of my questions and let me borrow a couple books written by Rabbis. I also bought a copy of Dr. Laura's book called "The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life", written by herself and her own Rabbi.
I can tell you one thing for sure, the LAST source I would look to for information about what a Jew, a Catholic or a Baptist believes, is someone who thinks that they are "evil" or Satanic, or publishes information telling all the reasons why THEY think it's wrong. Doesn't it just make sense that if I want to know what a Baptist believes, that I should ask a practicing Baptist and not a Mormon, a Muslim or an EX-Baptist?
Ms. Hatmaker-- I can promise you this. If I want to know what YOU believe, I'll go to the source and ask YOU. I'll read YOUR blog. I won't ask your neighbor or read his webpage all about "Jen Hatmaker and why she's not a true Christian". And I'll especially avoid asking your neighbor, if he/she goes around bad-mouthing you all the time, trying to convince me that what you believe is Satanic. If you tell me that you worship the Lord Jesus Christ, and that you look to Him and count on His grace for forgiveness and salvation, I'll believe what YOU say you believe. Why should I assume that what your detractors and those who critcize you say you believe, IS what you believe? If I wanted to know what YOU believe, wouldn't my best source be YOU?
Think about it.
Dana - October 18th, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I live in Utah and there wasn't anything that Jen wrote that I haven't heard from the lips of my Mormon friends and neighbors. We also frequently are visited by missionaries and I have asked the very questions you state are not true, but they have confirmed them to me. But, those are all non-issues when you get to the issue of who Christ really is. The biggest difference in Christianity and Mormonism is the deity of Christ. Christians believe Jesus is God, come in the flesh to provide us a way back to Him through His atoning death on the cross and His complete grace. Mormonism teaches he was a great teacher, chosen by God in the spiritual realm, to show us how to live the best life possible so that we can follow His example to "return" to Him. These are some pretty devastating differences and are worth our attention. Both views of Him cannot be true.
Buffi - October 19th, 2012 at 2:53 PM
I read your comment some time ago and have been struggling with it since. You say to learn what a Mormon believes, it's best to contact a Mormon. For the most part, I disagree. There are a few who I'm sure understand all the beliefs of Mormonism, but most run-of-the-mill Mormons, I believe, do not fully comprehend the complexity of the Mormon religion. (I am a former Mormon and believe I can speak to this end with some authority.) I have the following for you to read:

%u201CNow, remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten of the Holy Ghost."
(Brigham Young - Journal of Discourses Volume 1, page 51)

In an attempt to further explain this conflict in Mormon doctrine, the Apostle Orson Pratt wrote the following:

%u201CGod, the Father of our spirits, became the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh%u2026We are informed in the first chapter of Luke, that Mary was chosen by the Father as a choice virgin, through whom He begat Jesus. The angel said unto the Virgin Mary, %u2018The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.%u2019 After the power of the Highest had overshadowed Mary, and she had by that means conceived, she related the circumstance to her cousin Elizabeth in the following words: %u2018He that is Mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name.%u2019 It seems from this relation that the Holy Ghost accompanied %u2018the Highest%u2019 when He overshadowed the Virgin Mary and begat Jesus; and from this circumstance some have supposed that the body of Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost without the instrumentality of the immediate presence of the Father. There is no doubt that the Holy Ghost came upon Mary to sanctify her, and make her holy, and prepare her to endure the glorious presence of %u2018the Highest%u2019 that when %u2018He%u2019 should %u2018overshadow%u2019 her she might conceive, being filled with the Holy Ghost: hence the angel said, as recorded in Matthew, %u2018That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost;%u2019 that is, the Holy Ghost gave her strength to abide in the presence of the Father without being consumed; but it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called %u2018the Only Begotten of the Father;%u2019 that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father."

Since this is one thing that you brought up, I wanted to share with you what I learned. I understand why most Mormons don't dig into things to learn more - if you're happy with your religion, you don't go looking for its problems. I was unhappy and there were many things I just couldn't buy, so I went digging. The thing I found that disturbed me the most, however, was a quote from Joseph Smith. He said, "No one has held the church better together than I, not even Jesus Christ himself." I read this quote myself in a book written by Joseph Smith himself. To learn that he claimed superiority over Jesus was the last straw for me.

If Mormonism is what you choose to believe, that's great. But please don't claim the Jesus of the Mormon religion is the Jesus of the Bible. It is not the same guy. The Jesus of the Bible paid the price for all sin, not just original sin. Salvation through Him is a gift. There are no works that can earn it and there are no temple ordinances that can earn it. I am sad for the many, many Mormons (some of my own family) who believe that all of this "jumping through hoops" is required and reject the gracious gift of Jesus.
Shandra - October 27th, 2012 at 12:18 AM
It makes me sad to see that you think that Mormons believe that Christ only paid for original sin. One of the books that my mother-in-law recommended we read is called "Believing Christ" and it points out that many people (yes, Mormons in this case) say that we believe IN Christ, but so often we forget to believe HIM when he says that our sins are forgiven. The idea isn't that we believe that he didn't atone for all of our sins, it's that he also wants us to recognize them, to repent and learn the error of our ways and then work to fix it. I choose to believe one way and I'm happy with it. I'm also happy that you were able to find an answer that works for you. I don't believe that my religion is right for everyone. There are certain things that certain people can't come to terms with and I'm okay with that. But that doesn't mean that I should go searching out anti-Mormon views if there's something I don't understand. You said yourself that what caused you problems was something that Joseph Smith said. If you can't come to terms with that, then don't, but you still searched it out from a Mormon view at the time. I believe that my temple ordinances and my works bring me closer to God, in this life. I hope and pray and frankly know in my heart that they'll bring me closer to Him in eternity, but much of what I do is to feel His presence with me now. I need that in my life to help me understand the evils of the world around me. I know people in other religions speak of feeling the spirit or things like that and I'm happy for them for finding what works for them, as I said before. But please don't put us down and tear us apart for finding our happiness with God in a different way than you found yours.
Nancy - November 5th, 2012 at 3:45 PM
The difference in Christianity vs. Mormonism is huge. The Book of Mormon as a gospel, Joseph Smith as prophet, the Bretheren church leaders in Salt Lake City who still get revelations from God that updates the church doctrine, your baptism of the dead. The way to salvation is through baptism into the LDS church through a priesthood that John the Baptist supposedly gave to Joseph Smith and he has passed on to church bishops. I have close friends who are members of the LDS church and I respect them and their right to believe as they wish. But I do not consider the LDS church or Mormons to have their basis in Christianity. It appears to be two separate religions to me. And nothing wrong with that.
Wendy - October 18th, 2012 at 8:38 PM
So much good hear, and I love the dialogue happening!

I agree with you, there has been so much lacking in caring for life & women prior to conception and after birth. But HOW to best care for ALL of life has so many GRAY AREAS to it. Universal health care? A better economy so families can provide for their own better? Better education? More food stamps for better nutrition? Or is better nutrition offered when the food service industry is regulated? There is a dizzying array of options on HOW to better care for our citizens. No one platform has all the answers or plans...and none of them more capable of it than the Church acting like the Church Jesus intended.

So while I understand a bit how someone who would call themselves Pro-Life could instead vote for a candidate who appears to "care more" for other stages of life but has complete disregard for life in the womb, that's voting an approval for someone's ideas on the "gray areas."

But that's just it-they're gray areas. Life-or-death for the womb stage is pretty black and white. I'm not suggesting this point of view to those who think life doesn't begin until after a baby is born, because that would be illogical. But to those who hold Psalm 139 near and dear to their heart, who believe that life begins at conception...voting for a candidate who declares murder to unborn babies to be acceptable based on the off-chance that their policies will better life for other life stages is what I imagine to be a slap in the face of God. I don't know that it is...it's my opinion, and I'm aware of that.

I know that voting for a candidate does not mean that we support 100% of their policy and practice, unless, of course, our candidate is Jesus (I wish)! But I cannot justify supporting a candidate on the gray areas at the expense of the black-and-white issues. To what does God hold us accountable? Does He say that it's okay to condone the murder of his children because the other side of the coin is that MAYBE the number of abortions will be reduced?

