President Obama won the election yesterday, and it turns out that he did so pretty handily. In both the popular vote and in the electoral vote, he is the clear winner. He is the president—duly elected now two times—and we owe honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7). But that is not the end of the story. We also owe him our loyal opposition.
There’s no getting around the fact that last night was a disaster for social conservative causes. The scope of this setback is due in no small part to the way in which President Obama campaigned and won reelection. In the course of the campaign, the president doubled-down on the three issues that many Evangelical Christians care about most: abortion, marriage, and religious liberty. He appealed time and again to his base by beating the drum for abortion rights and Planned Parenthood—especially at his convention. Last May, he put marriage front and center by coming out publicly in favor of gay marriage. Earlier this year, President Obama put religious liberty on the line when he issued an abortion mandate as a part of his signature healthcare law—a measure that requires Christians and other pro-lifers to purchase insurance policies that cover abortion. On all three issues, the President doubled-down, and he won.
Last night’s election is a disaster for social conservatives not so much because of the president’s views, but because the President’s views appear to be a reflection of the nation’s views. For this reason, there are many within the Republican party who are ready to kick social issues to the curb. After the result became clear last night, GOP strategist Mike Murphy told NBC News that Republicans would have to “modernize” on the issue of gay marriage in order to win future elections. He is not alone in this feeling. The traditional Republican coalition of social, fiscal, and foreign policy conservatives may be about to shift. We may very well be approaching an era in which no major political party supports the sanctity of marriage. And it may not be too long before the GOP jettisons life too.
All of this means that Evangelicals who care about life, marriage, and religious liberty are going to sound more and more like the voice of one crying in the wilderness. We may find ourselves maintaining our cause with no major political party representing that cause. The pressure will grow for us to abandon what the Bible says about protecting life and marriage, but we cannot and must not budge. We will have to be the loyal opposition to a president who in every way has been wrong on these issues. And we may have to be the loyal opposition to another political party poised to embrace gay marriage rights.
I don’t know how all the politics of this is going to shake out in the days to come. But I do know that Christians must not trim their sails to fit the prevailing winds of culture. If the whole country embraces gay marriage, we must stand alone if need be and say, “Let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). If the culture of death sweeps over the entire American electorate, we must stand apart and insist “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Our convictions are not based on whether or not we have popular political support. They are based on the unchanging word of God. So we must stand fast. We must be the loyal opposition.
No Christian should be surprised by our changing political fortunes. Even though we may be American citizens, we know that we are nevertheless strangers and aliens (1 Peter 2:11). We know that here we have no lasting city, but that we are seeking a city which is to come (Hebrews 13:14). Until that city comes, we will seek the good of the city that we are in (Jeremiah 29:7), knowing that our ultimate hope for its transformation is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And to that hope we give our lives no matter what happens on election day.
So, do we expect the unsaved to act saved? Don’t we first reach them for Jesus and secondly let the holy spirit work in them to change them. I will vote my conscience and do what I can. People only change through personal relationships. I’d rather talk to people about Jesus and his mercy and love, and what he’s done for me. Change a few hearts, which does change votes. Then lives and communities can be changed. This should be the call. Not telling people what sinners they are. Condemnation doesn’t change hearts or votes, no matter how hard we dig our heels in.
The gospel is not how to get the unsaved to “act saved”. The gospel tells people that we all are sinners *in need of a Savior*. You want to talk to people about Jesus and his mercy and love. But mercy for what? And how is his love demonstrated? Was it not “that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)? How can you talk about mercy and love without affirming the reality of our sin? What Jesus are we sharing if not one who died *for our sins* according to the Scriptures? You cannot “reach them for Jesus” by avoiding any reference to why Jesus even came.
We can and should affirm the reality of people’s sins; we don’t need and shouldn’t rely on the State.
J. Gary Ellison
We don’t expect the unsaved to act saved, but we do understand the purpose of law: “the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (1Ti 1:9-10 ESV). Unfortunately, the “mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2Th 2:7).
Well, Romney’s defeat isn’t all bad news for social conservatives. Politically active evangelicals still have Ralph Reed, Glen Beck, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Tony Perkins, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Franklin Graham, and Fox News to champion their political views in the media!
I must concede defeat to you. You were spot on, and I was way off. I did not see this kind of turnout for the Democrats coming. I thought 2010 had started a wave of opposition, but apparently it was one that couldn’t hold.
When Republicans cave on social issues, are you saying that it will be time for us to withdraw from them completely? Do you think there is no more room at that point for a “lesser of two evils” approach?
I am not surprised that 50% of Americans (at least voting Americans) support a platform directly opposed to the Word of God, but I am deeply saddened. The Judeo-Christian country of my youth does not exist any longer. What should concern us the most is the condition of the Church in America.
Denny, correct me if I’m wrong, but the blessing or the curse (God’s hand removed) of a nation is determined by the righteousness of God’s own people within that land. Not the righteousness or acts of those outside of the Church (not church, little c). If His people will humble themselves, pray, and turn from their wicked ways, then do we not have God’s promise to heal our land? Healing not only in financial blessings and peace, but in drawing more of the country to Himself and raising up leaders who serve God. What we are seeing, I think, is God giving us over to the desires of our hearts. Before anyone gets too angry, of course I don’t mean ALL of the Church, but I will include myself in the body of believers that needs to turn my whole heart back to God.
I have some honest questions about the issue of marriage and politics. Just because one party has historically supported marriage between one man and one woman does not mean that they have necessarily supported biblical marriage. A biblical marriage is much more than a heterosexual one. No party is in favor of using the bible as the standard for divorce and remarriage. Infidelity is not punished (in fact, it is quite common in leaders from both parties). Co-habitation is not illegal. And do we really want these things to be legislated?
So my question is what makes gay marriage so different? Why do we see it as a bigger threat than what I mentioned above? Yes, I’ve heard the changing the definition argument, but how do we reconcile fighting for legislation in the name of the sanctity of marriage if we are only doing so in one area? Isn’t it best to focus on strengthening biblical marriage within the church and not expect the rest of the world to model something they don’t believe in?
I promise I am not trying to be argumentative. I am a believer but often feel perplexed over this issue and rarely hear a perspective that isn’t emotionally charged.
Good points! I’ve been to weddings where the couples have insisted that God not be invoked in the ceremony at all – not exactly a biblical marriage. Taking marriage out of the State’s hands forces us to take responsibility – I think it’ll be good for us.
