Putting our Collective Foot Down

Whew, it’s over! We’ve had about a week to regroup… the partisan bickering on social media sites has lessened (though not disappeared), and most American’s are moving forward with their normal, day to day lives. Another peaceful vote has come and gone.

Analysis of the election, beginning before the winner was even called, has been abundant and varied. “The GOP Establishment Needs to Wake Up,” reads the title of an article from Real Clear Politics. “Democrats clearly took advantage of these shifting demographics,” says an article in the Denver Post. Some say that we should thank Chris Christie; others that Obama was going to win all along. These things are all partly true, I think. But as a Millennial, and as someone who has proudly voted for President Obama twice now, I have my own analysis.

I think America just put its collective foot down.

We put our foot down against insensitive rhetoric directed at women, especially the victims of rape.

We put our foot down against anti-gay bigotry (and took a step forward towards equal rights).

We put our foot down against the hateful and discriminatory sound bites about immigrants and their children.

We put our foot down against openly dismissing 47% of this country.

Americans said, “Ya know what… the economic recovery may be slow, and I’m still struggling to pay my mortgage, but as an American I just can’t stand for the intolerance of the GOP.”

Admittedly, these are pretty big generalizations, and I know that it’s more complicated. But I understand this election as transformational, even more so than 2008. The reelection of Barack Obama tells me that this country doesn’t want to turn back.

I am reminded of some Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew. It reads, “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you’” (Matt 12:25-28).

Don’t worry. This isn’t going to turn into another trite suggestion to “work together,” and “unite as a country.” Instead, we should heed the advice from the Gospel.  Insofar as we are made in God’s image, we are called above all things to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

We have all seen how toxic and hateful politics can become, and I see great truth in Jesus’ instruction that “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” This gospel teaching maps onto current United States partisan politics quite fittingly, but it also tells us how to interact with others in our families and our community (I, for one, found myself in an argument with a friend’s father this past weekend… at a football tailgate… it wasn’t pretty). We cannot drive out the hate and animosity with more hate and animosity. Rather, we drive it out with the Spirit of God and with love.

With social media still smoldering with hot coals from last Tuesday’s election, it is easy to revert back to fighting tooth and nail. But I don’t believe that God is calling us to bicker with the other side. Rather, “drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God [will be] upon you.

 

As always, follow me on Twitter at @MissAnalytical or send me an e-mail at church.jessicarae@gmail.com.

  • Frank

    Putting your foot down on anything while allowing over 21,000 innocent unborn children killed each week mostly for reasons of convenience is empty and meaningless. We are a nation divided as long as we allow this. Not to mention denying God and Gods design for marriage.

    And once again there is no mandate for the Dems as half the country voted against them and their policies.

    • Matt

      Pssst, Frank… you should check your numbers: popular vote for Obama: 62,346,445; for Romney: 58,976,480. By my math, that’s a solid majority.

      • Frank

        Statistically it is not. And more people support GOP policies than support Obama’s policies. Polls still tell us that the majority think we are headed in the wrong direction.

        So no mandate.

  • Jessica Church

    Thanks for reading Frank! I hope that in the coming years Democrats and Republicans can work together to find a way to reduce the need for abortions in the United States. Maybe it will look like an increase in support for young mothers, better and more affordable childcare, and/or smarter family planning. That’s my hope.

    • Frank

      Mine too Jessica. It’s going to take more than one approach for sure but we must stop the killing immediately.

  • Bren

    In the past all the Republicans have done is reduce the access to abortions. When a woman makes the decision to have an abortion it is NOT one that we do lightly. Sure there are pathological ones that cannot plan, but for many they learn and and do not have future unplanned pregnancies. Frank has no voice in this matter, being a man, this is a woman’s decision.

    • Frank

      And therein lies the fatal flaw. It is NOT simply the woman’s decision. The father must have equal say and the unborn child must also be represented. The selfishness around this issue is astounding.

      Meanwhile over 21,000 unborn innocent children are killed each week mostly due to reason of convenience. A Christian who ignores this,whines about choice and does not try and stop it is denying their faith, plain and simple. There is nothing about abortion that is compatible with Jesus.

