We’re in an election cycle here in the U.S., and this Saturday is the Washington State Republican caucus. Election cycles make me truly appreciate no having TV, as I get to avoid all of the sound bites ripped out of context and vicious, manipulative attack ads. But, I do feel that I have a civic duty to be an informed voter. Add to that my desire to have some idea of what’s going on in the world, and you get my reasoning for listening to my public radio station on my drive to work in the morning.
At the end of January, it struck me that I heard something about Evangelical voters four out of five drives to work. Oh, and did I mention how long my commute is? FIFTEEN MINUTES! Yes, I drive four miles to work*. And four out of five days, I hear something about the Evangelical voting bloc. This is NPR Morning Edition, and broadcast across the U.S. The Pacific Northwest is on the liberal side, and I often can’t help thinking how liberal people who aren’t Christian hear news stories about the Evangelical political agenda. Am I glad that my fellow Christians are taking their faith seriously and acting on what they believe? Yes. But the thing is, we’re voting for the President of the United States, not the Pastor of the United States. By fighting politically to overturn Roe V Wade and put defense of marriage acts on the ballot, I think we go wrong in two ways. First, that’s trying to legislate morality. Laws point out crimes or sin, they don’t create righteousness. It’s a heart change that is required, and no law is going to do that. (Check out Romans and Galatians.)
Second, how does that song go? “They’ll know we are Christians by our Super PACs, by our Super PACS”? No, we’re to be known for our love. What I hear on NPR does not paint Evangelicals as loving. You may claim that NPR has a slant against Christians. I think, whether or not that’s true, it’s besides the point, since Christians seem to be giving NPR plenty of fodder for that supposed slant! What if, instead of giving campaign contributions to the candidate that could shibboleth the best, saying what he knows a block of voters what to hear—we instead individually looked for ways to live out our beliefs with that money.
Example: You believe that abortion is horribly wrong. Instead of giving money to a ballot measure restricting access to abortions, which is one step in the political game of getting it before the Supreme Court again, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Be involved with your kids, be those parents that other kids will seek out and talk to. If there is a teen mom-to-be in your kids’ high school, and her parents kick her out, take her in. Pay her medical bills. Maybe you should adopt. Or fund someone else’s adoption process. Maybe if we each lived intentionally, acting on our beliefs in ways that cost us personally, maybe the news would have a 125% increase in the adoption rate to report on, instead of another protest at an abortion clinic.
As Saturday approaches, consider, “To caucus or not to caucus? Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous political pundits, or to take arms against the sea of political apathy.” But also consider how you personally should put your beliefs into practice.
[If you do want to caucus, it’s this Saturday from 10am, to about noon, and they recommend you get there at 9:30am to register, with your voter registration card. You have to go to your caucus precinct, which you can look up here: http://wsrpcaucus.tumblr.com/caucuslocator . I’m still undecided if I’m going.]
*[I know, that’s a silly distance to drive. But I’m not hard core enough to bike in the rainy winters here in the Pacific Northwest.]