Thank you, Andrew. While I don’t pretend to know where the line is, I do wholeheartedly support the overall separation of church and state. Mostly for the sake of the church 🙂
Julie, see my post below. Hopefully it addresses some of your questions.
The short answer is that our society has been based–by default–on the concept that humanity is created in the image of God as per Genesis 1:27 and following verses. A central aspect (though obviously not the whole) of that spiritual reality is that as a society we practice heterosexual, monogomous marriage and share in the divine task of bringing about new life (procreation in answer to God’s creation). Thus God’s IMAGE in us is linked to God’s TASK given to us in bringing children into the world and raising them in this selfsame truth.
Homosexual “marriage” is not the only way to reject this image and model; you have rightly named others. But as Paul lays out in Romans 1, it is the pinnacle of depravity /in that model’s rejection/. There may be a gay individual who is a gentle, harmless personality, and next to him may be a violent man who abuses his wife and is unfaithful to her (perhaps even a “church-going” man). Our emotional tendency is to say that man, because of his personality and how much we dislike him, is more of a distortion of God’s image than the docile gay man. But in terms of IMAGE, homosexuality is one step farther removed from Genesis 1:27 etc. than the other model, as horrible as it is.
Of course, a society that ceases to believe Scripture soon ceases to believe all of Scripture, and basics come into question. Hence, murder of the unborn. So the idea of imago Dei in humanity is lost, and trying to argue this from that basis is next to impossible. But among Christians,w e should at least know: It’s about the image of God in us. That’s why I, for one, make the stand I make. In the end it is a martyr’s stand, as we shall soon all see in one way or another.
Hopefully I haven’t come across as argumentative, because that isn’t my point. I have heard your question from well-meaning Christians many times. In the end, I agree with your solution: Live right and model the truth. Perhaps we may save a few before the Lord calls the whole thing.
Thank you so much for taking the time to address my comment and questions. I definitely agree 100% that God created marriage to reflect His image, and yes, we as Christians should recognize this and not fail to speak the truth publicly.
I am not sure I agree that it is a worse perversion of the image of God than domestic violence or adultery. All of those things involve disregard for the image of God in us–He isn’t glorified by any of them. I read Romans 1 to say that idolatry is the core issue and homosexuality is one example, along with many other sins, of what happens when replace a desire for God with a desire to serve ourselves. I don’t see how it elevates homosexuality above the other sins. Help me understand this if I’m wrong.
But even if you are right, we live in a country where many people do not share our views on this. They do not acknowledge the God of the Bible or His teachings, but they are still American citizens. Their votes and opinions still count. If we are a country of democracy and religious freedom then we have to consider this. I am not suggesting we just go along with the majority in our words, practices and hearts…only that we carefully consider whether or not our desires to see certain beliefs legislated infringe upon the freedoms of others. Most of our laws are about protecting the rights and well-being of other people and I do think we should fight for legislation that supports these principles. Abortion is a good example of this. It is the gross and horrific violation of rights for a group of people who have no ability to defend themselves. And while I do think that gay marriage is not the right direction for our country, I do not see how it is directly violating another person’s rights and well-being in the same way as murder, theft, rape, violence, etc. I think it’s impact on society will be harmful, but alas, I feel the same about divorce and infidelity. Again, please help me see the holes in my reasoning. By no means do I feel like I’ve come to a peaceful conclusion on all this.
Thank you again.
Sure, Julie. I can address a couple of things. Again, I appreciate your civil tone, and I want to continue in that.
Your thinking on homosexuality in society is pretty much right across the plate in terms of where many people (even evangelicals) are going. I will speak to your concerns in order.
First, the issue of Romans 1. Many homosexual activists who have addressed this passage have used the argument you repeat here, viz. that the /real/ issue is idolatry, while homosexuality of the kind Paul describes is either (A) something of a distasteful by-product (but still not the core issue), or (B) not even the issue at all, i.e., homosexuality is bad in connection with idolatry as would be chocolate malts or any other normally benign human activity.
The problem with this is the structure and unfolding of the text. Homosexuality, for Paul, follows idolatry like Spring follows Winter–one DOES NOT exist without the other. Why? Because they are phenomenologically linked via the common denominator of distorting God’s image. Idolatry distorts God’s image in our hearts, which leads to the distortion of God’s image in our beings and thence necessarily our behavior. Now, we may not have idols in the way the ancient pagans did, but we certainly do have idols today, and they do the exact thing, namely, they turn us from worshipping the one true God and turn us back upon ourselves in self-adoration. This rejection of the Divine Other makes us nearsighted and captive to fawning after our own, selfsame image, which, of course, is the essence (quite literally, and even etymologically) of homosexuality.Read Romans 1 top to bottom carefully in light of what I have just written.
Regarding homosexuality “not hurting anyone” (as you rightly point out abortion does), this idea is also common and causes great confusion among Christians who want to do right and speak truth, but struggle because our society is so individualistic and cannot fathom the idea of “intruding” into someone else’s “private life.” But the problem with this view (again, from the angle of spiritual and prophetic preaching–not politics) is that it is based on the a-theistic presupposition that everyone fundamentally belongs to themselves. By this standard, murder is sin (and you classify abortion as such–thank you for doing that, by the way), but sexual relations between consenting adults is not. Why? Murder is theft, trespassing by this standard, but sex is not. Yet the Christian world view states clearly that we do NOT belong to ourselves–we belong to God. For this reason David, after murdering Uriah and lustfully stealing his wife Bathsheba, finally repents and says, “Against you, and you ONLY have I sinned, oh God.” (Psalm 51, emphasis mine). David saw that Uriah and Bathsheba were God’s property as the Lord of all flesh, and David’s sin was fundamentally against God.
From this angle, homosexuality is sin, not because it is “harming someone else,” but because it is destroying God’s property and distorting God’s image–an image we are stewards of, not owners of. We are not our own. Just because our society doesn’t buy this doesn’t mean we are exempt as Christians from holding this line and speaking it in love to liberate those who might be saved. We go not by elections, but by how God will judge us all.
