Monday, August 4, 2008

Open Season on the President?

What I am about to write will be offensive to almost everyone who reads this. As of late I have been burdened by a ridiculous immaturity on the part of most Christians when it comes to politics. God's word makes it abundantly clear that gossip has no place in the life of a Christian--we are to be people characterized by love and not by slander (Proverbs 16:28; 26:20-22; Matt 15:19; 1 Cor 5:11; 2 Cor 12:20; Titus 3:2; James 4:11). However, almost every Christian I know immediately throws off such commands as soon as the conversation turns to things of a political nature. I have heard many people question the motives of the president without having rock solid evidence for doing so. We have all heard it from time to time, "The only reason Bush went into Iraq was because of oil and money." The next time someone says this to me I will respond by saying, "Where's the rock solid, incontrovertible evidence? If you can't give it to me then knock it off." The Scriptural commands regarding gossip and slander apply to our conversations involving civilians and presidents alike.

I hear the same sort of things being said about Senator Barak Obama. I have gotten so many emails from Christians who will do everything they can to ruin the reputation of Senator Obama. For some reason we feel that the commands regarding gossip and slander do not apply to us in these situations. For example, I got an email that was trying to convince me that Obama is an undercover, closet Muslim extremist. Ben Witherington helpfully wrote against this email on his blog (click here to read it. I didn't agree with everything that Witherington said, but the overall message was excellent). I am not suggesting that Christians are not to call sin for what it is. There is a need to discuss the character, policies, and stances of those who are running for president. However, Christians are to never take anyone out of context, and they are to never entertain speculative gossip about another individual no matter their status, rank, or position.

Let me just tell you right here; I will never vote for Barak Obama. I just cannot support a man who advocates abortion. I find abortion to be one of the most gruesome injustices in the history of mankind. I will refrain from voting before I vote for someone who advocates abortion (no matter how great their policies are). This is just my personal conviction. You see, I am not against calling sin for what it is. However, I will never stand alongside a fellow believer and encourage the slander of Obama, Bush, Clinton, or any other public official. The fact that Obama supports abortion can be proven with incontrovertible evidence. Because of this I can talk about his stance on abortion. Even still, I must be careful to not entertain gossip about this man. There is a great deal of difference between stating, acknowledging, and dealing with the facts and engaging in reputation-destroying slander. And yet, the majority of Christians in America engage in such slander without a second thought.

As a Christian I cannot support misrepresentation, gossip, or slander. I just can't do it. I want to speak of Senator Obama in the same way that I would want him to speak about me. If the Devil himself were to come up to me and say, "Jimmy, nice hat!", and you (the reader) went around town telling people that the Devil told me, "Jimmy, I hate your hat!", I would tip my forehead into the wind, cross my eyes, and tell you to knock off your childish misrepresentation. I don't care if it were spoken by the Devil himself, Christians are to have too high of a standard of love, respect, and kindness to inconsiderately take others out of context.

Such misrepresentation makes Christians look both unloving and ignorant. First of all, it makes Christians look unloving because the political conversations that Christians engage in involve so much speculation--the conversation is built solely upon things which cannot be proven. Those in the world look on and say, "Wow, they fight dirty." Second, it makes Christians look ignorant because most Christians would rather debate things which cannot be proven than the real issues. The reason they prefer the unproven things is because it takes a lot of time and work to deal with facts. If your involvement with politics puts you in a position where you have no other choice but to slander your opponent, throw politics on trash heap--it's not worth it. The Lord can put the right man in office without our anti-scriptural help.

I will be an advocate for my candidate (and I don't have a clue as to who he is at this point), but I will treat the opponent as a human who has been created in the image of God. There is no such thing as open season on the President. I encourage you to back your candidate, but do not engage in politics as the world engages in politics. Do not let your disagreements regarding the policies of your opponent led to hatred and slander. Most Christians are hypocrites because most Christians shame the Clinton's for their smear politics while using the same tactics. These tactics are to be expected from those who know not the righteousness of the Gospel. However, Christians are without excuse.

I told you that you would be offended.


Jessy said...

Are you a preacher or something? Sounded a bit like Jonathon Edwards, there! ;-)
Amen to all. It didn't offend me because you have not wronged me, but have helped me see yet another way I am to spy-out the world's ways to keep them far from me. I am easily infiltrated at times. Thanks for your boldness. It will definitely be used to help me, and I dare say every true believer that reads it, flee from sin.

Luke Snowden said...


I appreciate your post and have a couple of questions/comments for you to respond to:

1. I find myself openly questioning the vague promises that Obama is giving. I find myself saying this to people, "I think Obama supporters will be sorely disappointed when they learn he won't be able to follow through on the hopes they've put in him." Do you think I should refrain from this, or would it fall in the categories of slander?

2. What do you suppose the deep, heart issue, is that pushes us to do as you described as finding greater emphasis on things that can neither be proven nor discounted? It is one thing to curb our behavior of slander, it is another thing to identify and mortify the sin that preceeds it.

3. Being that both McCain and Obama are supporters of abortion, what other viable options do we have? Is it o.k. for a Christian to sit out, or is it a moral responsibility for the Christian to participate in the election (leaving us to pick the best of the worst)?

Jimmy Snowden said...


Thanks for your questions. My answers will probably be overly simplistic, but that's what happens when life is crazy.

1. There is nothing wrong with questioning a candidates credentials. There is a great deal of difference between slander and dealing with facts. If you can prove Obama's flip floppiness don't be afraid to speak about, but don't slander him in the process.

2. I suppose that every case is different.

3. The options are up to the conscience of each individual voter. Sitting out on elections is up to the conscience of each individual voter.