It seems kind of like someone joining a church because it shares one's view of say, baptism. Let's pretend we're dyed-in-the-wool baptists who say baptism by immersion is the only acceptable form. And then let's further draw that this same "baptism by immersion" church also teaches that the 10 Commandments are the 10 Suggestions...those Commandments are just making us sin more, so let's put our concerns in other areas and make sure we're more renewed by baptism! (And to those dyed-in-the-wool baptists who believe baptism is a black-and-white issue, my apologies-maybe I should have gone with something more gray for my analogy. I don't know, maybe it's a poor analogy, but hopefully it helps you see better from where I'm coming.

The only perspective to share is that of looking at a candidate's character and wisdom. I cannot help but find suspect the leadership of one who believes so strongly in abortion-to me, it's never a straw issue. Can we ever know a person's heart? No. Can we look at the fruit of their lives? Yes. Can we determine to some measure their character and wisdom by looking at their decision-making record? Yes. Should we cast our vote blindly, giving our favor and consent to the person acting in our stead in a position of leadership, without doing so? I don't think so.

So whether abortion is "on the docket" as an issue, it's an issue. But when all is said and done, and our vote is cast, we accept God's sovereignty, we respect His decision by respecting our leaders, and we obey by praying for our leader, whether we approve of him or not.
Tracy Keeney - October 18th, 2012 at 11:18 PM
"Christians believe Jesus is God, come in the flesh to provide us a way back to Him through His atoning death on the cross and His complete grace. Mormonism teaches he was a great teacher, chosen by God in the spiritual realm, to show us how to live the best life possible so that we can follow His example to "return" to Him. These are some pretty devastating differences and are worth our attention. Both views of Him cannot be true."
Wrong, wrong and wrong again. We don't just believe that Christ was a "teacher" chosen by God. What hogwash. NO Mormon would EVER say that He was just a teacher and deny his Diety. We believe 100% in his Diety-- he is the Begotten Son of God and the creator of the earth. No one who is just a "teacher chosen by God" could suffer for my sins. We believe He is exactly who He said He was-- "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." I teach Seminary every single school day morning-- last year we studied the Old Testament, this year we're studying the New Testament-- I KNOW what I'm teaching every day-- you don't. And I'm teaching from the manuals that are ONLINE and that you can look at yourself-- you don't even have to take my word for it. I'm teaching the Diety of Christ-- his miraculous birth, his ministry, his mission, his miracles, his atonement for our sins.
When He comes again, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the King of Kings and Redeemer of the world. There isn't a Mormon on the planet that doesn't believe that. Not a Mormon on the planet would deny His Diety. If they DIDN'T believe that, they wouldn't be Mormon. If they didn't believe that and in his atoning death on the cross, they wouldn't take the Lord's supper every single Sunday in remembrance of his body and the blood he spilled for our sakes.
Dana - October 19th, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Tracy, I am not meaning to attack you in any way. It is of course my sincere hope that you believe in the deity of Christ and the sufficiency in His atoning sacrifice once and for all. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation or grace. But, I am telling you that, at least in Utah, this is not what the Mormon church teaches. 6 different missionaries have sat with me at the table I'm typing to you from and have told me that, no, the Church does not believe that Jesus IS God. I have asked, truly wondering, my neighbors the same questions and they have confirmed the same to be true. I am only speaking what I know from my Mormon friends and neighbors.
Jessica - October 22nd, 2012 at 9:56 AM
There is a difference between believing that Jesus IS God, that Jesus is the divine only begotten Son of God and that Jesus is just a man called to be a teacher by God.

You are correct that Mormons do not believe in the first statement - they are not a people that believe in the Trinity with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit being three representations of the same unified God.

They are however, a people that believe in Jesus as the divine, only-begotten Son of God, one of three members of the Godhead. Three separate beings (God the Father, Christ His son and the Holy Spirit).

It is, of course, no longer the mainstream view in Christianity; however, it was not an uncommon view in early Christianity and it is not at all the same as a belief that Jesus was not divine.
Mike - October 19th, 2012 at 7:12 AM
Tracy, how accurate are the theological points in this article? http://thegospelcoalition.org/mobile/article/kevindeyoung/mormonism-101
David Truncale - October 19th, 2012 at 9:07 AM
For me, John Piper has addressed the topic of 'One Issue Politics' better than anyone else I have heard. I offer his article to you all for your consideration:

====================================================
One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society
by John Piper


No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office. For example, any candidate who endorsed bribery as a form of government efficiency would be disqualified, no matter what his party or platform was. Or a person who endorsed corporate fraud (say under $50 million) would be disqualified no matter what else he endorsed. Or a person who said that no black people could hold office%u2014on that single issue alone he would be unfit for office. Or a person who said that rape is only a misdemeanor%u2014that single issue would end his political career. These examples could go on and on. Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualify a candidate for office.

It's the same with marriage. No one quality makes a good wife or husband, but some qualities would make a person unacceptable. For example, back when I was thinking about getting married, not liking cats would not have disqualified a woman as my wife, but not liking people would. Drinking coffee would not, but drinking whiskey would. Kissing dogs wouldn't, but kissing the mailman would. And so on. Being a single-issue fianc does not mean that only one issue matters. It means that some issues may matter enough to break off the relationship.

So it is with politics. You have to decide what those issues are for you. What do you think disqualifies a person from holding public office? I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It's simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery would disqualify him%u2014except that child-killing is more serious than those.

When we bought our dog at the Humane Society, I picked up a brochure on the laws of Minnesota concerning animals. Statute 343.2, subdivision 1 says, "No person shall . . . unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate or kill any animal." Subdivision 7 says, "No person shall willfully instigate or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal." The penalty: "A person who fails to comply with any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Now this set me to pondering the rights of the unborn. An eight-week-old human fetus has a beating heart, an EKG, brain waves, thumb-sucking, pain sensitivity, finger-grasping, and genetic humanity, but under our present laws is not a human person with rights under the 14th Amendment, which says that "no state shall deprive any person of life . . . without due process of law." Well, I wondered, if the unborn do not qualify as persons, it seems that they could at least qualify as animals, say a dog, or at least a cat. Could we not at least charge abortion clinics with cruelty to animals under Statute 343.2, subdivision 7? Why is it legal to "maim, mutilate and kill" a pain-sensitive unborn human being but not an animal?

These reflections have confirmed my conviction never to vote for a person who endorses such an evil%u2014even if he could balance the budget tomorrow and end all taxation.



* * * This article is from A Godward Life, Book I: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life by John Piper (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1997), pp. 279-280.


Lauren - October 30th, 2012 at 3:58 PM
Just saw an ad on TV today from Mitt Romeny (he approved the message) where he stated that he supports abortion in cases of rape, incest & issues of safety to the mother. So one cannot vote for Romney because he is anti-abortion. He isn't. I live in FL, so we get tons of TV ads. This one was straight from the mouth of Mr Romney.
Christy - October 19th, 2012 at 11:26 AM
As a Marine wife who's husband has served in the Iraqi War I find it appalling to hear that someone would not vote. Millions of men and women have served and died defending our freedoms. Freedom of democracy. Yes our government is flawed and the men and women who run it are flawed. Not until Jesus returns will we witness perfection. So honestly there is no excuse for Christians to tuck our heads. All this Liberal Christianity I'm reading on here looks nothing more than weakness. There was nothing weak about Jesus.
Ashley - October 19th, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Politics is ridiculous. I believe both major parties are about nothing more than staying in power. I don't believe government will ever be our salvation. Because of their out-of-control spending, they cannot possibly afford to give food, shelter and healthcare to every person in need, without being forced to make value judgments about the individual citizen. Is this one productive? Are they really adding anything to society? How old are they? Heaven help you if you are found worthless or "defective." They are wasteful, greedy...again, ridiculous, driving our nation into the ground. Having said that, I still vote. I still voice my opinion and I do lean heavily toward one party. Im not a card carrier, for the same basic reasons you gave. I belong to Jesus, not the RNC. Bottom line - our government is in the process of neutering itself. The church needs to rise to the occasion, listen to the mandate of BOTH the old and new testaments to meet the needs of the poor, needy, widow, orphan, stranger among us, etc. It's our job and its kind of a big deal to God. Big enough, that Jesus will say, "I never knew you," to the ones of us found lacking in this area, because, as James said, faith without works is dead. If our lives aren't reflecting Gods heart, we may be deceived about our salvation. That's no small thing. If we are moved by the needs in our world, in our nation, in our own communities, we must act...not complain, not point the finger at government - lift a finger, take a step...move our butts. Detach the umbilical cord from Uncle Sam and attach it to Jehovah Jireh, Rapha, Shalom.
Common Sense Mom - October 19th, 2012 at 3:54 PM
I am a registered Democrat who is personally pro-life. Personally I could never choose abortion for myself. But I have the luxury of making that choice because I am married, well educated, not addicted to drugs or alcohol, not mentally ill and I am healthy. In short, I can provide a stable and loving home to a child. Very recently my husband and I found out we were unexpectedly pregnant, very very unexpectedly. Abortion was not an option for us (for the above mentioned reasons) but for a few minutes staring at the positive stick I had a glimpse into what a woman without all the blessings I have could be thinking.

