Recently, I had a rather strong emotional reaction to the passage of the health care bill. I have been reflecting on that off and on for a few days. It is no secret, nor have I ever made it one, that I am a political conservative. I generally vote Republican because generally speaking, Republicans are conservative. With that being said, I did not vote Republican in the last presidential election because I was not in favor of who the Republicans nominated. I agonized over the decision, but finally decided that I could not, in good conscience, vote for McCain. Since Ron Paul, my preferred Republican candidate, did not run on the Republican ticket, I broke with the party that I traditionally vote for and voted for Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President because he most closely resembled what I believed.
However, in recent years, prior to the election of 2008, the Republican Party has moved closer to the center in order to try and appease their power base. Meanwhile, traditional conservatives in the Party did not move, so when their party began to go moderate, they got labeled “right-wing.” Now, after the 2008 election and this health-care debacle which has succeeded in pretty much making all politicians look evil in some regard, they are once again trying to move right and I am left (no pun intended) questioning the point of it all.
I may be a political conservative, but I am first and foremost, a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. When I look at Jesus and his life, he seemed to buck the system much more than he played a role in it, which honestly does not look very Republican to me. But he also believed that people were ultimately responsible as individuals to repent to God for their sin and not rely on Judaism or the Roman government to be their salvation, and that doesn’t sound like a Democrat. Jesus never relied on the system as the method of salvation. While never completely throwing Judaism out with the bathwater, he had strong words for those in the system calling the Pharisees and the Sadducees a “brood of vipers” in Matthew 3:7.
I honestly do not buy into the propaganda that many in the evangelical base promoted in the 80’s and 90’s that this is a Christian nation. If we ever were a Christian nation, which I have serious doubts about considering the evidence that most of our founding fathers were deists, we certainly are not a Christian nation now. Buying into that line of thinking almost makes it sound like the “manifest destiny” of the 19th century (which translates into American Imperialism in the 20th and 21st centuries) makes us some sort of nation chosen by God. The notion that America is blessed because it has honored God by promoting democracy is really nonsense. Since when did God ever put his blessing on any governmental system except the theocracy of Old Testament Israel? Perhaps our country is blessed because since it is a democratic society, we have more Christians. But even that suggests that other countries with Christians are somehow less worthy than Americans are. The bottom line is that the gospel of Americanism is different than the gospel of Jesus Christ. To accept that an American Utopia will be our savior denies that all-sufficiency of Christ as our Savior. In other words, a perfect United States will never make us more righteous. Righteousness comes from only one person, Jesus Christ.
So should I vote? As of right now, my conviction is that I should vote, but only because Christians are commanded to seek justice and the way that our voice is heard in America is through the ballot box. But I should never substitute my civic duty for my moral duty to obey my God and my Savior. That is idolatry and it feeds into the lie that my salvation belongs to someone other than Christ.