Yet I would add quickly that homosexuality DOES do harm to others. The problem is, it is a slow and stealthy killer. Abortion is immediate and violent. Homosexuality has the effect of denigrating traditional marriage and exalting a model that leads to less children in society instead of more. The U.S. is posting record low birthrates, as are European countries that have embraced this lifestyle. Simply put, homosexuality ENDS the society that accepts it. It takes time, but it happens. When demographic winter sets in because we have contraconceived, aborted, sterilized, and, yes, lived immorally in ways that by definition exalt sexual gratification and “romance” apart from a healthy sexuality that leads to child birth and rearing, the population ages, become “top heavy,” economic chaos ensues, society begins to come unglued as too few young people have to support too many older people, and the dying culture becomes desperate. Homosexuality does indeed hurt. Think macro and over the course of a generation or two, not micro and within the course of a few years.
In another post I recommended http://www.amazon.com/How-Civilizations-Die-Islam-Dying/dp/159698273X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352418865&sr=8-1&keywords=david+goldman+how+civilizations+die. You ought to check it out. It is our future.
Again, I appreciate the time you’ve taken to address my questions and thoughts. It seems like you’ve heard many of them before so thank you for being respectful towards ideas/arguments that might appear as ‘old hat.’
While reading through your response I found myself in almost complete agreement. I do think there is no question that homosexuality and idolatry are related, but I guess I see the tendency to elevate this particular sin as being a worse distortion of God’s image than others–to the point where it requires opposition through legislation. This is the area where I struggle, the platform that to oppose gay marriage is to defend the sanctity of marriage as if homosexuals are more to blame for the deterioration of marriage than all the other sins we’ve already talked about.
I would argue that the sanctity of marriage has always been under attack in a way that is detrimental to society. In fact, I can think of a couple of founding fathers involved in adulterous relationships. However, I realize that changing the definition of marriage in the way that gay marriage does introduces some unique challenges and that is why this issue is still hard for me to reason through. But, overall, I still feel to pursue legislation against gay marriage in the name of defending the sanctity of marriage is targeting one group of people as being more responsible and more detrimental than all the other things already mentioned. And this is not lost on gay people. They are aware of Christian divorce rates and they see hypocrisy in this.
And I want to say that I do agree that homosexuality does cause harm, only that it is a different kind of harm than what most of our laws are based on. Yes they cannot have children but we do not have laws demanding that heterosexual couples have children or a certain number of children and many are choosing smaller families or no kids. Again, I think it’s a little unfair to target homosexuals as a primary reason for low birth rates. They are a minority and many members of the gay rights movement are in fact heterosexual. I don’t think legalizing gay marriage will result in more practicing homosexuals and fewer children as a result. Maybe I’m naive in that? Also, homosexuality has existed in many cultures throughout time (and quite prevalent in some) and has never been the cause of ending a culture…but I do see your point from a natural position.
Ultimately, I think we are in complete agreement about homosexuality from a spiritual perspective but perhaps disagree with how it should be addressed in our country? I will admit that some of my feelings about this come from personal experiences. I work as a registered nurse in a hospital and have been involved in some case management situations with same sex couples where insurance problems were causing financial hardships. We should remember that marriage in America is also a secular function that allows units to have certain tax and insurance benefits. Our quest to keep it illegal for gay people is in a sense denying them these benefits. And no, I do not think we should compromise on our position that gay marriage is wrong, but we should be willing to consider what marriage really means in our secular culture and whether or not it is fair to deny these benefits to one group based on our religious views when we are ignoring other violations of biblical marriage. I think a more powerful (and maybe even more effective) position is to publicly declare that we do not believe gay marriage is in accordance with the bible and God’s design. We believe that it is sin and as bible-believing churches we will not marry homosexuals or condone it. However, we recognize that we live in a democracy and a country of religious freedom. We want to respect the principles of democracy in this area and we do not want to stand in the way of our fellow citizens receiving benefits even though we disagree with changing the definition of marriage.
This is getting long. Final question. You mentioned teaching at a Christian school in the Pacific Northwest? I used to work at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and was wondering which school you work for?
To clarify, my perspective is entirely /theological/–not political. In the political realm is someone says “such-and-such is the best/worst of its kind,” the nature of the political beast (which is all about compromise) interprets that to mean the other options are somehow lesser in intensity and therefore off the table/legit possibilities, as the case may be. That is not where I stand. My point about homosexuality being the ultimate expression of humanity’s distortion of God’s image when it comes to human-on-human sexual behavior is precisely about that: Image. Paul is making a point in that the /pattern/ set forth in Genesis 1:27-28 is being violated. He thinks like a Hebrew. We think like Greeks, so we say, “Well, what about orgies? Or bestiality? Or a man who regularly beats his children, rapes his own wife, etc., etc.” (I hate talking this way with a lady like you don’t know, by the way, but these things are mentioned in Scripture and are the reality of the world we live in.) Those are legitimate questions for the crafting and enforcement of laws, but not for proper exegesis of this text or grapsing it theological point. Paul is saying something and we need to grasp it on his terms and not our own.
Beyond this, I would say in response that, yes, homosexuality /has/ existed throughout history–we are a fallen race. But the difference now is that it is being institutionalized and actually promoted by the government. You say gays are minorities. While this is true /demographically/. the /phenomenon/ is expanding, meaning, its acceptance and casual practice (and note, Paul’s talks about the “approval” of these things as equally damnable–a straight person who winks and smiles at this is also falling into it). Another statistic is that where homosexuality is practiced, there is it practiced increasingly (I think you know what I mean by this). For this reason I connect plummeting birthrates with homosexuality, not because Winter follows Autumn but because Autumn precedes Winter, if you follow. A society that turns from God, the Author of Life, embraces death. Homosexuality is /always/ an expression of that. That you argue that other things as well accompany such a societal shift is sadly true beyond the need to argue. I would simply argue (as was my point before) that when government itself pushes the matter and gives it a high profile, not only not discouraging it as fundamentally detrimental for society from a purely demographic point of view (forget morality) but actually implying it is a good and noble form of human love, then we have gone way beyond the fact that “there has been homosexuality throughout history.” Indeed, we are in freefall at that point, and marriage and family as we have known them become mere options and not the building blocks of the society. There is a big difference between a hidden homosexual tryst, stolen here or there but not spoken of, and the president of the United States approving the matter in his role as First Citizen.
