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.