  • Claude

    Somebody is stoking some smoldering coals. Yes, I’m looking at you, Frank.

    • Frank

      The pro-life movement is still burning strongly.
      The idea that our government should be smaller is still burning strongly.
      The truth that marriage is between one man and one woman is still burning strongly.
      The rejection of Obamacare is till burning strongly.

      No need for me to stoke it.

      • Sus

        You are going to lose the marriage issue. The gays are out and being supported by the majority. I’d embrace them Frank. They could be a big part in foster children being adopted before they age out of the foster care system.

        Foster care kids being adopted as soon as they are eligible for adoption would go a long way in curing the abortion issue.

        • Frank

          I think that gays will eventually gain the same benefits that married couple have but it still won’t be a marriage. Embracing, supporting, condoning, accepting or remaining silent about sinful behavior is hateful.

          • Claude

            You’re the one hatin’ on the gays, Frank. Shame on you!

        • Frank

          Children deserve/need both a mother and a father and that’s what we should be encouraging. Nothing else.

          • Claude

            I’m guessing you don’t know any gay parent families because if you did you would not be muttering this nonsense.

            Marriage is a stabilizing institution. Why would we discourage it? And why aren’t you fuming about divorce on every single thread on this blog? According to the gospels Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, but he had stark opinions about divorce.

            And where’s the love that Paul said was the most important thing? You can’t love your gay brothers and sisters when you are so busy hating on them. I believe love was the point of Jessica Church’s post before you auto-derailed it.

          • Sus

            http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/11/our-differences-unite-us.html

            “Our differences unite us. You and I are blessed to live in a country where we are born equal no matter what we look like on the outside, where we grow up, or who our parents are. A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you. ” President Obama

          • Frank

            There is nothing loving about condoning, accepting, supporting, affirming or remaining silent about sinful behavior. That’s called hate.

  • Claude

    You have a highly idiosyncratic definition of the word “hate.” I think the word you are groping for is “empathy.”

    • Frank

      Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good”

      There is nothing loving about supporting sinful behavior like the murder of innocent unborn children or the denial of Gods design for sexuality and marriage.

    • Kristen inDallas

      It’s not hate but it’s not empathy either. It’s apathy. When you see someone doing something you know deep down will hurt them, and you look the other way, it’s apathy, not empathy. Hate is a twisted and corrupted form of love. Apathy is a lack of any love at all. Hard to say which is worse. Empathy of course would be best… seeing each person as an individual, meeting them where they are, and offering them Christ-like love and healing to the best of our abilities. It takes work to look deeper and offer people what they really need, rather than institutionalized band-aids. When a women hurt by a bad sexual encounter is faced with unplanned pregnancy, when she’s walking around with despair in her heart, the thing she needs first is hope. Abortions don’t give her that. Neither do signs with pictures of dead babies. The words “I think you’d make a great mother, and I’ll be here for you” do.

  • Claude

    Well, there’s a little more to it.

    Let love be sincere. Hate the bad, hold fast to the good, love each other as brothers, prize each other more than yourselves, be unflagging in energy, seething with enthusiasm, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, steadfast against oppression, devoted in prayer; contribute to the needs of the saints, cultivate hospitality.

    By the way, I’m assuming your notions of “God’s design for sexuality and marriage” derive from the Old Testament. Do you really want to go there?

    • Frank

      I will happily go there as the NT affirms the OT sexual ethic.

      • Claude

        Where does Jesus excoriate homosexuals and the modern concept of gay marriage?

        That’s right. Nowhere.

        • Frank

          Where does Jesus uphold and affirm Gods design for sexuality and marriage?

          Right here:

          Matthew 19
          3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
          4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,
          5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
          6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

          Jesus was referring to the account in Genesis where it was written . . .

          Genesis 2
          22. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
          23. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
          24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

          Not to mention that as a Jew He would have believed all Jewish Law. And He was not shy about pointing out where the spirit of the law was lost. He had plenty of opportunity to refine the purpose of sex and marriage and He did not.

          Not too mention the other places in the NT where marriage and sexuality are discussed. All uphold the sinfulness of homosexual behavior and the definition of marriage as one man and one woman.