Which leads me to the final point: Legislation. We have the tail wagging the dog here. Those who have argued against gay marriage should not be vilified or even criticized for fighting that fight. While in the end it has been futile, there are real reasons, both from a Christian and secular viewpoint as to why that fight was necessary. To say that people who have opposed gay marriage were somehow wrong to do what they did is like saying that it is wrong to insist in the existence of gravity. Our laws have never even /considered/ the idea of “homosexual marriage” because in previous ages the very concept was unfathomable. Goodness, even ancient Greek pedophiles didn’t go that far, at least not societally! Tersely worded laws addressed the abomination of homosexual deeds, like a nurse wearing latex gloves to quickly dispose of bio-waste. These people were simply holding the line that had been in place for centuries–millenia even. Now they are bigots? There are very, very good reasons why those legal/moral codes were in place, as we and our children shall soon see all too grimly. No, it is the promoters of this culture of death who are the outliers, the renegades, the odd balls. That is important to see. Truth matters.
In the end, once the leader of the country states he is in favor of homosexual marriage and the legislature accepts such people, the point is politically moot. Paul said what he said in an age when homosexuality was a given. But he said it anyway. Why? Witness. We don’t belong to ourselves, and we are God’s witness in the earth. The political process is impotent on these matters. The Holy Spirit is not, and He can save (1 Corinthians 6:9). In other words, I have given up on the country, on the society as a whole, not out of despair, but because God has clearly given it over as Romans 1 describes. We are in apocalyptic mode.
I teach at Northwest University in Kirkland, and send students abroad through CCCU as coordinator of intercultural studies.
Not sure if you’re still checking this thread but I do want to thank you again for engaging my questions about these things. You’ve given me much to think about as I work through this issue. I have no disagreements when it comes to holding our position that homosexuality is sin. In fact, what I find to be most concerning is the number of Christians who are moving to the other side and saying it isn’t sin.
But the conversation as to how to address the issue in a secular society is never-ending. I don’t want to keep reasoning in circles and saying the same things over and over again. While I am still working through these things, I do not believe that homosexuality is a worse sin than others or that gay marriage is any less glorifying to God than an adulterous marriage or a violent one. The societal impact of institutionalized gay marriage is of concern to me and that is why I am still unsure of my position. However, I still believe that it does not directly violate the rights or well-being of others in the same way abortion, murder, theft and slander do (as I already stated and it seems you disagree with that which is fine).
But I do want to carefully consider what it means to live in a religiously free society, not a Christian one. I do not want to deny secular rights to homosexual citizens, and the truth is that marriage is not just a religious institution in America, it is a secular one.
And finally, I do not believe that the language we use in this battle, such as ‘defending the sanctity of marriage’ is helpful at all. We are defending heterosexual marriage and even if we ‘win’ and gay marriage isn’t legalized nationwide…well, guess what? We are still a nation full of marriages that do not please God and harm society. I think it would help ease the divisiveness tremendously if we focused more on strengthening biblical marriages within the church. But that is just my opinion.
Thanks again and best of luck with your teaching.
Julie, you have correctly framed your question by linking marriage and politics, and that explains why so many men of God have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to show that gay marriage is worse than, for instance, heterosexual adultery or non-biblically-permitted divorce. The whole controversy is mostly about using the issue of homosexual marriage (something not permitted in the church) for gaining power in the secular political arena. Let’s face it. It is much more effective politically to rail against homosexual marriage (something that affects a minority) than to rail against adultery or non-biblically-permitted divorce (something that involves a huge majority in comparison). Not to mention the inconsistency with which the standards of applying religion through the state are applied. For instance, evangelicals in Israel are considering a lawsuit against the state of Israel because it will not recognize non-Orthodox Jewish weddings, and are being applauded by evangelicals here since evangelicals there have to leave Israel to get married legally. Yet, evangelicals are backing elected officials in this country whose campaign promises include having the state control marriage on the basis of the Bible, the very thing that is being opposed by evangelicals in Israel. Most of the confusion comes from Christians trying to accomplish spiritual goals through secular political means. Jesus never tried that approach, and the church would do well to follow his example.
Thank you, Dan. We have the awesome opportunity to participate in our government, which is a privilege that most Christians (or people for that matter) in human history have been denied. But with that comes many challenges and disagreements about the level and nature of our involvement. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus did not try to accomplish His purpose politically, nor did He need to. I am thankful for blogs like Denny’s (which I recently found) that speak on these issues with grace and give us good stuff to think about. However, I think you are right that we can be somewhat inconsistent in how we want the state to be influenced by religion. For example, we don’t want the government to have too much influence in how our kids are educated, but we do want our beliefs to be considered in the legal definition of marriage (by ‘we’ I am just trying to represent what I’ve heard a lot of believers say, not trying to make generalizations). It’s hard.
Julie, in America, where the state has authorized religious entities to preside over and certify marriage, it is sometimes hard for both those getting married and those witnessing the marriage to separate the various authorities (civil and religious) that are involved in the single ceremony. The act of marriage, even when performed in a religious setting, is in part a civil union (i.e., it merges the legal status of individuals as they are related to various aspects of civil society, concerning such things as taxes, inheritance, parental rights, hospital visitation rights, next-of-kin medical decision rights, and so on). In essence, this aspect of marriage is a civil contract that is enforced under the authority of the state. No spiritual dimension or commitment is required by the state for this “civil union” to be activated. On the other hand, a religious marriage is a spiritual union, and it is completely separate from the jurisdiction and authority of the state. The individuals being married take an oath before God to be united as one in body and spirit until death do them part (except for divorce as permitted in Scripture). It is unfortunate that the civil/legal aspects of marriage are not made separate during most marriage ceremonies, even those performed in religious settings, with the term “civil union” applied to the secular aspects and the word “marriage” reserved for the spiritual aspect of the union. Most Christians in America that I know could care less if the state wants to provide civil unions, which are essentially contracts between two individuals, as the majority sees fit to legislate. However, they object to such civil unions being called “marriage,” preferring that the term “marriage” be reserved for spiritual (and by implication, sexual) unions, and specifically reserved for those spiritual unions recognized by religious entities, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and so on, which in general would not permit same-sex marriages. In ancient times, especially in ancient Israel, the civil and religious authorities were the same, but that is not the case in America, even though the two authorities are often still coinsidered as one and the same by many Christians.
