“God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat.” This is a “catch phrase” that Jim Wallis and the Sojourner community have been using for many years. And certainly it is a correct assessment of the political situation in the U.S.
But does God not care what policies the parties and their representatives promote? Is one party as good as the other in God’s eyes? And does it make no difference who Christians, or other people of faith, vote for?
Just before the election, some Christians were saying, “God is sovereign; no matter the outcome of the election, God is in control.” That, too, is doubtlessly true. But does that mean it makes no difference who (or which party) wins the elections—or that God causes the candidates/party God wishes to be in office to be victorious?
In his concession speech, Todd Akin, the beleaguered Senate candidate from Missouri, declared that “it’s particularly appropriate to thank God. He makes no mistakes and . . . is much wiser than we are. So I say, to God alone be the honor and the glory regardless of how He decides to organize history.”
Since Mr. Akin is a Calvinist, we can understand how he might think that the elections turned out in accordance with God’s sovereign will. But probably most of us who are not Calvinists are more likely to believe that the election results had far more to do with the free choice of the people who voted than by the sovereign “manipulation” of God.
(It is also quite likely that Mr. Akin lost his Senate race because of strongly negative voter reaction to his beliefs and statements rather than because of God causing his defeat.)
“Neither party is going to bring in the Kingdom of God,” someone wrote just before the election. I am sure that that also is an accurate statement. Any and all talk of human effort “bringing in” or “realizing” the Kingdom of God is erroneous.
And yet, Jesus surely meant it when he told his followers to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God is not just about a glorious future beyond human history. It is about God’s will being done, however incompletely or inadequately, in the here and now.
Thus, I have serious questions about a statement posted recently on an Anabaptist blog: “Neither party is nearer the Kingdom of [God] than the other.”
Since there is considerable difference between the party platforms, though, isn’t one is more nearly in keeping with what God wants (the “dream of God”) than the other?
In my judgment, which may or may not be accurate, I believe that the current Democratic platform better represents Kingdom values. So I voted for the Democrats on the national ticket not because they were Democrats, but because I believe their policies are more consistent with my understanding of the Kingdom of God.
Just one example: In the Kingdom of God surely the health needs of all persons will be taken care of. Even though there are some problems with it, I believe that what has derisively been dubbed “Obamacare” is a move in the right direction. Mr. Romney said he would repeal Obamacare his first day in office (which, of course, he couldn’t have done).
Although it is just one of many I could give, this is an example of how for me, and no doubt for many others, God (and God’s Kingdom) was related to the November 6 election.