I have a hard time understanding why Republicans and evangelicals are pro-life but also are so uptight and prissy about sex. They don't want abortions but they also refuse to be open with their teens about how to prevent sex, they refuse to make birth control accessible. They shame instead of educating. Also, Republicans are anti entitlement programs. They want a mother on welfare to bare yet another unplanned child...but they refuse to help her once the child is born, calling her a "lazy victim". They want the drug addicted mother to bare her unplanned child but they refuse to fund her drug rehab program. They want abortions to end but they want to defund Planned Parenthood which helps women prevent pregnancy in the first place, this is their primary objective. Republicans are very vocal and opinionated about women giving their unplanned babies up for adoption..but they refuse to acknowledge the fact that minority babies with any drug history and/or disability have almost no chance of adoption. Even healthy black babies have a very low adoption rate. Then don't even get me going on rape and incest. Any parent who would force her 13-14 year old daughter who was raped to carry through with a pregnancy is a monster in my book. Would Jesus really do that to his daughter? Really?? I have a hard time believing that.

Obviously abortion is a deeply complicated issue. My problem is that Republicans too often take a doe-eyed, simpleton approach to the problem: Abortion is wrong, period, so don't do it. No, I'm sorry, it's not that simple. It is NOT THAT SIMPLE. I am a Democrat who is personally pro-life but who recognizes that the issue of abortion is NOT as simple as some seem to think it is. I am also a Christian and I think God and Jesus would address this issue with a lot more grace than Republicans and evangelicals.
Mike - October 19th, 2012 at 10:21 PM
If you believe what is in YOUR belly is a life, why wouldn't you protect the lives others? I suppose it's the luck of the draw?

99% of abortions are for reasons other than rape or incest. Knowing how much God values life, what makes you so sure Jesus would permit the taking of an innocent life, regardless of the circumstances?

Lastly, contraception might reduce the number of abortions (I say might, because some contraceptives are abortifacients, which wouldn't reduce the number of abortions), but maybe Christian parents need to do a better job of explaining God's design for sex within the context of marriage. I can't imagine telling my daughter, "Hey, sweetie, God designed sex within the context of marriage, but if the flesh is weak, make sure you use a condom."
Becky - October 19th, 2012 at 8:51 PM
Voting "Independent" is like voting "present". The Democrat party was hi-jacked and the Republican Party got woken up by the Tea Party. There is hope at last but we need to work within the framework to restore and heal this wonderful nation God gave us. The harvest is ready but the workers are few, so please Christians, do not throw in the towel. My home church in Houston has 2 Judges, 2 very important state legislators! We should not shrink back but get in the fight to turn this country back to God, however He directs us. We are not all called into politics, but please make your vote count. Do not vote "present"! Maybe if everyone was taken to DC to walk the hallowed ground and read all the monuments which give Glory to God, a love for this country would grow and more people would understand what is at stake. I'll stop now but please pray and vote!!
Painted Maypole - October 19th, 2012 at 8:54 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Abortion is such a hot button topic and it drives me crazy. One person once asked me "But what about Abortion?" when I mentioned who I was voting for in 2008. My reply was "what about war? what about healthcare? what about poverty? what about the economy? what about equal rights? I care about more than one issue. And all of these issues are moral issues as well." Jesus said way more about healing the sick and caring for the poor than he did about murder of any kind.
Ash - October 20th, 2012 at 9:03 AM
The only problem is, neither party can really fix poverty, because the welfare system keeps people there, in exchange for votes. It serves a purpose when used properly, but it's a messed up, abused system. It isn't empowering, it's enslaving. As far as the economy, the government is the ruin of it, with wasteful spending and pandering for votes by spending millions on things that border on ridiculous. It would be great to reform some things in insurance and healthcare, but the government cannot provide that for everyone, nor should they, in my opinion. That leaves me to vote for who I think makes the most sense economically, though I am pessimistic that any real change will occur, no matter who gets elected; and for who I think makes a strong moral stand, or values life. From a Christian/Biblical perspective, I believe it makes a difference, for an entire nation, what the leadership endorses...and thereby, what we endorse with our votes. But, having said all that, I think the church should be shouldering many of the issues of the poor, through education, giving, feeding, helping with healthcare, fostering kids, adoption, life-skills training, money management training, etc. In general, love our neighbor with more than words. The government can't handle it all, and certainly can't do it well. Most of them are too concerned with ensuring their re-elections to be able to make wise decisions.
Painted Maypole - October 26th, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Ash, i think you and I vote very differently politically,and see the issues of governments role differently. However, I couldn't agree more that churches are not doing enough. Christians are not doing enough. If everyone who claimed to be a Christian tithed... imagine the work churches could truly do to help the poor, to give help with healthcare costs, and homes to children, and counseling and.... There would be far less need for the government to help, because the Christians would actually be doing the work of the gospel. If we are honest we have to say we are FAILING each other, and failing God.
Annie - October 19th, 2012 at 9:43 PM
Peace and grace and mercy to each of you in Christ Jesus our Lord. Let His sovereignty reign -- let His love envelope us all -- let us each examine our own lives in humility -- and offer our souls to His service.

Voting is such a privilege ... America has so many (!) blessings. May we serve with our hearts and our abundance.

Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not - knows not love - for God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another.
I John 4:7-8
JenW - October 20th, 2012 at 8:45 AM
So good!!! Be blessed
Sue - October 20th, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Amen, Jen. Amen and amen. It's not so much about fixing, as it is about loving God and loving neighbor. That's what Jesus commanded his followers to do. Not throw mud, or disdain, or mock, or demonize, or call names, or point fingers. LOVE. Why is that so hard, even for Jesus followers?
Abby - October 20th, 2012 at 11:03 AM
What an essay!! Amen! I have thankfully found myself emerge out of the maze of horribly misguided "groupthink" of stone-clad right-winged-"you-can't-be-a-Democrat-and-still-be-a-Christian," and found myself leaning further and further to the left because of those more socially responsible issues you bring up. Yes, y'all, I'm a leftist-Christian, okay? The biggest frustration has been trying to reconcile all sorts of "important" moral imperatives inherent in Christ-discipleship, such as protecting the weak and the poor (I read this to include unwanted pregnancies). As it became increasingly difficult to figure out which "side" to support, it became clear that no platform or party or even candidate could ever possibly represent my personal viewpoints. Nor could one viable candidate rightly represent most of America's churches (as if they are the authority on what Jesus would do, anyway). When I remembered my own personal experiences, disappointments, and heartbreaks that either my pastoral family or myself had experienced withIN the "Kingdom" of brothers and sisters in Christ, it became clear once again that this world, this church, this great country, is not where we are to place our faith.
Thank you for so thoughtfully and eloquently expressing this gentle reminder.