I couldn’t agree more Roger. It is clear that God has turned this country over to its own devices and removed His hand from blessing us. Why would we expect change when we have turned our hearts from God and His commands as a nation? I also fear this presidents views on Israel and what the Bible says about nations that do not support it.
Concerning Maryland’s Question 6 – the government probably shouldn’t have authority to decide who can and cannot marry, so maybe this is a good opportunity for the Church to really flesh out how she’s going to handle the issues of gender/sexual confusion, instead of relying on secular leaders.
I honestly do look forward to the day when heterosexuality is, once again, the clear norm among the people (without the need for legislation), but we’re just not there yet. I think it’s our responsibility to deal with this ourselves, as followers of Christ. Social acceptance of homosexuality is something (just one thing) that happens when people worship things other than their creator (Romans 1:18-32). How can they worship their creator when they don’t know what he’s like? How will they know what their creator is like unless his image is clearly reflected?
The confusion is obvious (as is the obscured image of the creator). We have work to do. It’s our calling. All we can hope from the State is to let us be the Church. Maybe we should start by addressing our heterosexual marriages and the absurd divorce rate.
I strongly oppose homosexuality, in addition to divorce, objectification of women (or men), gossip, slander, anger, malice, envy (all of which the State allows). I voted in favor of Question 6.
No king but Jesus.
Denny, brother, you nailed it–not only in your prediction but your analysis. This election was a confirmation of 2008’s, not only in the demographic of the electorate but in what they are saying and (just as importantly) refusing to say.
I am reading a book by David Goldman titled /How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam Is Dying Too)/. I recommend it. Goldman’s thesis is basically that the rise and decline of civilizations is directly tied to societies’ group think regarding the meaning of life, which he defines as an understanding of eternity, or the reality of life after death as set forth in the Judeo-Christian worldview. Societies that collectively believe in life after death plan well, reproduce, and generally live sober, sane, disciplined lives. Yet peoples who collectively reject the idea of life after death /as a society/ rapidly descend into childlessness, sexual immorality, and drug and alcohol abuse. In short, they stop embracing a lifestyle that bears another generation because they stop thinking there is anything to live for, and they numb themselves silly in the present to stave off the sense of impending doom. Goldman must be read to be understood–his thesis transcends the Barna-like polling of individuals regarding what they believe about such things; it is truly macro-think.
Goldman points out that great swaths of population across the world, including and even especially major Muslim countries like Turkey and Iran, are experiencing plummeting birthrates in a fashion never before seen. But what strikes me about this election and your analysis is that the one country that Goldman exalts as a possible hope in the midst of this rapidly advancing demographic winter is the United States of America. Sadly, America now fits the pattern of the countries that have embraced death.
This election’s choices are in lockstep with Goldman’s description of a society that has ceased to believe in tomorrow. The pursuit of abortion rights (to say nothing of completely unrestricted contraception) and gay marriage is societal suicide, demographically speaking. The legalization of recreational marijuana (the faux cover of “medical” is not no longer bothered with) points to the collective desire to numb ourselves, just as Goldman describes. And I would add the pell-mell running up of debt today as if there is no tomorrow (which, of course, there isn’t if we reject the notion of children) fits the idea as well.
All partisanship aside, America has signed her own death warrant. And as you note, the shift is complete: The GOP will soon compete with the Democratic Party regarding progressiveness, and the evangelical vote–so touted and vaunted a short time ago, and even held as the “ace in the hole” for this election–will be denigrated and tossed as a has been and a failure (which, politically speaking, it is).
Christians, get ready to be enthroned as your Lord was–upon a cross. Thankfully, that is the position of honor and glory that elads to resurrection.
Wouldn’t it be easier to change on immigration reform than change on the social issues? I’d argue the Republican immigration position is NOT inherently integral to their overall position.
Changing on the social issues will alienate several million from your base. Embracing gay marriage and inevitably abortion will lose both conservative Catholic and Protestant supporters across the nation.
Are there that many moderate Democrats willing to join the Republican ranks but held up primarily because of the social issues?
@J.M., I agreed completely. I’m not sure the word “easy” applies to anything here, but your path forward makes a lot of sense and I believe is what /should/ happen.
(To give a little background: I married the widow of an African American man and adopted his children as my own in our new blended family. Then we all went as missionaries to Latin America for 15 years. So I am white, but have a particular connection to both black and Hispanic communities.)
My feeling, though, is that it will not, or it will not be that alone. The GOP at its core is elitist (so is the Dem, so no diff there). That elitism has always been uneasy with the religious block, and I believe we are past our shelf life. We should watch and see, but I have my sense of it.
Frankly, I think it’s time we call ourselves a holy nation and swear our fealty to Christ alone. he’s the only one who never changes and for whom we never need to make excuses. Any other champion just doesn’t measure up. Politicians are about compromise, prophets are are about truth.
Thanks, David. I have friends who really were complaining about the fact that I had precdicted an Obama victory. I guess they felt it was too negative. I certainly didn’t mean to discourage anyone. I was only calling it like I saw it, and I wasn’t buying into all the hype that all the polls were wrong.
These pollsters don’t get paychecks for skewing their results in favor of Democrats. They get paid to be accurate. When they are inaccurate, they lose all credibility and no one listens to them. In other words, their livelihoods rely on being accurate. And I just couldn’t believe that 20 different pollsters were in a conspiracy–at great personal risk to themselves–to skew the results of their polls. No single poll is worth anything. But trends manifested over a number of polls are usually fairly dispositive. All the trends were going against Romney in the battleground states, and that was born out in the actual votes last night.
In my view, social conservatives can get lost in their own echo-chamber. They listen to talk radio and watch Fox news, and they lose their grip on the wider realities of the culture they live in. For Christians, this is especially dangerous because they console themselves with the illusion that they represent a “silent majority.” That is really not the case. Our culture is increasingly secular. They don’t agree with us about the sanctity of marriage. A silent majority made itself heard last night, but it wasn’t us!
Christians have got to look reality full on in the face. We live in a post-Christian culture. Our political candidates are only reflecting more and more what we ourselves have become. If we are to reach this culture for Christ, we have to come to terms with that. Sometimes our echo chambers conceal from us the very world we should be trying to reach.
Indeed. And the higher reality applies to us all: God, as a matter of judgment upon nations, allows them to fall into the error of cramming themselves into a tighter and tighter echo chamber. In fact, I think the term “echo chamber” is quite nearly perfect for the headlong pursuit of destruction our society has chosen.
