By Ron Hull
Have you ever wondered whether God is a Democrat or Republican? Okay, maybe not in those terms, but which way would God lean if he went into a voting booth? I’ve been looking at some of the evidence in his writings (the Bible), and there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.
First, evidence that God may be a conservative Republican. Work for food was expected if one was able-bodied: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:13), the Apostle stated flatly. Respect and prayers for governing authorities were encouraged (Rom. 13:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:1-2), and those authorities were expected to enforce law and order and carry out capital punishment for some crimes (Exodus 21:12). The life of the unborn was highly esteemed (Jeremiah 1:5), and marriage was the sacred union of male and female (Genesis 2:24). Staying out of debt—except the never-ending debt of loving others—was commanded (Romans 13:8). Individual responsibility is emphasized and sin is seen primarily as a personal or individual failure (1 Thess. 4:4). It sounds pretty much like a conservative agenda to me.
But it may be that God has some left-leaning preferences, too. For example, the Old Testament Scriptures are filled with God’s concern for the marginalized: widows, orphans, and aliens (Deuteronomy 24:19-21; Leviticus 19:33-34). Large, accumulated debts were to be “forgiven” every 50 years, in the year of “Jubilee” (Leviticus 25:25-28). The same Apostle who spoke of the responsibility of working, also encouraged the sharing of goods so that there might be “equality” (2 Corinthians 8:13-14). The environment was important too, as God charged the original couple to “tend and care” for his Garden. Later, when wars were waged, the command was given to be careful not to mistreat trees (Deuteronomy 20:19). Sin was not exclusively an individual thing, but social sins or sins entrenched in human systems—racial or ethnic prejudices, for example—were challenged by the prophet Amos. In a verse Martin Luther King, Jr. was fond of quoting, we read “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). Could it be that God favors our “social justice warriors” who identify as Democrats?
After looking at the evidence, it seems that God may have leanings/interests in both directions—liberal and conservative. Perhaps this is reflected in a pivotal Bible passage: “…what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
“Doing justice” emphasizes accountability, responsibility, and respect for the letter of the law—traits emphasized by—but not exclusive to—conservatives. “Loving mercy” speaks to human failings, forgiveness, and respect for the spirit of the law—traits emphasized by—but not exclusive to—liberals.
Whichever way we lean (left or right, or perhaps both directions), humility is needed by all. Humility that is willing to say, “I might be wrong,” or “You could be right.” Whatever point of view you express on social media, be sure to cap it off with humility.
Who knows? It just might help you and your friends to enjoy the holiday together! Happy 4th!
Ron Hull is pastor of the Church of Christ. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2909.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.