Thank you also for the reminder that people are people. If we care soooo much for the unborn, we need to care just as much for the women carrying those babies. They are hurt, too. Let's stop villainizing each other and do what we are meant to do, and that is love.
Shelly - October 20th, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Thank you for these great thoughts! LOVE this post.
Christin - October 20th, 2012 at 12:40 PM
"Four or eight years of an administration cannot compromise the historical work of a holy God."
As a matter of fact, it will only help fulfill it, as all leaders (good or bad) are ordained by God--because God is sovereign.

This was truly an excellent perspective --and one I agree with. I don't talk about politics much because both sides have issues, as you have stated. Great job executing your thoughts so graciously. :)
Sherry - October 20th, 2012 at 1:42 PM
This is the first politically oriented blog post I've read that actually gave me peace; all others, red- or blue-leaning, leave me angry, disoriented, defensive, faltering. I can now rest, not only until the election but after it, confident in God's sovereignty over his people...every last one of us, on earth and in heaven. Thank you.
Emily - October 20th, 2012 at 2:09 PM
when I try and say what you have said about people voting on that one platform and how desperately we need more info on sex education and access to birth control and then help for moms during pregnancy and raising those kids and putting the kids through school and help putting those kids through college...I feel like no one listens to me. I have worked in the field of HIV all my life- I see every single day what people struggle with when it comes to paying for medical care, access to birth control, fighting for prenatal care etc etc. If you vote for Romney thinking he will end abortion and not look at the big picture you are being short sighted. I appreciate you writing this because people listen to you and respect you and you are a fatastic writer. Kudos and Amen.
laurie - October 21st, 2012 at 10:14 AM
I too am committed to one party alone: the Kingdom that shall never be moved. The eternal immovable Kingdom.
Amber - October 22nd, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Hi Jen,

You are an eloquent writer and I agree with many of your thoughts. There is no perfect party and it is about being an example of Christ and trusting in Him. I totally agree both parties are motivated by greed. I am a social worker and a Christian and I find that both parties represent some forms of morality but not perfectly. However, I do believe one is more in line with Christian values. I know you said nothing was up for vote for abortion but you did not mention FUNDING which is huge. Which candidate FUNDS what? It does change drastically based on party. What about Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. Both are supported by Obama and fund abortions. Rominey would cut Planned Parenthood drastically. Faith based initiative.. what about that? Obama cut that which Bush allowed (govt to fund faith-based programs). Here in chicago, my home town, Catholic Charties after 60 years of working with adoptive families are NOT allowed to work with state agencies and help adoptions and foster care bc they wont place with same sex couples. There are some major issues that do matter. The church can help the poor and homeless if they had community and government support. One party, I believe, gives that right to the church more than the other. There are some issues that are so great, that they cant be ignored. Canidates cant save, but Christians can try to preserve their right to stand up for what is right. Right now, Chrisitain companies standing against Obamacare (Holly Lobby and Chick-filet) are getting fined millions for this. I just think we need to be aware of what the issues are.
Suzi - October 22nd, 2012 at 4:46 PM
Amen! Preach it!
Douglas - October 22nd, 2012 at 5:10 PM
I agree with our need to love those with whom we differ, totally agree. HOWEVER, and it is a big however, I find your declared centrist/independent stance more than slightly ingenuous when you resort to articulating the Democratic party line down to the finest detail with: "...omits the crucial before and after parts of the issue, as I see the same people fighting against universal pre- and postnatal care, easier access to contraception (2/3rds of all US citizens are unchurched, so it is unrealistic to expect them to adhere to Christian abstinence, you know, like all the Christian singles are...ahem), better nutrition for new mothers, affordable health care for all, the offer of true community to young and vulnerable pregnant women%u2026as these are the tools that will actually reduce abortions. There is a high correlation between social policies like family planning, contraception promotion, comprehensive sex education, and increased health insurance coverage and lower abortion rates." There is? Says who? Political liberals who come down on the side of government solutions to social problems--a Democratic party line...
Kathy - October 22nd, 2012 at 9:37 PM
Molly shared and all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU and THANK YOU!!! So well thought out and written.
JR - October 23rd, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Hey Jen!

Thought I'd drop you a line, and I figured this is the best way to do it, because this post is what this note is about. I like you. I think you're pretty cool. I want to read your book. I'm down with the basement.

So, I think you'll understand why I'm a little confused that you posted neither of my comments (one to Christy and one to Charles). Now, perhaps your blog has gone all haywire (been there, done that!) and failed to deliver my comments. Maybe you're chewing on them a bit for some reason--no worries! However, having seen comments written after mine, posted before mine, I wonder whether maybe you just decided not to post mine. And that makes me wonder why. Not in a "Why doesn't she LIKE me? Why can't she ACCEPT me?" kind of way, just...Why?

Did I misrepresent what you meant in your statement, "If following Jesus means abandoning our rights, then abandon them"? Do you disagree with my view that non-voters are not necessarily sinning by choosing not to participate in the earthly government institution known as democracy (even I have voted in the past, and I haven't completely dismissed the possibility of voting this year--I don't think voting is wrong if done consciously and conscientiously)? Are you protecting me from the mobs of people who DO disagree with me--vehemently so (thank you for your concern!)? Were you concerned that my response to Christy might have been hurtful to her (I sincerely tried to be gentle and loving)? Did you think that I was maliciously attacking her and Charles? (I wasn't!) Really, those are all legit reasons not to post my comment.

I thought, though, that this was the basement. That it was cool to politely, lovingly and respectfuly disagree with one another. To work our junk out with each other. I'm not saying that I'm right. In fact, I will not be at all surprised to one day find that I was wrong--as in bat-crap crazy wrong. I'm just a little surprised that my comments aren't up there, adding another perspective to the conversation.

Much love in Christ,
JR
Jen Hatmaker - October 28th, 2012 at 8:11 PM
I have no idea what happened, JR! I haven't deleted a single response to this entire blog. I have a handful of readers who've told me their comments never get posted, and I can't find the common thread. For some reason, certain posts get lost. I get them in my email notification, but they don't post on the actual comment thread. So anyway, I didn't delete your stuff! Thanks for coming back for one more try!
Name - December 18th, 2012 at 8:35 AM
Thanks for the response Jen! I had a hunch that it was the blog going spazzwire on you. I'll admit, I got a bit defensive, so I didn't come check again for a while (just to give myself a chance to cool down a bit), and then...well, then I just plain forgot about it (oh how important our puny issues seem in the moment...and then how quickly we forget!)

So anyway, thanks for keeping the basement cool!

Much love still (in spite of my defensive grumpy moment)
JR
Christie - October 23rd, 2012 at 2:35 PM
I registered Republican so that I could vote in the primaries. It is the time of the election cycle to really vote your conscience.

One thing I learned during this spring is that the primary system, with local delegates, helps the minority viewpoint have a voice in the national system. It is a check-and-balance against powerful candidates and majority voting blocks.

Brend - October 23rd, 2012 at 9:46 PM
I am very bothered by this statement that you make " we simply have to choose between two platforms that each include some gospel-centric policies and others that contradict". Have you actually looked at the platform passed by the Democratic party this year in Charlotte? There is absolutely NOTHING gospel-centric about it. I am shocked by this outrageous statement. I would challenge anyone to find a gospel-centric statement in the DNC platform. I believe in voting based on a biblical worldview, not based on party identification. I am very bothered by this tendency to redistribute wealth in the name of "helping the poor" which is very popular in some reformed circles today. This is just socialism and look around the world where it has been tried. It has been a dismal failure in every sense. I agree with Al Mohler, "We reveal our worldview by our vote.

