It’s really only been this week that I figured out what, at base, so disturbs me about this election. There’s plenty to choose from, sure. But beyond the actions of the candidates themselves, beyond the insane and horrible rhetoric, beyond the general polarization and scandal and dishonesty, there’s one thing above everything else that burdens my heart. This election, more than any other I can remember, we are desperate to save ourselves at any cost.
The Evangelical voting bloc has been a powerful one for a long time. It’s vocal and it’s effective. Conservatives have used lots of different methods to appeal to us, to assure us that they are the best candidates for us. This election, the Evangelical bloc has been courted through fear: fear that our way of life will disappear if we vote for the wrong candidate.
It is a new version, a stronger version of the us versus them mentality. No more are we just on separate sides: now we are told to weigh our own interests in Supreme Court justices and freedom of conscience laws against the dignity, safety, and rights of others — and to find our own interests overwhelming.
Where in the Bible, I wonder, does Jesus tell us to protect ourselves at all costs? Where does He tell us to barricade ourselves inside the church walls no matter what evil is occurring outside them? Where does He command that we avoid those who hate us and give only to those who already love us? Where does He declare the protection of the church to be above the rights of the poor and slaves and refugees?
The safety and comfort of the church should not guide our thinking — the giving, sacrificial, other-centric nature of the Kingdom of God should. We are told to be afraid, to believe that we must stand up for ourselves first and foremost because no one else will.
Thank God Jesus didn’t take that advice.