The political paradigm of expressing our faith is dead. But Christ is risen! So let us die with Him so we might also rise with Him.
Well put Dr. Burk! Good point and I agree. We may be miles apart on social issues and I dare say theological ones too. I know full well that many on my side of the divide also live in an echo chamber.
I think it is a mistake to try to enforce anyone’s version of morality via laws. Rather, I think the Christian should vote to allow religious liberty.
“I think it is a mistake to try to enforce anyone’s version of morality via laws. ”
This does not compute, since laws are, by their very nature, enforcing one’s version of morality on the whole.
“…laws are, by their very nature, enforcing one’s version of morality on the whole.”
Hmm… that’s kind of true, maybe. But in a democracy/ republic, we’re more or less voting on how much power the government is able wield, and in what ways they’re able to wield it. Plenty of people vote against the government enforcing a morality they agree with, because they simply don’t want the government to have more power that can be corrupted in all sorts of ways that no one ever had in mind.
I’m leaning more towards Don’s thinking. In this system at least, I think it’s definitely better to vote to restrict the government. And that may mean voting for marriage to be defined by churches/ religious institutions instead of the secular government.
I do concede that this is a tough issue, especially given the mindset most of us have been accustomed to for so long.
lets talk marriage, because this libertarian nonsense of not having government recognize marriage is pure pablum.
Marriage is the joining of a man and a woman but it is also a societal contract. It says to society that we are in union and that means we now have certain responsibilities and expectations placed upon us. So a society must recognize that marriage and the best way to do that is through the governing authority. Now this authority could be the local tribe, the community at large, or the State. So marriages are public by their very nature. They have to be.
I understand the thought, and agree, that government should be exceptionally limited. The federal government that is. But libertarians take this to the extreme and claim that government AT ALL LEVELS should be limited. This was not how the founders viewed it at all. The closer the citizenry is to the governing body the more control they should be allowed to have. So if a community does not want to allow certain businesses, or ban certain behaviors, or outlaw certain goods. They should be allowed to do this. The federal government should be limited in this regard, but the states should have no limits, the way it was intended.
Amen and Amen!!
Denny- I agree 100%.
The American Church has no one to blame for the moral decay of our culture but herself. It’s time for Christians to wake up from their slumber and realize that individual hearts, not a political machine, will change our nation. The bible makes it clear that love changes people. Full devotion to Jesus Christ, dying to yourself daily, and following him is a place to start. Not placing your hope in Government, regardless of party. The apathy of the American Church and the negligent paradigm of the past 50 years is now revealing a result in our country. When less the 1% of the upcoming generation holds a biblical worldview, it is a reflection of believers who have stood by and not contended for moral values, not upholding a biblical worldview in everyday life, and passionately abusing grace with a Sunday-morning only attitude. I firmly believe that the results of the past two elections are a direct result of the American Church.
That being said- I also firmly believe that the American Church can have a direct impact on the future of our nation. Scripture makes it clear that when the body pursues Christ and allows the Holy Spirit to move through them, things change and change fast. The Holy Spirit is powerful- He’s God! Until the Bride wakes up to this and realizes that the tactic of digging herself in and focusing on criticizing the negative “liberal media” and the culture is getting us no where but the continuation of societal decline, nothing will change. It is only going to turn-around when we as Christians uphold truth through deeds by the power of the Holy Spirit. Knowledge without love is meaningless. Faith without works is dead. Faith demonstrated in acts of love changes individuals, and individuals have the power in a free society such as this great nation of ours, to turn towards God or away from Him, as we saw last night.
While the results of the election last night saddened me, I was not surprised either. But I will take heart, because He has overcome the world. I pray that we as a Body arise from our slumber, humble ourselves, and follow Him daily.
If you have time- I would recommend watching this video. It isn’t long, but it is very powerful.
While it may be ok for Hannity, Beck, Reed, Graham and Limbaugh to fight for conservative values, I wouldn’t ever want Donald Trump to espouse my values; he simply sticks his foot in his mouth too often. As a fundamental Bible-believing Christian, I would only accept as spokesmen Reed and Graham, and I’m not real sure where Reed stands on the Bible as authority on matters of faith.
Nick Savage, I believe in the likelihood that 33 percent are left and 33 percent are right, and of course, 33 percent are waffling in the middle, lukewarm. Not a good place to be. We must stand for things like life and marriage, even if we are ostracized and persecuted. God forbid we do that or ‘break a nail’ for our faith. If, for any reason, we were forced to pick a side, we would in reality be looking at a country that is split right down the middle on these important issues. So, there really was no landslide in any sense of the term.
I watched a show the other night which had two (African American) pastors and one talk show host. They were discussing a video of a third (African American) pastor who was telling black Christians to abandon the left for their non-biblical ethics in the voting booth and the firm platforms that they espouse against marriage and life. The two pastors would NOT defend the certainty of a biblical stance on marriage and life. They were firm in their defense of the “black experience” but not the principals of faith in Christ. They were Christian pastors! It seems that to take a side that would undermine that ‘experience’ was something they were not prepared to do. Paul says,”There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is not a race issue; it is a matter of true faith. By the way, the talk show host was the only one to take that stand as the interview was closing. He told them that he was a Christian and that Jesus would not agree with them. Kudos to the ‘talk show host’!
You are absolutely correct that we must not waiver. If the trend holds, we will eventually be the minority, (‘true believers’ who will stand or fall in Jesus’ name) with no chance of ‘equal protection under the law’ to afford for us the same luxuries that women, blacks, homosexuals, transgendered, etc. ask for and receive. Marginalized!
I don’t hate any of these people; though I fail, (but, not for not trying) I defer to loving them in spite of my weakness in doing so. How do you love someone who doesn’t want you to love them? Or who claims to have a better view of love than that of Christ, yet hates me for my faith? I remain on my knees and my heart groans for the lost until the day of his return. Peace and Blessings
You said:”We also owe him our loyal opposition.” Really? Not even a few hours after President Obama wins the election handily you have to post this.
I’m sure you and others like you will give him as much opposition as you can muster and I am also sure you and other Southern Baptist seminary professors will help your seminarians have the same mind as you do about this matter.
Simple suggestion to you and other leaders and Pastors in The SBC–preach the Gospel and get out of politics.
