This U.S. presidential election has been cruelly contentious, even among Christians. A brawl. And that’s what grieves me the most. It’s as if a presidential election gives us the right to opt out of love. Some Christians claim that one cannot be a Christian and vote for a Democrat because of their stance on abortion, gay rights and big government. Others have said that good Christians don’t vote for Republicans because Republicans don’t care for the poor, are racists and homophobic. Of course, neither of these sweeping generalizations capture the complexities involved in a person’s vote or the truth.
How easily does the love of Christ we profess for one another grow cold. All it takes is a political disagreement. No matter how passionate we are about our political beliefs, we do not have the right to defame another person with whom we disagree. How do I know? Jesus commanded us to love our enemies.
We may expect this sort of behavior from unbelievers. But from believers? It has now come to be expected from us, too. That is why minority students and others who voted for Barack Obama, or are thought to have voted for Barack Obama, have reported to staff members here at the Christian campus where I work that they are scared to leave their rooms this morning. It’s a deeply red campus where blue dissenters face palpable ire. This is the case on most other Christian college campuses; more Protestant evangelicals tend to vote for the Republican candidate.
Minorities (of course not all vote for the Democratic ticket) and others who dared to vote for Obama are shredded by knived-tongues. They are shamed into silence. So they often keep their political bent to themselves for fear of retribution. Some even fear job loss. Believe it or not, jobs have been threatened. They can’t talk politics in a Jesus environment.
Some of my friends, Gina (a Republican) and Halee (an Independent) say it’s the same for them in other environments. They fear reprisal for the political beliefs they hold.
This should not be.
Cannot Jesus’s love transcend politics? We say ‘yes,’ but in my communal experience, it hasn’t been the case.
That’s why minority students fear stepping out of their dorm rooms today.
8 thoughts on “Why Minority Students Are Scared to Leave Their Rooms”
Dare I say that intolerance makes satan happy as a grig? He can use us to work against each other and sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor (for him). Shame on us.
I agree Anita. We’re to be known for our love but we bite and devour one another. We’re to be models of grace not of vicious strife.
Marlena, I have to disagree with your assessment of the culture here. There is not, in my experience, “palpable ire” for being a D here. I’ve had an Obama sticker on my dorm door for over a month and I’ve participated in politically charged conversations which, though resulting in perhaps fierce disagreements, have not invoked anger or malice. Any fear of walking out of the dorm room today is likely just paranoia.
That said, you’re absolutely right that we need to be careful to foster a culture within Christianity that can truly approach any disagreement with genuine love, and we certainly have failed to establish that in many instances.
As I mentioned, I welcome your perspective and am very glad you have not been the recipient of anger or malice. However, that is not the case with everyone. My wish is that all would be treated as you have. I do think your testimony shows their is progress and for that, I am thankful.
Thanks for this, Marlena. It’s tragic that Christians would make their brothers and sisters in Christ feel afraid because of a vote. (Or for any reason.) I pray we all remember that the love of God transcends any political disagreement.
What even sadder is the intolerance of voting one’s conscience among Black Christians. Speaking from personal experience, there was ENORMOUS pressure in the Black church for believers to support Obama’s re-election despite his anti-Christian policies. Racial pride was a frequent weapon to apply this pressure. Black Christians who offered even biblical objections for not voting for Obama were too often condemned or worse. Now, you know why Black support for Obama nearly equalled the levels of the 2008 election.
How have we come to the point where unlike the White brethren Black Christians can’t vote according to biblical values?
Is the problem fear, or the object of the fear?
I work with someone who disagrees with me about politics and religion and most ways of looking at life. We get along. Do these students really have anything to be afraid of, or are they just afraid? This may be a deeper problem than political disagreement.
I agree with you; I think it has to do with something deeper. However, I also think politics is part of it. One of my friends always reminds me that just because we don’t see any problems or just because we get along with others who are different than us, it doesn’t mean we should dismiss the testimony of others who voice a different perspective. I appreciate you weighing in!