          • Claude

            So you’ve evaded the question by offering scripture that affirms the obligations of heterosexual marriage.

            The fact is, Jesus has nothing to say about homosexuality and gay marriage.

            Not to mention that as a Jew He would have believed all Jewish Law.

            As I understand it, the whole point of Jesus’s ministry was to replace a formalistic observance of the law with an internal, conscious movement toward transcendent love. For example,

            The sabbath was made for the sake of man, not man for the sake of the sabbath.

            Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the just, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

            Jesus was not as doctrinaire as you are.

          • Frank

            So then show me where in scripture that God condones or blesses homosexual behavior. When you do that you may have a leg to stand on.

  • Claude

    Three things:

    1) Both Jesus and Paul challenged the Jewish law. Jesus had his sword, and Paul’s attitude was pretty much: Of course you have to follow the Law, but not really.

    2) Given that the gospels were written decades after Jesus died and we can’t be sure of the accuracy of any given saying attributed to Jesus, consider the trends. Jesus was inclusive. Whenever somebody tried to distance Jesus from a person tainted under Jewish law, his response was to engage and dignify them. Jesus was expansive, even toward the Syro-Phoenician woman he initially dismissed as a “dog.” She didn’t cave; rather, she so impressed Jesus with her wit and confidence in him that he saved her daughter (by remote control!).

    3) Jesus cared deeply about justice. He foresaw a divine apocalyptic event that would establish a reign of justice.

    Given that Jesus transformed the law into a kind of mindfulness and generosity of spirit, that his ministry was inclusive and expansive, and that he burned for justice, do you really think he would reject homosexuals or deny their wish to live according the rules of marriage that he himself condoned?

    No way.

    • Frank

      There is no justice in allowing sinful behavior.and thanks for your honestly and admitting that the only way you could come to the conclusion that homosexual behavior is ok is to deny or change scripture.

      • Claude

        Um, no.

        But I did waste my time.

        • Frank

          If you still deny Gods word than yes you wasted your time.

          • Claude

            History will pass you by.

            Though bigots will always be with us.

          • Frank

            Gods word stands outside of time.

    • Kristen inDallas

      Do you really think offering people a peice of paper backed up by an already flimsy institution is the same thing as engaging and dignifying them? I tend to not see it that way. Should our laws treat all people with equal dignity? Absolutely, be they married, partnered, or even (God forbid!) single, if someone loves us enough to spend the night in an uncomfortable hospital chair just to make sure we’re ok, they should be allowed to do so. But “marriage”, I tend to think Jesus would have seen it the same way all those early Christians saw it, as a sacrament, of the church, one which the state has no business regulating one way or another. The converstations we have in this country are so far off track it’s hard to imagine what he’d say (beyond the initial “whoah there”). Civil marriage is not sacramental marriage, and fighting for marriage equality is not the same thing as offering genuine love and acceptance for another human being.

      • Claude

        I’m unfamiliar with early Christian writings on the state’s role in regulating marriage. It sounds interesting; perhaps you could point me to these essays.

        I didn’t equate being engaging, etc. with legal marriage. My point was the obvious one that Jesus was charitable toward people who were marginalized under the Jewish law, unlike many of his modern-day followers who throw stones under the conceit of “genuine love.” I have a hard time believing Jesus would draw the line at gay marriage, but we simply can’t know this one way or the other. And, again to point out the obvious, we live in a diverse republic whose citizens observe a variety of religious beliefs and where minority rights are protected. Sorry, Christian sentiments about gay marriage do not trump the state’s obligation to enforce equal rights under the law.

        In addition, gay people clearly think that their dignity as citizens is reflected in the right to marry, and that’s what matters. In short, gay people do not wish to be separate but equal. If you are so concerned with offering “genuine love and acceptance for another human being” then what is the problem here?

        It’s funny you think Jesus would “see it the same way all those early Christians saw it,” as if the Messiah takes his cues from the early Christian church.

  • Matt
    • Claude

      Ha! No doubt about it.

    • Frank

      Yes love them. But there is nothing loving about condoning, affirming, accepting or remaining silent about sinful behavior. Loving them is caring enough about them to not encourage them to stay engaged in sinful behavior.

