This thread started as a friendly Facebook conversation between myself and some fellow Christians: Matt Lyons (a good friend I’ve known since elementary school) and Justin Aichele (an acquaintance from my undergraduate years at Missouri State). The original impetus for the dialog was an article published at LiveScience.com titled Low IQ and Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice. That article can be read here, or if that link fails, it can be found unedited as a Google doc here.
I’d like to point out that the article’s intention was to point to trends and describe what it found. It makes no attempts to prescribe what will or must be, and it freely admits that what may be true for groups does not always hold true for individuals. Case in point, the article states that, “There are multiple examples of very bright conservatives and not-so-bright liberals, and many examples of very principled conservatives and very intolerant liberals.” I affirm that no group, political, religious or otherwise has the corner on the market in stupid, hostile and arrogant people any more than another has all the brilliant, peaceful and humble individuals.
All that being said, the article in question offered nice kindling for a spirited political discussion regarding which United States political platform (Democratic or Republican) does a better job of reflecting values consistent with Christ and the broader teachings of the biblical text in general. I contend that Jesus would campaign for neither the political Left nor the Right, but rather that he would have acerbic criticisms for both political parties as well as the pundits and peons who take up the respective banners (myself included). I am convinced that Jesus would call his followers to far more radical lifestyles and political statements than what either party is used to at present.
Nevertheless, if we feel led to vote our most cherished beliefs and values, it is inevitable that such things will spill over into which current political party we gravitate toward. As it stands, I remain convinced that while the political Left has a legion of problems, contradictions and embarrassments in general, it seems to have less of these than its Conservative political rivals on the so-called “Right” side of the continuum when it comes to following Christ. This is the basis for the following discussion, and I hope readers (and participants) find it helpful and challenging in mutually beneficial ways.
This particular thread has been bent towards the issue of capital punishment, and it offers a splendid case-study in how people can bend their theology to fit their political allegiances.To summarize my own position on the issue, when Jesus asks that his followers love God and their neighbors as themselves, I understand that my “neighbors” are everyone and that killing them is not likely to be what Jesus had in mind when it came to “loving” others. As such, I am confident concluding that capital punishment is completely inappropriate for people who value Christ more than their personal feelings and political dogma. As odd as it might seem, some Christians don’t see it this way. Read on.
And if you want some insight into why I vote Democratically, you might find my writing helpful here: Yes We Can (be Christians and Vote Democratically)!
As always, thank you for reading and participating!