Monday, March 12, 2007

Why should I vote?

I used to be extremely interested in the political scene. As a matter of fact, I followed politics almost religiously until the last 20 months or so. Recently, however, I find myself growing increasingly indifferent about American politics. I find it odd that some (perhaps many) Christians consider one’s patriotism to be a barometer of one’s spiritual condition. To many, patriotism is an important part of Christianity. I guess I don’t get it anymore. Quite frankly, I find myself not giving a rip about who wins the next presidential election. Some will find that offensive. Some sincere folks think that if the Senator from New York wins the presidency, it will mark the beginning of the end. I remember hearing similar sentiments a number of years ago.

Back in the early 90’s, Bill Clinton was running for president against the incumbent candidate, George H.W. Bush. I remember attending a chapel service at a prominent Christian college where one of the faculty members (a man who I’ve since gotten to know and for whom I have the utmost respect) got in front of the student body and all but promised the beginning of Armageddon should Clinton win. 6 years into Clinton’s presidency, I remember looking back and thinking, “Wow, this hasn’t really been all that bad.” I’m not saying that I think President Clinton did everything right (he doesn’t even think that), but I am saying that we survived. As a matter of fact, we really just continued business as usual.

Over the next year or so, we are going to begin hearing more and more about how this country will fall apart if Senator Clinton wins the election. The Christian Right (don’t get me started) will come out in support of which ever pro-life Republican candidate stands the best chance of winning. Never mind the fact that, in my opinion, the best overall candidate this time around happens to be pro-choice. Over the next several months, we will hear all the “doom and gloom” fear-mongering from all sides. Once it’s all said and done and there’s a new president in office, there will be a sizeable segment of the population claiming that it’s the beginning of the end – “the country will never survive!” Yet, we’ll wake up every day and continue doing what we do.

So back to my initial point – how concerned should a Christian be about politics? Patriotism? Voting? I’ve heard it said in many ways that it is my “Christian duty” to vote. I’m not so sure. I’ve seen t-shirts, lapel pins, ties, etc., in Christian bookstores and in churches all proclaiming that one is “Proud to be an American”. I don’t know that I’m necessarily proud. I’m happy to be an American. I’m privileged to be an American. I just don’t know that I’m proud to be one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed about being an American – I’m simply indifferent.

No comments: