Why do (or don’t) you identify with a political party?

These are two corner homes in my neighborhood that face each other. Talk about political rivalry amongst neighbors! Photo by: Kurt Willems

It seems to me that Jesus had an interesting habit: critiquing both sides.

He was a strong critic of every religio–political party in Israel. He critiqued the Sadducees for not believing resurrection, amongst other things (one being the way in which they metaphorically got into bed with Roman Empire at times). He critiqued the Pharisees for their legalism and a neglect of the poor. And he criticized those who identified as “Zealots” for their nationalistic tendencies.

Jesus spoke truth to the divided political system of his day in Israel.

Admittedly, this is a very simple description of the situation. It is much more complex than that, as most readers will realize. But I do have a point.

I wonder if you would be willing to describe why you have registered as either: Republican, Democrat, 3rd Party, or Independent. Most readers will agree with me that neither Republicans nor Democrats or any other political affiliation in the United States actually looks exactly like the way of Jesus. There are clear deficiencies in each political platform.

So, does this reality keep you from identifying with a particular party? Does this tendency push you towards making a compromise so that you can support the best platform? What are your thoughts?

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  • We’re not quite as polarized here in Canada, but your point is basically why I don’t identify with any political party. I do have one that I most often vote for, but I don’t like the idea of pledging myself to them since I would be less inclined to acknowledge their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

  • For me, I decided to break my association with a political party (registered independant) for two reasons:

    First, as you described above, aligning myself with a party, even though I don’t think the party “looks like Jesus” implies, at least in our society, an implicit agreement with the official stances and character of the party. Much as I may agree with some things in each of the two parties, I cannot give allegiance to either and, therefore, give legitimacy to them as a representation of Christian values.

    Secondly, there is only one set of politics I have allegiance to, that being the politics of Jesus which run completely counter to the politics of the world. Instead of seeking to exert power, I seek to serve. Instead of exercising influence over a population, I seek to submit to the powers and, by doing so, expose them. By choosing a party, I’m saying that the political system of “power over” takes precedence over the “service under” of the Christian way.

  • RobS

    I actually went ahead to make sure I wasn’t affiliated with a party. Virginia now does not, but I thought it did in the past. The Democrats alienated me first, but the Republicans caught up and did the job in college. Now, I’m pleased we can just register and not be affiliated with either.

  • Jesse Reese

    To diversify the conversations within political parties.

    Simply put, since FDR’s awful proposal to crystallize a “conservative” and a “liberal” party as opposed to having diverse parties centered on key issues, political parties have been near-monolithic entities demanding an unhealthy level of internal consensus. This is why our elections are increasingly apocalyptic, in my opinion: We have pretended that ideology can be boiled down to “us-vs-them.” The refusal of moderates to identify with a political party has a) further solidified this concept of “party” and b) allowed them to be written off in this context as “indecisive” and “wishy-washy,” hence decreasing their credibility. I think that we need more committed dissenters.

    But I understand the alternative viewpoint.

  • I can’t sign on to any political party. Part of my conviction is that if i’m going to join a team, I have to be able to support that team. As a Christian, I just can’t sign on. There is good in every party, and there is bad, so I choose to support candidates and propositions individually according to my Christ-Following convictions, rather than support candidtaes and propositions that fit well with a certain party.

  • Back in the day I registered Libertarian, because it sounded cooler than “Republican”, and I thought I couldn’t be a Democrat because I was a Christian (back in the day). I’ve since grown into that label, because I think that limited government is important. Philosophically I consider myself a libertarian, but I don’t formally associate with the Party because (as you pointed out), the teachings of Jesus are kinda outside of politics.

    Here’s a post I wrote about “Five Reasons I’m Voting Third-Party”

  • Markus Watson

    When I moved to San Diego five years ago I decided to register as “No party.” Why? Because I’d come to the realization that neither party was right all the time about everything no party was wrong all the time about everything. I wanted to give myself the freedom to vote based on what is needed at a given time in the country and in the world.