When I registered to vote, I was so proud to mark myself as a member of the Republican Party.
I was proud to carry my voter’s registration card in my wallet and I was proud to vote for George W. Bush. Both times.
When I renewed my driver’s license, I decided to change my party to “Independent.” I wasn’t liberal enough for the Democrats and certainly didn’t feel comfortable in bed with the GOP, who was/is constantly railing against the “entitlements” I NEED to live.
Now I’m probably more a Democrat than anything, but I tend to favor more centrist politicians. All things in balance, all sides talking, and doing teamwork. You know, like we learned doing all those group projects in school.
Here I am again feeling like a woman with no political party, but siding with those “evil” progressives who “kill babies” and want to take God out of America. The ones who want to let immigrants inundate our country and want the impoverished to have food and healthcare. You know, those evil liberals.
Now Jesus kept Himself out of politics siding neither within the zealots or the Pharisees or Saducees. His answer was love and He had friend in both low and high places and all those in-between. But if we’re honest, Jesus was a homeless vagabond and tended to attract the same type of people.
Both sides claim to be following Jesus…and honestly, since Jesus was apolitical, it’s hard to drag Him into the argument. Now the Bible as a whole, that’s a different story.
There are many times the Bible talks about caring for the poor and the widows, standing up for the abused and mistreated, and to give everything back to God–how we do so is the tricky part.
While I’ve seen churches provide much needed services to those in need, I’ve seen its individual members turn a blind eye. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of good people I’ve met in churches who have blessed me in times of need. It’s the other ones, who share nasty Facebook posts about the poor or private message me to ask if I still believe in God because I don’t speak highly of the president, that I call out.
Those people are the ones who have hurt and disappointed me–the ones who equate being a Republican with being a follower of God.
They’re the ones who bother me the most, probably because I used to be one.
Applying for welfare, getting food stamps, and eventually Medicaid broke my pride and I knew I could not be that kind of person anymore. I knew God changed me.
I could never be a Republican again, at least not *that* kind.
I looked at my tattered voter registration card the other day and wondered what party would stand up for me. I thought deep and hard about my love for God and others.
I also thought about the phone calls and emails and letters that went answered and unanswered from my elected leaders.
I thought about the party that made a monster President of the United States and the evangelicals (like Franklin Graham) who lauded him as God’s choice for America and of those who publicly opposed him (Ann VosKamp and Max Lucado, among others.)
I want to be a part of something new, something real, something that can’t be typed onto a voter registration card. I want to see God move in America and change hearts and minds. The problem is my prayer is to change the hearts and minds of everyone. Not one side, not the other, but both.
Until that party exists, I will remain a centrist because two parties is not enough. But if I must take sides, at least in the healthcare debate, I choose the poor, the oppressed, and the widows and orphans.
I not only stand with them, but among them as well.
And I stand in direct opposition to the Republican Party and the Christian I used to be.