But sadly I’m confident my suggestion will fall on deaf ears.
Tom, would you have been as irritated with John the Baptist’s ministry to Herod?
Are you seriously saying that John’s rebuke of Herod’s personal conduct (an adulterous marriage) is a precedent for the Christian Right’s participation in partisan politics in America in recent years (I’m assuming your comment wasn’t a tongue-in-cheek retort made between friends that went over my head)?
I’m saying that John’s rebuke of Herod is a model of the prophetic stance that the church has toward the powers that be. We speak truth to power.
John addressed Herod’s transgression of the Law, which was a spiritual, not a political, matter. I can’t find any example in the Bible in which John or Jesus tried to participate in the secular political arena as a way of bringing about a spiritual result in a government or in an individual. As part of the body of Christ, are we not to be Christ-like in that respect today?
If you are going to be Christlike, then you need to broaden your gaze to include the entire witness of scripture. You will find examples not only of Jesus and John speaking truth to political power, but you’ll also find Paul pressing his rights as a Roman citizen (Acts). You’ll also find Paul laying out how Christians are to relate to secular governments (Rom. 13). In short, you need to account for all of scripture in your formation of a political ethic.
With my own broad gaze of Scripture (which is as broad as your gaze unless you have Scripture in addition to the 66 books of the Bible that I have), I still do not see any instance of John or Jesus “speaking truth to power” by participating in the secular political arena either as an individual or as part of an organized entity, and you haven’t supplied one. Paul exercised his citizenship rights, but that was not an attempt to exercise influence on the political system. As for Romans 13, I can’t see that it talks about anything but submission to civil authority, not justification for using it to bring about spiritual goals. Maybe we are gazing through different lens.
P.S. Under the old covenant theocracy of Israel, Herod’s transgression was both spiritual and political.
I beg to differ. Herod drew his political authority from Rome, not from the Law, although Rome had agreed to recognize parts of the Law as being applicable to governance. Herod used the Law to govern, but his governing authority came from Rome. John was pointing out that Herod’s marriage violated religious Law as a spiritual transgression. John had no interest in the administration of Roman authority pertaining to marriage.
How would this post have been different if Romney had won? How then would you have articulated our need to be a loyal opposition?
It would have been quite different since he promised to support policies in favor of life, marriage, and religious liberty.
Before Obama, we had the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush, who, as you specified, promised to support policies in favor of life, marriage, and religious liberty. There was thus no loyal opposition from the Christian Right deemed necessary, despite the fact that there were only minor accomplishments in each of the Christian Right areas of concern legislatively or by the executive under Bush. Nevertheless, Bush continued to be (and still is) the darling of the Religious Right simply by being a champion of the cause in words, if ineffective in deed. My own experience is that the merging of the Christian Right with the Republican Party has been damaging to the witness of Christianity in general. Right off the bat, it turns off at least half the nation. I question whether a close alliance between Christians in official positions (pastors, professors, seminarians, and so on) and political entities is desirable. It seems to do little more than confuse the biblical message in the public mind. I’m not trying to be contrarian about this topic. Instead, I believe it is important for Christians to find a way to be advocates for biblical principles in the public arena without turning off unbelievers to the Gospel. So far as I see it, the Christian Right has not found out how to do so, and being a loyal opposition to the president for the next four years does not seem to offer better prospects, either.
The likelihood of a coherent and reasonable response from you, Dan, is slim to none. I was sorely tempted to simply ignore. But others may be reading, and Denny is a decent man and a friend and colleague, and being the moderator he may suffer from a sense of restraint of which I am not a victim. So here goes.
Taking your posts on Denny’s blog on a whole, both before and after the election and culminating with your recent posts, I have rarely see a more blatant display of sanctimonious hypocrisy as in the thread of your statements. It is absolutely breathtaking. You have the temerity to come on here and prattle on about the Christian /Right/?
Ironically, I actually agree with you that conservative Evangelical Christians made a big mistake in the 1970s, joining the fray and attempting to becoming a political bloc. I believe it has compromised our witness and our ability to speak prophetically to the culture, precisely because the church is about truth and politics is about compromise. When the church gets in bed with a political wing or party, is sacrifices something—the power of the cross. If God has done anything this election, He has moved to free His church from the chains of being beholden to a political party. God help us all as the persecution begins (as it inevitably will) so the power /really/ rests upon us. I would say that the mistake made nearly 40 years ago is understandable, except the error is all the more egregious because of what had already been observed in the Christian /Left/…
That’s right, Dan. The Christian Left. Or didn’t you hear that term in your echo chamber as you were railing against Denny’s point? This is the problem with all you pseudo-evangelical political liberals—you think you have come into new enlightenment by tut-tutting conservatives. But it’s old hat to me, who grew up Catholic and was familiar with the Catholic Worker and all the other socially liberal, low-Christology drivel that’s been around for over a century. That stuff had long since emptied the cross of its power on the Left, and filled them with a self-righteous disdain that had nothing whatever to do with the biblical demands for true righteous living and the confrontation of sin that defends a culture of life. A big part of the disdain of the Left of the Religious Right is that the Left felt that turf was /their/ birthright. How dare conservative religious folks copy what we’ve been doing for so long!? Yet you act like you just found a new toy, and don’t even know how deflated and flabby is that dirty thing is in your hands that you so proudly parade, even as (ironically) you deny you are engaging in the same powerless, worthless strategy you are slamming conservatives for using.
Come on, Dan, let’s play ball with your new toy! I want to hear you, right now in your reply, repudiate and condemn in equally strident terms as you have attacked Denny with, the practice of black churches in bringing in politicians and preaching politically charged sermons—including in this past election. Tell me how wrong the political civil rights movement was to be based out of black churches in the South, and how Martin Luther King, Jr. was wrong to become, as a minister, arguably the most towering American political figure in the latter half of the 20th century. Or would doing that cut too close to the quick of Jeremiah Wright and his prominent presidential parishioner? Tell me how worthless was the perspective of Dorothy Day. If you don’t trash talk them, you don’t have a leg to stand on, in principle, about Jerry Falwell—the only thing different is the ideology; the principle of applying faith to politics in defense of what one perceives is right is EXACTLY the same.
