Recently, Tim Keller published an article in the NYT titled How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t.” I read the article, and have been processing it along with other related issues. I could’t help think of the Battle of Wits scene from the Princess Bride. Vizzini, has kidnapped the Princess Buttercup, and The Man In Black, aka the DreadPirateRoberts, aka Wesley, is attempting to rescue her. It’s a classic scene in the movie. The battle begins with The Man in Black saying, “What you do not smell is called Iocaine powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadlier poisons known to man.” Vizzini watches as the Man in Black takes the goblets, turns his back and a moment later, he turns again, faces Vizzini, drops the Iocaine packet. It is now empty. TheMan in Black rotates the goblets in a little shell game maneuver then puts one glass in front of Vizzini and the other in front of himself.
Vizzini begins to explain in detail why he cannot chose the goblet placed in front of him, followed by why he clearly cannot chose the goblet in front of the Man in Black. He does this a few times until he “tricks” the Man in Black and then makes his choice. Sadly, it doesn’t end well for him.
Sooo how is this similar? Tim Keller does give some good insight, and says “while believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one. There are a number of reasons to insist on this. One is that it gives those considering the Christian faith the strong impression that to be converted, they need not only to believe in Jesus but also to become members of the (fill in the blank) Party.”
There is a tendency to think that Christian’s lean toward the Republican party and/or labeled as Conservative. According to a Pew Research about 54% of Evangelical Protestants identify with the Republican party, and 28% with the Democratic party. So generally, it appears to be true.
If as a Christian, I shouldn’t align myself to a specific political party (and I agree to a certain extent) then we are now forced into our own Battle of Wits! Why? We have to juggle each parties values & policies to try and make a decision on who to chose. The problem: there is Iocaine powder in both of them! And you can’t build a resistance to it. However, what I glean from Keller’s article is that we should not lock ourselves with the Republican party, and seriously consider the actions of those in the Democratic or Left leaning party. Which I can understand because on the surface the policies of the Left seem more Christ like. But, just like the Republican party it’s not all pure.
So how do we navigate these matters?
1. We need to pray! We need to ask God how should we respond when it comes to political matters. We need to seek the Word of God for what it says from God to humanity. I know that people on the Conservative side will use the bible to support policies that Liberals find offensive. I know that Liberals will use it to support their policies. But….
The Bible is neither Conservative nor Liberal! God is not a Republican and Jesus is not a Socialist.
2. Practically, it means that we research the available candidates. We take the time to research their platform & policies from both a Biblical perspective and a wisdom perspective. Lastly, we vote. Then we choose to trust Almighty God regardless of who wins the election. And because we don’t put our hope & trust in a candidate, political party or even our nation we faithfully live on mission daily while focusing our time, resources, and energy into the area’s that God has placed us in.
3. Lastly in the meantime, we can focus on impacting our marriages, families, local Church, and our community as ambassadors of Christ. We can cling to the Cross, and the hope found in the Gospel of Jesus. We can focus on the primary mission of God which is make disciples, who make disciples while still loving our neighbors in tangible ways. We do all in the name of Jesus, according to God’s will, and purpose.