This is particularly true of the 2012 election. The presidential nominees of the two major parties represent two very different worldviews and visions. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have adopted policy positions that place them in direct conflict, and the platforms of their respective parties reveal two radically different renderings of reality."

http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/09/06/the-great-american-worldview-exercise-the-2012-election/

billy - October 24th, 2012 at 1:25 PM
I see the issue not as whether the Romney the Republican will lead us to Christianity, but that Obama the Democrat has for the last four years done everything to stifle and rip to shreads any and all faith based spirit that has been the thread that has held this country up since its beginning. Everything he wrote, everything he stood for, and his 20 year allegiance to Jeremiah Wright and his vile teachings have convinced me that he is an enemy of Christianity, and for that I will steadfastly oppose him. It is a no brainer. Be neutral if you wish. It will equate to being wholeheatedly for him in the final assesment.
Angela - October 25th, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I just want to know when we are talking about "feeding the poor" are we talking about the lady in the check out line in front of me who bought over $500.00 of crab legs and steak with a FOOD STAMP CARD??? Or taking care of prenatal care for women who are having their SEVENTH illegitimate child, and they are only 25 years old and never had a job a day in their life?? I am a Christian and completely understand the concept of taking care of widows and orphans. But I am completely fed up and sick to absolute death of taking care of those who just sit around on their behinds looking for a hand out. Meanwhile, my husband and I are working ourselves to death to pay our mortgage, bills, health insurance, putting food in our 3 boys mouth and paying for college for our eldest. SICK TO DEATH of it. I think people are putting a spin on feeding the poor that Jesus never, ever intended. You want to eat? Work for it! You want health insurance? Work for it! You want to go to college? Work for it! You want a cell phone? Yes, the government does give out free cell phones. Fourty seven MILLION people receiving food stamps. If ya'll can't see that it's time for a "change" God help us all. God bless America.
Angela M - October 25th, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Dear Jen,

Here are few of my thoughts as I read this post. While I do not expect anything that I say to prompt you to reconsider your words, I am nevertheless compelled to share. It is my time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7.

%u201CThe inner workings of polarized government actually leave me very cold.%u201D This is a big personal problem to have, because the Constitution of the U.S.A. sets up a political system that is by its very nature polarized, or two-party. Our system has a history and a reasonable basis for being, and will continue to be, a polarized two-party system as long as people hold diverse opinions and until some significant %u2013 and not necessarily appropriate -- changes are made to the entire process. There are pros and cons to a two-party system. Clearly you are familiar with the cons. Maybe not so familiar with the pros. There are pros and cons to multi-party and single-party systems too. Surprise: fallible humans in a sinful world have not created a perfect political system, or even one that most people like most of the time. Like most things, we have to do the best we can within the system that we have, and that%u2019s okay with me. Evil leaves me cold. Influenza gives me a fever. A polarized two-party system? My body temperature doesn%u2019t change.

%u201CMy optimism was deflowered in middle school when I found out about the Electoral College.%u201D Perhaps your middle school teacher did not do a thorough job explaining the history and basis for the Electoral College. Maybe your 8th grade self did not receive an %u201CA%u201D in that class. Maybe both. I daresay that over the next couple of decades, you must have had an opportunity to receive a better education on the matter, and I will also go out on a limb here and suggest that what%u2019s at stake %u2013 our nation%u2019s future -- makes it worth spending some time better understanding the Electoral College. Here%u2019s a start.

THE VIRTUE OF OUR ELECTORAL COLLEGE. We live in a representative democracy. Our political system is built around checks and balances, including a balance between the virtue of direct popular vote and the virtue of state representation vis--vis the Electoral College. Where is a Schoolhouse Rocks song when you need it?

The Electoral College consists of 548 electors who officially elect the President and Vice President of the U.S.A. Electors are allocated to each state proportionate to the state's representation in Congress and irrespective of the overall nationwide vote. The voters in each state determine the pledges of its electoral representatives. Each state, then, vis-a-vis the Electoral College, elects the President. Popular vote on a nationwide basis may absolutely be different than the Electoral College vote. That is not an unforeseen byproduct, that is the intention: to give voters within each state independent value and weight separate and apart from the popular vote. A travesty? The foundation upon which to build a paradigm of political pessimism? Hardly.

Consider this: popular vote on a nationwide basis is equally irrelevant when it comes to the adoption of every federal law by Congress. Every. Federal. Law. That%u2019s a lot of laws. Not one of them is based on a nationwide popular vote. In fact, I daresay a number of them run counter to what a majority of people in the entire U.S. want, because like electors who are allocated and elected by state, Congressional Representatives are allocated and elected by state. Each has one vote regardless of the number of votes he or she received. This means that a representative elected with twice as many votes in his home state has no more votes than the person sitting beside him elected with half as many. Then there are Senators: each state has two, regardless of population or voter turnout. That is okay with me. It is not perfect, but it is the best of the available alternatives, and it reflects the founders' efforts to respect states' autonomy and rights.

Compare Congress and the Electoral College and their attempt to mesh popular and state votes with the U.N., comprised of member nations. Coincidentally, the first assembly of the U.N. had representatives from 51 countries. Each nation has one vote regardless of population or inter-country voter turnout, which means that in theory countries that include as few as 4% of the world's population could pass a resolution that covers the other 96%. On the other hand, there are equally obvious and untenable problems with allocating votes strictly by population or voter turnout. In creating our political process, our founders saw the relationship between the states and the federal government in much the same way as we may see the relationship between the U.N. and member nations. In trying to balance the competing concerns, create an effective and unified federal government while recognizing and respecting state sovereignty and value, a Congress and Electoral College was created with representative state allocations that we are still considering and arguing about today.

For myself, I cannot emphasize enough the importance and relevance of these two words: United States. Perhaps the entire idea of a country divided into (decreasingly) autonomous states is antiquated. Perhaps states should be dissolved altogether and we should simply be America. I think not, but then I also support the Electoral College, even though that may mean that my horse wins the race and loses the crown (popular votes vs. electoral votes). I think states are good. I think states matter. The fact that the federal government has usurped states%u2019 rights and inverted the pyramid may or may not be a reason to eliminate the Electoral College (and with it, Senators and Congressmen allocated and elected by state, as the concept is the same) as an outdated remnant of state representation. Another much longer discussion for another, much longer comment.

%u201CI will never get in bed with a political party, because full allegiance forfeits the right to call a party to reform, and both parties are in dire need of reform. Full allegiance tempts us to place our hope in secular government fueled by greed and power, and both parties are fueled by greed and power. Full allegiance silences our prophetic voice in favor of touting party lines and demands we turn our fellow citizens into enemies for differing viewpoints.%u201D Sigh. Where do I begin here? I find myself distracted by this second insertion of sexual innuendo in a post about religion and politics. Deflowering? Getting into bed? What are we really talking about?

I resist the urge to create a straw man out of your entire post, although you did not hesitate to do the same thing with political parties.

Identifying one%u2019s self as %u201CRepublican%u201D or %u201CDemocrat%u201D has never, ever, ever meant %u201Cfull allegiance [that] forfeits the right to call a party to reform.%u201D Say what? Anyone who has ever engaged in any manner in any political party process at any level (and we all should at one time or another) has seen first-hand that not a single person fully agrees with a political party. Not. One. The entire political party process from the local precinct level all the way up to the national level is one of negotiation, compromise, discussion and, yes, reform. Reform that someone who registers as independent neither engages in nor promotes.

Tear away the fallacy of %u201Cfull allegiance,%u201D and the rest of the rhetoric falls away as well. Most of the people in both parties are not %u201Cfueled by greed and power.%u201D Most are ordinary, albeit sinful people just like you and me, who appreciate the importance of engaging and doing what they can to make a difference, to try to improve things based on their world view, religious or otherwise. I wonder %u2013 honestly, doubt %u2013 that you are speaking from a place of knowledge and information. The straw man seems very real to you. I challenge you to spend one night a month for a year attending a local political party%u2019s meetings, to serve as a precinct committee officer, to help draft the county party%u2019s platform and then to travel to the state party convention and do the same, a commitment of less than a week. Then post your insight on the political process, not based on what you have read or assumed (ass %u2013 u %u2013 me you know the joke) but based on first-hand experience. I think you will change some of your opinions. If not, you will at least be a more credible critic.

It is important enough to reiterate: by registering as a Democrat or a Republican, I am not saying that I support a particular party 100% without question to the death, any more than I am saying that I will only and forever eat every meal at Taco Bell when I say it is my fast food restaurant of choice. Heaven forbid! With this line of reasoning, I should not identify myself as an %u201CAmerican%u201D either, because I certainly do not agree with my government or fellow citizens 100%, and I absolutely do not believe the U.S.A. is not in need of reform. Instead, by identifying with a political party, I am acknowledging that we live in a two party system, and in that system acknowledging that one party is on the whole closer to my ideals than the other %u2013 even if by %u201Ccloser%u201D it is still light years away %u2013 and it is the party that I will seek to serve and improve through my participation.

