Right now, I sit in my church office looking out the window watching the people walking in and out of our church building as they vote in the 2016 Primary. Besides selecting candidates for president of the United States, voters are casting their ballots for Congressional and Senate primaries – both in the state and for the US government.
I voted earlier this morning. It’s not always easy to select the person who I would like to lead our country – especially since those running have incredible talents and flaws to go alongside of them (because they are human, of course).
I’ll be honest… I’ve been very troubled by this year’s primary season. So much of what is being said by one or two specific candidates is far from Christ’s love for one another. In fact, there’s a hate-filled rhetoric being tossed about in our country right now. And it breaks my heart.
Being a progressive Christian, I try to have some guidelines on what I try to go by when selecting and supporting candidates. It’s very simple:
Actually, the message itself is simple. The act is extremely complex. Some of us see love in so many different ways. I like to look at the following scriptures when reflecting upon this love. As Jesus says in John 13:43 “Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.” To me this is a love that is expansive, inclusive and breaks down any type of walls in our world.
Luke 12:31 states part of the great commandment: that you shall “love your neighbor as yourself.” This means that each and every one of us should have the type of love for the people in our country as we do for ourselves, and we should want to make sure that each person has what they need just as we should have what we need.
Which makes me reflect upon the following:
- Are the candidate’s primary views embracing the “love your neighbor as yourself” ethic? Do they want to see others prosper as well as they are prospering?
- Do they hold back their love by limiting others’ rights?
- How does this candidate view love? Is it inclusive or exclusive?
- Is the way the candidate portrays himself or herself in a loving manner, or does it incite hate from the crowds that follow the candidate?
- How is this candidate promoting love of neighbor and self in our world? Are they wall-builders or bridge-builders?
Absolutely no candidate is perfect or loving 100 percent of the time. They will make silly errors, look at something through a lens of privilege and forget that others have lived through more difficult contexts based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc. But for the most part, are they trying to make our world more loving, and do they seem like they are passing along the love of Christ to everyone they meet? Those are the type of questions we must ask as we walk into our polling places.
No matter where you are on the political spectrum, please vote in each and every one of your elections. And remember the love of Christ as you enter the voting booth.