You know, I grew up in a traditional southern-style Baptist church. While there is definitely some stigma attached to that institutionalized faith, I am extremely proud of the family that helped my spiritual growth. My church family instilled confidence in me, encouraged me during hard times, and invested tremendously in my education. In fact, without my church family, I wouldn’t be a graduate of Spelman. However, when the 2008 election rolled around, I was in an awkward place.
I kept on hearing how the “bible toting” religious conservatives were Republicans. Nevertheless, I had to come to grips with my spirituality and understand that there are Christian concepts in both parties. I, however, had to read both arguments and decide what aligns best with me. Ultimately, I need you to understand that God transcends partisanship and party stigma.
While the Republican party tends to push certain issues such as the "sanctity of marriage" and "pro-life" women's rights, they fall short on some other aspects of Christianity. When I listened to the RNC speeches, I heard claims based in greed, pride, cruelty and all around hate. George W. Bush let people in New Orleans die for five days before intervening. There is nothing Christian about that. Shoving second-generation immigrants back to a country that they never knew isn’t compassionate; it is cruel. If the goal of the Republican Party is to bring back the “old America” then I imagine the same America that lynched my ancestors in Mississippi and Georgia. I imagine burning bodies and raped women. I imagine racial slurs and hateful legislation. That is the antithesis of love. Marginalizing poorer citizens and turning your back on those in need is not of God. My faith is grounded in the concept and theme of love- not legislative logistics.
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
-1 John 3:17
I do not agree with all of the Democratic views, honestly. However, the views expressed at the DNC resembled love to me. Instead of stiff smiles and disingenuous eyes, I see a passion for the well-being of American citizens- collectively. I see an effort to include all parties in the progression of this country. I see themes of compassion, sacrifice, humility, honesty, and “citizenship” in Obama's campaign. "Obamacare" attempts to provide lifesaving coverage. That is loving. Attempting to cap the interest rates on my college loans is compassionate. Obama wants to end a spiteful, hateful war and bring our troops home. That is peaceful. I see a difference. I see hope.
“That there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
– 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
As Americans, we are apart of a body. We are neck-high in a new era and we have to approach politics differently. We have to seek out the powerful themes of our spiritual faith to stay grounded and see clearly. Do not let partisanship stop you from voting. I know a lot Christians (and people in general) feel like they’re voting for the lesser of two evils. I get it. There is a skepticism associated with politics and rightfully so. On both sides, politicians lie, steal and cheat. Nothing is black and white. However, we are called to make tough decisions. Make one. You have until October 9th to register, get to it.