You cite an article by John Piper. I like John Piper too. He speaks a lot of truth. In this article, http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/slaves-of-god-free-from-all-to-honor-all Piper describes how 1 Peter 2:13 %u2013 17 guides us to be Slaves of God: Free from All to Honor All. Christians do not identify with a political party %u201Csimply because they feel like it%u201D or because they agree with the party%u2019s platform 100% and do not think it is in need of reform. As Christians, we know there is nothing on earth that is perfect and not in need of improvement, and there never will be. In all areas of our life, and in all institutions that we ascribe to, we should work to advance good while understanding that perfection is unattainable. %u201CWe look first to God. We consult God about the institution. And we submit for His sake. . . . We are slaves of God and not man (1 Corinthians 7:22%u201323). We do not submit to human institutions as slaves to those institutions but as God's free people. We submit in freedom for his sake. Not in bondage for the king's sake.%u201D

It is because political parties are in need of improvement that we should identify with one, and then seek to serve, and by serving, reform and redeem.

THE FALLACY OF SECULAR VERSUS SACRED. You casually reference %u201Csecular government.%u201D AH HAH. In those two words are the secret to the underlying lie: that some things are %u201Csacred%u201D and some things are %u201Csecular.%u201D This is not biblical. This is not truth. It leads one to a myriad of false conclusions.

In fact, %u201CChristian%u201D a noun, not an adjective. As Christians, whether we live, we live unto the Lord. Whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord%u2019s. Romans 14:8. There is nothing unclean unto itself. Romans 14:14. What God has cleansed we should not call common. Acts 10:15. Neither government nor political parties nor the political process are secular in and of themselves, any more than churches and religion and religious traditions are sacred in and of themselves. This fallacy excuses much evil, not the least of which is Christians withdrawing from political debate, valuing %u201Cministry%u201D (sacred) work above %u201Cordinary%u201D (secular) work, and when participating in the political process, conducting themselves as if His commandments do not apply because the process is %u201Csecular%u201D and not %u201Csacred%u201D. Because we are Christians, and Christian is a noun not an adjective, in all that we do we should remember that from him and through him and to him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Romans 11:36.

%u201CI%u2019m concerned, sisters and brothers in Christ, with this unyielding group identification with a political party.%u201D I am concerned that it has become trendy to be %u201Cindependent%u201D and purport to take the moral, sacred high road because anything less is secular, human, and oh yes, imperfect. The explanation may be as simple as a false sense of righteousness, but I think it is something more: the ever growing emphasis on rebelling. It is human nature in a fallen world to rebel against submitting to any kind of authority. In this case, the authority of a political party within the political process. The sad irony is that the person who declines to identify with either party has virtually no opportunity to serve, and in turn no opportunity to effect real improvement and reform. A registered independent may not participate in local, state or federal level party activities, may not vote on platform planks, does nothing to further reform, but instead ineffectively stands on the sidelines righteously crying foul.

We are privileged to live in a nation that was founded on biblical principles by men who saw value in the political process and being part of a group, a group of founders, a group of revolutionaries, a group of sinful and fallible people in need of reform but who in acting together as a group were better and more effective in advancing His will on earth than they could hope to be as individual and disparate actors without organization and authority. Some of them were Christians, some of them were not, some of them attended church, some of them did not. %u201CNew England pastors in colonial times preached and taught what the Bible said about liberty, and the Sons of Liberty %u2014 not a subset of any particular church %u2014 eventually sponsored a tea party in Boston harbor. Pastors through America during those centuries preached about biblical poverty-fighting, and in city after city Christians formed organizations such as (in New York) the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor.%u201D Marvin Olasky, http://www.worldmag.com/2012/06/the_politicized_pulpit . We have a nation that has fallen away from those biblical principles as some Christians among us have stumbled down the pharisaical path of holiness, separating the spiritual from the physical, the sacred from the secular, and withdrawn or all but withdrawn from the "dirty" "secular" political process.

As an aside, because I reference The Politicized Pulpit, I want to note that while I agree with many of the points in the editorial, I think Olasky could have done more to emphasize how many churches fall short in doing what they should be doing, preaching the gospel, which includes relating it to current issues. Every political issue has an underlying moral issue. If we cannot agree on that at the outset, I have a lot more writing to do!

With that in mind, while political issues like the Keystone pipeline, Arizona%u2019s death penalty, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and funding for Planned Parenthood, may not be directly addressed in scripture, the bible has a lot to say about the underlying moral issues of justice, caring for the poor, war, and human life. That a given church will say it is preaching the gospel even while its congregation, hearing and agreeing with the same message, walks outside the meeting room and reaches polar opposite conclusions on every political issue under the sun tells me there is a serious disconnect. While churches should not be %u201CR%u201D or %u201CD,%u201D they should be preaching the gospel clearly and consistently, such that their own congregation is clearly and consistently able to apply the gospel as they hear and understand it to all areas of their lives, including the area of politics.

%u201CBut in many ways, abortion is a straw issue in this election.%u201D Is that intended as a revelation, or rhetoric? In truth, I know of very few people who truly are %u201Csingle issue%u201D voters. Do you? Statistically, there are a higher percentage of people who identify themselves as Christian who also register as Republican. I have Christians in my circle who register Democrat and others who register Republican. Every one of them would take offense at your suggestion that they have made their decision lightly or without careful, prayerful analysis and consideration. Perhaps your circle of %u201CDC Talk totin%u2019 youth group pals%u201D who %u201Cassumed that Christians hedged right, because of obvious reasons, which were actually not obvious at all, but we didn%u2019t ask questions back then%u201D is more of a sad commentary on your friends than the norm among mature Christians?

In any case, I urge each of us to hear God%u2019s word by studying the bible, write His words in our hearts that we might not sin against Him, and in prayer and through the lenses of scripture read each party%u2019s platform, plank by plank. If you are a one-issue voter, that%u2019s fine. If you are multi-issue voter, guess what - you can still pick one of the two parties in our two-party system! It%u2019s not that difficult. Here is a site that can help: www.isidewith.com. I wager a Taco Bell 99 cent burrito that you will find that you agree with one party more than 50% and disagree with the other party more than 50%. There. That is your party. That is the human institution that you are probably called to identify with, not as a slave but as a servant. Your party may be R or D. Agree or disagree, I may respect your conclusions if you have reached them in a Godly way. Likewise, agree or disagree, I may not respect your conclusions if you have reached them in an ungodly way.

%u201CAnd may we touch on the irony of an inherent value of the right %u2013 electing a Christian president %u2013 and observe the suspension of %u201Cbiblical truth%u201D necessary to endorse a Mormon candidate? This is another straw in the straw man, rooted more in a political party caricature than current reality.%u201D For most Christians in recent elections %u2013 I say most, because there are always exceptions and the exceptions may have the better sound bites and garner more press %u2013 it has never been about electing a Christian or otherwise. It is about doing what we can, in everything that we do, to advance the kingdom of God and what is true and just and right. Someone who professes to be an atheist but holds positions that I believe are consistent with biblical principles will always get my vote over someone who professes to be Christian but has inconsistent positions. It is about considering each candidate for public office and casting a vote based on which one will do more to advance the biblical model of government and justice.

In his editorial, Marvin Olasky references a description that applies here as well. Heavily paraphrased by yours truly for context, when our country seems headed toward a crash, most Christians would much rather have a president intent on trying to fix it than reading a pamphlet picked up at church, "God's Will for Your Life in an Economic Collapse."

%u201COur faith and outrage and hope and trust is misplaced in any leadership model other than Jesus%u2019, who resisted all earthly power and position and rejected any political identification.%u201D Faith and hope in anyone other than Christ is certainly misplaced. Love and hate, however, is not misplaced. It is biblical to love good and hate evil (Amos 5:15), and justice is joy to a righteous man (Proverbs 11:10, 21:15). It is biblical, although certainly not PC, to recognize that there is a right (good) and wrong (evil) answer to every political issue, even while admitting that none of us has every answer correct. I fear that when we cease loving good and hating evil, cease rejoicing in justice and mourning injustice, we further injustice, for there is no neutrality (consider i.e. Matthew 12:30, Revelations 3:14).