It’s absolutely amazing to me that you invoke the Evangelical affection for Bush, critiquing their (in your view) blind devotion to him based entirely upon his words while ignoring his actions. Hello! Isn’t this EXACTLY what you argue as a defense for voting Obama? He’s “imperfect” but he’s a “Christian brother” and you are going to “take him at his word” and not “judge his salvation.” GIVE. ME. A. BREAK.
Dan, you sir, and a flagrant, blatant, Pharisee-level first class gold plated HYPOCRITE. You demand a standard be applied by those who you have chosen to oppose (incredibly in the name of Scripture), yet you do the precise thing and even have the guts to boast about it and wave it as a banner of your superior spiritual enlightenment, as if somehow in so doing YOU are “non-judgmental,” even while you say that when conservatives do it for their favorite, they are benighted and misguided.
I have zero problem that you didn’t vote for Romney. I did as a lesser evil, because I prefer a man who /waffles/ about murdering the unborn and runs on a pro-family party platform over one who /openly states/ he would abort his own unborn grandchild, to say nothing of millions of other people’s grandchildren, and wants us all to pay for it. Yet there are many who saw Romney as worthless, and argue cogently for their position (example: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/11/well-that-didnt-take-long.html). But this isn’t you. No, you cloak your liberal activism and disdain for the pro-life and pro-family position of others in sanctimonious hogwash.
The fact is, you voted for someone who is openly and aggressively pushing an agenda that is in lockstep with the culture of death when you very well could have abstained to satisfy your conscience regarding Romney’s Mormonism (and we all know now you wouldn’t have voted for him if he were Southern Baptist, now don’t we?). You, sir, are in bed with the Grim Reaper—by choice. You words on this blog tell everyone that you are every bit as politically activist and comfortable with religious political advocacy as Ralph Reed or Pat Robertson—except you advocate from the Left.
On a final note regarding your remark about “prospects”: I do what I do unto the Lord; faithfulness is success. The Left and Right MUST win elections to be successful. Christians need only be obedient to be successful. Your snide remark to Denny about his approach going forward betrays where you really are: You are politically activist and you want to WIN. For my part, I am interested in pleasing God and having a clean conscience. And to be prophetically blunt, if your conscience is clear about voting Obama, your conscience is seared or you are mad.
People in glass houses, Dan, shouldn’t be the first to cast a stone…
P.S. I teach at a Christian liberal arts college in the Pactific Northwest. That should give you a start when you sign up for Obama’s “civil defense corps” that he spoke about in his first campaign and will probably be implemented now.
You are welcome to your opinions, even about “Obama’s civil defense corp” and other unrealities, and I respect your right to express them. And, as tempting as it might be, I will not judge your spiritual condition by your political stances on the issues or by your voting record as you have done to me. As both a Christian and a Democrat, I welcome discussion of issues among Bible believers, and I am the first to admit the possibility that God can achieve his will by working through Christians who have widely divergent views. I do have a preference for dealing with facts and reality in discussions, however, so be forewarned.
As before, you have addressed not a bit the issues leveled at you. But you /have/ admitted that it was out of PARTISANSHIP, not biblical interpretation as you previously pretended, that you voted Obama and not Romney.
As for “divergent views,” I am all about them–up to murder. That one isn’t open for discussion. With me, I mean. It’s obviously OK with you. Dan, it is the WORD OF GOD that judges us. Read all about it–it’s in the Bible you constantly refer to.
P.S. Obama was the one who said the thing about a civil defense corps, not anyone else. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwaAVJITx1Y. Funny how Obama’s defenders cannot even admit something about the man when he himself says it. So much for “facts.”
I do not at all disagree that Christians should be a loyal opposition to leaders who do not submit to the authority of Christ. I do think, however, that that opposition would be stronger, more credible, and more loyal were we not only to speak of being such an opposition the day after a Democrat wins a presidential election.
The problem with American Christians being so closely allied with the GOP is that when the GOP starts doing certain things like insisting on carrying out unjust wars with little care for the “collateral damage” civilians, we don’t loyally oppose it, we just go along with it because we’ve basically thought of the GOP as God’s party and we think that the destiny of conservative values is wrapped up in the success of that party.
So when we come along and appropriately talk about being a loyal opposition to a Democrat, it unfortunately doesn’t come across as though we’re being a loyal opposition as Christians, but rather as Republicans.
What’s worst, of course, is not that it diminishes the influence of social conservatives, but that it reflects to the world an arguably warped view of Jesus: ie – a Republican god.
But Denny he would not be able to do it on his own and IMO changes his positions like the wind.
Kathleen A. Peck (@purisomniapura)
As Christians we’ve got to consider that OUR goals for a prosperous, thriving economy in a free & capitalist country that affords us all our freedoms to pursue life, liberty & happiness may not be in line with God’s goals for America. It may be possible that God’s priorities include a period of spiritual, social & economic darkness & oppression in order to fulfill His grand plan.
Ultimately God’s highest goal is the glory of Christ & His word effecting change in the earth, particularly in His church & the lives of His people! If America being free & prosperous doesn’t achieve that, the tide is going to turn. I recall that Peter once had great aspirations for Jesus that also avoided suffering & Jesus rebuked him for clinging to an agenda that was aligned with the plans and hopes of men, not the things of God.
Despite our being confounded at how such a wreckless, destructive first term resulted in a re-election that will produce another 4 yrs of the same or worse, our faith has to be anchored in nothing or nobody other than God’s sovereignty. Whether we like it or not, Mr. Obama is currently instrumental in bringing God’s will to pass in our country.
The early church thrived under religious persecution & political oppression of every sort & wouldn’t it be spiritual arrogance combined with sheer ignorance of the biblical model to assume we’re too privileged in America to benefit from the same?
I couldn’t agree more, Kathleen. A media pundit said that Hurricane Sandy was “heaven sent” for Mr. Obama. I have to agree with her, but not for the reasons she implied. God has plagued this country with this administration (and previous ones of both parties, for that matter) as an expression of His wrath, but I pray that in that wrath He remember His mercy.
I think it’s time for Christians to simply be Christians. As strongly as I feel about (say) fiscal matters, I don’t want to bog down my witness regarding the central issues (pro-life, pro-family issues that are directly commanded by Scripture) with ancillary matters that come with partisan affiliation. I want to talk to people about Christ and let His Spirit convict and convince. Persecution is coming and we’d better be as ideologically unburdened and focused on eternity as possible to be effective for the Kingdom. Our citizenship is in heaven.