Facemask or Faith? MD or GOP? Racist or Democrat? CNN or FOX? Racial Equality or ‘Merica?
Maybe these questions seem ridiculous at first glance, but they are very real scenarios I’ve seen presented by people on social media and in discussion. This is not a trend only because of COVID-19 and everyone being trapped in their homes. These are very real beliefs being revealed more clearly and amplified during this time. It is troubling to think that we’ve blindly bought into this mentality so deeply that we actually believe a person wearing a face mask reveals their political persuasion, that we believe listening to science is somehow a betrayal of our faith, or that pursuing racial equality means we are not patriotic. We should feel embarrassed for what we allow ourselves to believe.
When I speak with people about political viewpoints, it often creates confusion as to my political allegiance. Am I a Republican, a Democrat, or (even worse!!) a Libertarian? It is understandable. Those in the United States have largely bought into a culture that lies to us by proclaiming power is based on division. This mentality is proclaimed and reinforced by sitcoms, news outlets, political parties, and even by many churches. It is this way, because we believe in the falsehood that power lies in our differences. Political parties and politicians are fostering the continuation of division in order to consolidate their voting base. The false language they use asking people to come together is only for the purpose of electing (or reelecting) them to office… and we enthusiastically give them power over us.
The truth is that power DOES lie in our differences, but only power for the few who rise to the top as they manipulate and control through the creation of division. These “leaders” build allegiance by appealing to just enough issues to gain a majority of voters to their side, then pursue their own agenda. Sometimes they will give a nod to those who elected them, but never to people as a whole. They can’t. Our leaders have spent too much time telling us the opposing side is evil. We blindly follow them, defend them, and support them. We toss word bombs and even respond with physical violence in their defense. We use Christianity, morality, and social justice as an excuse to render them our chosen candidate.
My first allegiance is not to a political party or even to a nation, but to a faith that espouses the unity of all people under a loving God. If you claim to follow Christ, then you are claiming the same. This means everything should be filtered through a worldview of loving every person selflessly. It means we need to stop cannibalizing our own people, first. Church leaders who espouse “words from God” that just happen to always line up with the Republican Party don’t deserve our time. Social justice leaders who say a person is racist who does not vote Democrat should be ignored. Both are only looking for personal gain.
“If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:23-27)
It is more enlightened (and intelligent) to look to something greater, not to leaders who rise and fall. When we have the ability to open our minds and see beyond ourselves, then we can find real unity. When we listen to others for the purpose of understanding, not arguing, then we begin to realize that we are more alike than different. When we begin to do this, we will find the power we really have as a people and stop surrendering it to the loudest screaming voice with whom we agree.
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