No, the bible does not tell us that Jesus identified with a political party. It also does not say that he married or had children. Jesus had a purpose that he fulfilled. We also each have a purpose, and I dare say that it is often more mundane and ordinary but no less sacred. As the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. . . . Wherein he is called, therein abide with God. 1 Corinthians 7:17, 7:24. Some think that no Christian is called to politics. Let me suggest that all Christians are called to politics in some way because politics is a part of each of our lives, whether we admit it or not. %u201CIt is not our job to save America from anarchy. Our job is to live to God in all of life%u2014including the social and political parts of life%u2014so that others may turn to him and be saved and give him glory.%u201D John Piper.

%u201CThat any believer imagines a political platform will either usher in or threaten the kingdom of God is worse than dramatic; it is unbelief.%u201D Again, I do not personally know any Christians who hold either view, nor have I seen any statistics to suggest that either view is widespread. Is this another straw in the straw man?

Of course governments do not save. Neither does our hope rest in a President or political party, notwithstanding some campaign slogans. That does not mean that governments and leaders and political parties do not deserve our time and attention. We are called to submit to government (see above), and pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-4), in part because governments and leaders have a significant role in adopting and enforcing laws, and laws serve to reveal or obscure truth, to promote or oppress justice, to provide a political context that either helps or hinders our ability to better fulfill our God-given purpose, share His word, and obey His commandments.

The outcome of the election, of any political matter, or of any earthly matter, will not make one iota of difference to the hope that is in me. 1 Peter 3:15. That does not mean that it does not matter, that is not important, that I should not be willing to work hard and fight, perhaps with the last breath that is in me, to influence the outcome to His glory, even while I remember that all things %u2013 the good, the bad, the ugly %u2013 work together for good. Romans 8:28. We pray %u201Cthy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. . .%u201D yet in our conduct suggest that the heavenly trumps the earthly.

%u201CFour or eight years of an administration cannot compromise the historical work of a holy God.%u201D You are absolutely correct. We will be held accountable for our action or inaction, however, and in a few short years the leaders we elect can compromise the historical work of our founding fathers and the men and women who have suffered and died to protect and promote our nation%u2019s principles. That should not be discounted. We and our children and our children%u2019s children will either enjoy the fruits of a nation that moves toward biblical truth, or suffer the consequences of a nation that moves away from biblical truth. More than four or eight years is at stake; the political process and the direction of party platforms is like a foundation being build brick by brick, plank by plank. History is full of horrific examples of bad decisions by voters, bad policies and bad leaders. These things never happened overnight, but each did started with a single year, a single term, a single vote.

With this in mind, please join me in prayer for our country, for our leaders, for our families, and for ourselves, as we praise God, confess our sin, seek His guidance and blessing, recall His word, and step up and VOTE on November 6. And - it IS okay to celebrate or mourn the results on November 7 (Ecclesiastes 3:4) at the same time that I remember that regardless of the outcome, He will work it to His glory as He has every good and evil moment in history. For this I rejoice and give thanks today, tomorrow, and always. To God be the glory forever and ever amen. Phil. 4:20

Angela

P.S. Perfect Politicians. There is a growing expectation that a political candidate should be Christ-like in his perfection, rather than human in his flaws. Substantive positions and plans fade and superfluous sound bites prevail. A candidate%u2019s detailed plan for the economy (http://www.barackobama.com/economy?source=primary-nav and http://www.mittromney.com/jobs ) gets less popular attention than a sound bite of what is probably a careless statement made in a purportedly private setting at the end of a presumably exhausting day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTxXUufI3jA and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvqHERTcytI ). One candidate %u201Closes%u201D a debate because he is not energetic enough %u2013 how dare someone be tired and off his game for one night! %u2013 while another %u201Closes%u201D a debate because of a poorly expressed point that may be laughingly impaled by bayonets.

We bemoan that politicians are more like actors and less like the common man, yet we pick at every flaw, replay every stumble, and demand better performances and more convincing delivery of televised lines.

We say we pay our political leaders too much, then say they should not volunteer to serve for the %u201Cwrong reasons,%u201D all the while paying them significantly less than comparable private sector careers and without hesitation questioning their characters and motives with little more reason than the way they shifted their eyes or sweated as they answered a question. Could it be that they had a stray eyelash, or forgot to put on deodorant? We pay U.S. Senators $174,000/year, while public company CEOs make millions http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/average-ceo-pay-2011_n_1545225.html . Even the Seattle School District superintendent makes $225,000 http://seattletimes.com/html/education/2018127772_supe03m.html . A public school administrator is paid more than the state governor, more than state supreme court judges.

We pay the President of the United States of America, the leader of the free world and the chief executive in charge of a multi-trillion dollar budget, about one penny per person in the U.S., and then we complain that they do it for the %u201Cwrong%u201D reasons. What are the %u201Cright%u201D reasons that a person should volunteer to become the most scrutinized, lambasted, and mocked person in the country, with the highest risk of assassination and kidnapping for himself and his family? In all things, including politics, what we reap is exactly what we sow. Before I ask what a leader, political party, or government has done for me, I ask what have I invested in that leader, political party, or government. Quite frankly, whoever wins the presidential election in two weeks, I expect to get my penny%u2019s worth of time and commitment out of them.

P.P.S. Compassion in Politics*. [this is better suited to another comment on another post, but for now this hastily typed and unreferenced P.P.S. will have to suffice.]

Many Christians believe that to live out the commandment to love one%u2019s neighbor, one must support government sponsored social programs. Is it an act of loving one%u2019s neighbor to advocate that the government take his work, his income, and apply it to a social program that he himself is not led to voluntarily support, and that in all likelihood you yourself do not voluntarily support? When the scriptures describe what the state (modern concept: government) should do, they speak of administering justice in the limited sphere of what is now characterized as the military and court system. Biblically, justice and charity are different concepts, with different spheres of responsibility. When the scriptures describe caring for the poor and offering charity, it is singularly and exclusively an individual mandate. There is also no provision for state government to fulfill an individual%u2019s responsibility, any more than there is provision for an individual to usurp government responsibility. If one fails, it fails. The other is not capable of filling the void. Instead of focusing efforts on filling a void, we should focus our efforts on fulfilling our responsibilities, starting with ourselves.

What does compassion look like? It depends on whether and how you apply your religion to your politics. When a (religious or atheist) liberal sees a need, he begins by asking %u201Cwhat can the government do to help?%u201D Then he searches the tax rolls and looks for %u201Cbetter%u201D ways to give away other people%u2019s money. When a (religious or atheist) conservative sees a need, he begins by asking %u201Cwhat can I do to help?%u201D Then he searches his heart and looks for %u201Cbetter%u201D ways to give away his own money.

Underlying these two different ways of approaching social problems is a different world view. I believe that scripture teaches that what I have has been entrusted to me by God, and that my role is as His steward, to fulfill a list of mandates including caring for the poor within a biblical set of guidelines. My stewardship extends to myself and my family: it is biblical for me to enjoy the blessings God has given to me. Ecclesiastes 3:13. It is biblical for me to plan and save, and leave an inheritance to my children and grandchildren. Proverbs 13:22, 21:20. If one is a good steward fulfilling all that God has called one to do, feeling guilt or shame over one's blessings -- because that is what the world, and in particular FB posts around Christmas, urge us towards -- is unbelief, questioning God's judgment. Of course money should never be where our faith and hope is (1 Peter 1:21), we should not serve money (Luke 16:13), nor should we hoard (Proverbs 11:26).

When a person votes to increase what I pay in tax, to fund government social programs, I wish I could ask them a few questions. Are they being a good steward of what they have? Who are they to substitute the government for me as steward of my blessings? Do they truly believe that the government is a better steward, or are they substituting government stewardship of what God has entrusted to me for their personal stewardship of that which God has entrusted to them? It is no coincidence that there is a very high positive correlation between socialism and atheism, and a very high negative correlation between socialism and individual voluntary charity.

