Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Election Time Sorrow

Elections do not make me sorrowful--irritable and outraged, yes--but not sorrowful. I've come to expect that campaigns make a great deal of noise and then someone ultimately has to go to work and do something. 

What does bring me sorrow is watching how too many people in the Christian community use the Internet to pass on questionable and even slanderous information about particular candidates. I've seen doctored videos, scandalous urban legends and contextless photographs suggesting abominable behaviors, many sent by people claiming to follow Jesus.

I do believe that these people love Jesus. But I fear that some have equated faithfulness to the gospel with embracing the agendas of one political party over another. If one sees the political process as kind of war, then perhaps the thinking might be that any explosive device is permissible.

But I claim that it is not. 

Passing on via email some of the things I've seen looks like bearing false witness to me. I wonder how we square these activities with Jesus' call to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (although few of us in the US know anything about persecution, and many of our enemies are those of our own making). 

Scott McKnight ( offers some fine ruminations about the election. I appreciate that he affirms our role as Christians to be as ones seeking the kingdom of God first, and not expecting candidates, parties or governments to be what only God and his kingdom can be.

I believe that participation by Christians in the political process is important in the same way that our overall engagement with the world is important. Remember that Israel preferred the politics and military mechanisms of the surrounding nations to leadership under the hand of God, and paid dearly for that choice. We must remind ourselves that our role is to be God's people, not for our own sake or for the sake of a particular national agenda, but rather for the sake of the world. 


cindy said...

Hi Mike
Thank you for this blog. I do agree with you. I can get caught up with the race to the White House like I get while watching the Angels trying to clench the finals for the World Series. I'm pretty much simple minded in the election thought process. My brain can't escape above third grade level most of the time. hehehe I do take into account each candidate's view on pro-life issues (babies and elderly) because he/she may determine Supreme Court Judges in the near future. I also look closely at who he/she hangs out with when no one is watching. I feel this shows the candidate's true depth of good character.

Jason Clark said...

Hi Mike, I'm at GFu teaching. It's late, I'm jet lagged, and wish I could engage you in something thoughtful.

Instead I'll say about time you started blogging again, love what you've written, and you better keep writing!

Love, Jase

Mike McNichols said...


You're right--there are a lot of issues to look at, and we don't usually have the full picture. My point is that we Christians need to remember that we are to be truth-tellers, enemy-lovers, and life-givers. So we should stand against falsehood even when it is aimed at candidates we don't prefer. Interestingly, I've heard both presidential candidates (among a lot of other noise) defend their opponents from false accusations at least once each.