      • Claude

        Like biblical justifications for burning witches, owning slaves and denying women the vote, religious bigotry against gay marriage will not prevail. Rather, its uncharitable proponents will come to be regarded with as much disdain and incredulity as their reactionary forbears.

        • Frank

          The problem is that God is clear on His design fro sexuality and marriage. Those that try and change or distort and be deceptive about Gods word over sexuality are doing the very same thing that those Christians did in regards to slavery, womens suffrage and religious bigotry.

          You are correct that they will not prevail.

          • Claude

            No. Legal prohibitions against religious persecution, slavery and women’s suffrage were all developments premised on the concept of equality. Likewise gay marriage.

            It is you who is on the wrong side of history, and you are dreaming if you think gay marriage will not prevail. The tide has already turned.

            In my view your bigotry against homosexuality is a perversion of what Jesus was all about.

          • Frank

            Claude I am uninspired by your flawed views.

            Show me where God condones or blesses homosexuality and then you might have something meaningful to say on the issue.

            Our culture has supported slavery, slaughter and all forms of debauchery and sin so yes our culture is capable of denying God again and again.

  • Claude

    Gods word stands outside of time.

    Your appeal to God as an excuse for your bigotry is sheer corruption.

    No wonder young people turn away from religion in disgust.

    • Frank

      Show me where God condones or blesses homosexuality. Show me one instance where it is not condemned. I don’t need to appeal to God, He already spoke on the issue. Why are you ignoring God?

      And the fact that young people, like always, turn away and rebel, does not change the truth of God. Ultimately there is going to be a great winnowing so in fact many will turn against God.

      • Claude

        OK, I take it that you are a Biblical inerrantist of some sort. So this exchange is futile.

  • Claude

    Claude I am uninspired by your flawed views.

    Show me where God condones or blesses homosexuality and then you might have something meaningful to say on the issue.

    I don’t pretend to know the mind of God and neither should you. I do know what the gospels reported Jesus said, and what he said was not to wallow in the vanity that you are more righteous than others. He said, Therefore all things whatsoever would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.

    So, do you support polygamy? If not, why not, since polygamy appears to be a part of “God’s design for sexuality and marriage” in the OT? What about incest? For or against?

    • Frank

      I do not consider myself more righteous than anyone else. In fact its not possible to be righteous unless its through Jesus.

      Claude there are many different forms of sexual and marital expression in the bible but God does not condone them. He created them male and female.

      I don’t need to pretend to know the mind of God because God revealed His word, His design for marriage and sexuality that is affirmed all throughout scripture.

      All you have is an opinion.

      • Claude

        I do not consider myself more righteous than anyone else.

        Oh, I’m sorry, you give the impression that you think you are more righteous than homosexuals. Now I understand that really what you meant is that homosexuals are as righteous as you.

  • Claude

    Claude there are many different forms of sexual and marital expression in the bible but God does not condone them.

    Oh boy. I am not even going into the weeds on this one. Fortunately, the Slacktivist has been doing all the heavy lifting.

    • Frank

      You mean Fred? He rarely has anything meaningful to say. Not to mention his are mostly opinions. He comes off as a bitter, resentful person.

      • Claude

        Not in the least.

        • Frank

          Not surprised that you are a fan boy. He denies Gods word as well.

          • Claude

            How so?

          • Frank

            Have you read what he posts? You don’t have to go far to see he has simply made up own God and faith. His posts come out of biblical ignorance or downright denial of Gods word. Plus he is highly political. There is very little of value if any there. He simply plays to his fans.

  • Claude

    Have you read what he posts? You don’t have to go far to see he has simply made up own God and faith. His posts come out of biblical ignorance or downright denial of Gods word. Plus he is highly political. There is very little of value if any there. He simply plays to his fans.

    Yes, I’ve read him, why else would I allude to his blog? He’s clearly conversant with the Bible. As for intra-evangelical squabbles, I’m only remotely interested in them.

    I don’t object to the highly political. In fact, that is why I am here. My own liberalism and political affiliations derive from my Catholic childhood. So politics and Christianity are for me inextricable. But–that is just a personal thing.

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