Empirically, Americans are charitable: approximately 75% of Americans donate money to charity at an average rate of 3.5 % of gross household income, or 2% of U.S. GDP. 50% of Americans donate their time, and most charitable giving does not go to %u201Creligious%u201D activities. Of course, this all falls short of the biblical tithe of around 13%, of which only 1% of the 13% (or less than 8% of the total tithe) went to what we would now characterize as pastors and church administration. A larger share of the tithe went to caring for the poor and providing education.

Studies show that four primary factors correlate with charitableness: religion, skepticism about the government in economic life, strong families, and personal entrepreneurism. These factors also correlate with political conservatism, resulting in an indirect but important positive correlation between conservative political views and charitable actions. There is a biblically based and consistent theme between these factors.

Beyond the divide between personal charity and government programs, calling on the government to "tax the rich" (not me) and "help the poor" (could be me) and "provide safety nets" (if I need one) seems very close to covetousness and trusting in something other than God -- trusting in the government. Beginning as children in Sunday School, we have had it drilled into us the importance of not coveting what our neighbor has (which by definition means that our neighbor has something that we do not), not taking what our neighbor has, not putting our faith and hope in money, and not serving money. The bible is awesomely clear on each of these points. Exodus 20:15-17 and see versus above. Yet, put the government as the middle-man between us and each of these things, villainize our neighbor by defining him as rich and therefore ungodly (because as has become the common knowledge, wealth is evil therefore the wealthy are bad, never mind that the bible has multiple clear examples that there are Godly rich, and ungodly rich, Godly poor, and ungodly poor), and suddenly all of these things become good. What is a sin for us to do as individuals becomes -- at least in our eyes -- righteous if done vis-a-vis our government. In fact, it becomes UN-Christian to oppose it. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. Isaiah 5:20.

Covetousness: Those rich, they have more than we think they need. More than we think they deserve. Remember, coveting does not require us to put our neighbor's dollar in our pocket, only to want to take it away from our neighbor. Kings 3: 5-14. I know! The government should tax "them" more. That is fair.

Faith and Hope in Government: When something goes wrong and I need a hand, the government should provide. When I have needs, my first thought is not to seek God in prayer and ask my individual brothers and sisters in Christ for help, but to visit a local government office for assistance.

Absolve of Individual Responsibility: Likewise, when my brother or sister in Christ needs assistance, my first thought is not to help them directly, but to celebrate or bemoan the help the government has to offer them. My faith and hope is in the government, and my duties and responsibilities are abdicated to it.

Serving Government not God: Of course the more the government supplies to me, the more that I must pay in taxes, but that is okay. It is good for me to have a large portion of my work be contributed to the government, even though it necessarily means that I have less to tithe to His glory. Through taxes, I serve the government more, and God less.

Placing Others in Bondage: by supporting economic policies that demand ever higher taxes and ever increasing national debt, I place my brothers and sisters in Christ, my children and grandchildren, into tax bondage. I also have a part in discouraging people from fulfilling the biblical command to save and leave an inheritance by supporting policies that penalize savings and reward borrowing, because interest rates are lower than inflation?

Whether there are legitimate reasons for government aid, personal generosity %u2013 loving one%u2019s neighbor -- is not one of them. Unfortunately, %u201C[f]or many people, the desire to donate other people%u2019s money displaces the act of giving one%u2019s own.%u201D Studies show that people who believe that the government is responsible for increasing income equality are substantially less likely to volunteer their time or donate their money than people who do not believe this. Even more telling, a person who votes for government spending on a particular social program is statistically less likely to voluntarily donate to that program, regardless of the voting outcome, than a person who votes against the program.

So what does compassion look like? It looks like an individual Samaritan helping an individual traveler in immediate need alongside the road. It looks like Boaz choosing righteous poor to glean from his fields. It looks like Kate volunteering her time to serve children in Uganda. It looks like my mother sacrificing to donate to the Union Gospel Mission. It does not look like a politician magnanimously voting for government aid, or me voting for that politician.

*statistics and related quotes from Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares (New York: Basic Books, 2006). This book is a must-read for anyone interested in %u201CAmerica%u2019s Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn%u2019t, and Why It Matters.%u201D

P.P.P.S. I apologize if this is somewhat disjointed, repetitive, or otherwise. Whoever created a Comment window that only displays 6 lines at a time clearly did not expect as verbose a response as mine.
Jonathan B - October 26th, 2012 at 1:09 PM
I agree that we should not blindly put our faith in a political party, nor cling to the party line when it contradicts Scripture. And I am one of those pushing for reform. Personally, I have no problem voting for a Democrat if he's more conservative than his Republican opponent.

I don't fear for the survival of God's Kingdom from anything that man can do. God is still on His throne and always will be. But I do, as an American citizen, fear for what the political agenda of one side can do to my country. And I have a responsibility, as a citizen, to do what I can to protect that country. I think too many people and politicians alike forget that the rulers of our country are not the politicians, but the citizens, under our Constitution.

David Barton has some interesting statistics on the correlation between a politician being Pro-life and being conservative in other areas, including economically. I wish I had them handy. It doesn't mean every pro-life candidate is conservative in other areas or that every pro-abortion candidate is not conservative in other areas, but it does present some interestings odds in their favor. And one of your commenters made a good point that a pro-abortion President will almost certainly appoint pro-abortion judges, not just on the Supreme Court but also in the lower federal courts.

The electoral college system is actually designed the way it is for very good reasons. I'll have to hit the highlights, rather than an in depth set, but I'll give it a shot. The Founders purposely avoided a popular vote system because they desired the President to represent the full breadth of the United States, and a popular vote system holds the very real possibility of a few very populous states and cities deciding the election without regard to many less populous states and more rural areas. The Constitution is a system of layered checks and balances, designed to make it hard for one group to bully another, particularly amongst the states, because the Founders understood that human beings do play for power and advantage. The original design of the Senate was that its two members per state were appointed by the state government to represent the interests of the state, giving each state equal power regardless of size (we changed it to popular vote by amendment several decades ago, but that was the original design). The House was given representation by population in order to more directly voice the will of the overall population, which is why spending and certain other kinds of bills have to originate with the House. Because both House and Senate must agree, there is balance between them.

The Electoral College allows population to be a factor, but reduces that factor to a more limited level, requiring much more than 50% of the population to be in favor for a clear win. Small states still count, rather than being fully irrelevant, which is why you find candidates still bothering to have election campaigning in all the states. But another reason for the Electoral College is to reduce the incidence of fraud. It is much easier to fraudulently introduce a scattering of votes across the whole country to tip a 50% figure than it is to successfully introduce enough fraudulent votes in multiple separate districts where election officials are more likely to notice something wrong with the more concentrated turnout. It doesn't eliminate fraud by any means, but it reduces its impact, because fraudsters have to work much harder to affect enough separate elections to swing the electoral college vote without getting caught. If the electoral college cannot settle on a candidate, then it falls to the House to select him, elected officials who represent the population balance of the states and can face election problems themselves if their constituents don't like their choice. Meanwhile the VP is picked in the Senate, where the states have equal representation. If the House deadlocks, the VP picked by the Senate acts as President till the House makes a choice. If both bodies deadlock, then the Speaker of the House (himself selected by the majority of the publicly elected House) acts as President till one or the other bodies break their deadlock. It's actually a very ingenious system to prevent a bare majority from disenfranchising the minority easily and make it very difficult to create an unbreakable dynasty. It's much harder to keep enough of the American population enthralled with you to ensure that you can never lose an electoral college vote than it is to keep 50.000000001% enthralled to ensure you can win a popular vote.

The Founders were painfully aware of the greed and powermadness of human beings, which is why they went to such lengths to limit government and avoid a simple majority of the population being enough to give absolute power. It's taken a couple of centuries to significantly threaten that.
melissa - October 26th, 2012 at 1:33 PM
You have taken my thoughts and put them in word form. Thank you. I've been so distressed over the ugliness that is coming out of Christians. I am a God-follower and he lives in my heart and to say we must choose sides and spew hatred is beyond me. Thank you for your bravery.
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