Thursday, September 24, 2020 : By Nathan Skates
An article resurfaced recently voicing the popular argument that Christians don’t fit in a two-party system. Proponents of this argument say that the Church should not tie itself to one political party because Christianity does not agree with the complete platform of either party. They also claim that when the Church affiliates itself with a party, that will push away unbelievers of the other party and convince them that Christianity is another attempt to wield political power. There is truth in the argument that the Church should be neither Republican nor Democrat, but as a whole, the argument has deep flaws.
The argument is a classic straw man fallacy. That is, it easily refutes an easily refutable argument …that never actually existed. One could argue all day that Christianity shouldn’t be married to a political party, and they’d be right in their reason. But to whom is their argument addressed? For the sake of imagery, we’ll say that their addressee is a scarecrow; a stand-in person that doesn’t actually exist but is easily defeated.
But let’s expand the argument to say that Christians shouldn’t even show allegiance to a political party, which is where some of the straw man attackers are heading. This argument isn’t so nuanced. The Republican platform boasts values that are far more in line with biblical standards than the Democrat party. This isn’t to say that all Republican values align with scripture or that all Democrat values conflict with scripture. But the big picture shows an irrefutably closer alignment with conservative values.
Many in the Church believe that Christians should vote Republican because of the Democratic party’s zealous support for abortion. Christians with this view are supporting pro-life candidates because our faith is objectively pro-life, not because they want to register their church as a Republican organization. The Republican party in general favors restrictions on abortion and many Republican politicians are pro-life. The Democratic party has nearly made being pro-abortion a litmus test for membership. To many Christians, that is the end of the discussion, as abortion is objectively terminating an innocent life.
Some other policy debates that are not as obvious to those in the Church such as immigration, economics, and racial justice. The caricature is often that Republicans are the mean old white guys who hate the poor and only care about money, while the Democrats are seen as benevolent and want to help the poor. Many would think that if the Democrats became pro-life, they would be the party for Christians to vote for. This is a myth created by years of misrepresentation.
Regarding immigration, the Republican party isn’t anti-immigration or anti-immigrant but rather it simply opposes unfettered immigration. Our government’s role is to ensure the public welfare of Americans and to do that there must be a vetting process of immigrants. It isn’t loving to American citizens to bring in immigrants in droves we know nothing about – nor is it loving to the immigrants whose safety may be compromised by terrorists among them masquerading as asylum seekers.
The “Jesus was a socialist” slogan is a popular line, though devoid of truth. Scripture never supports the forcible redistribution of private wealth by the government. The Bible instructs individuals to be charitable, it does not instruct charity to be forced, then it is no longer a pleasing sacrifice to God. Charity is not socialism. There is nothing charitable about having your money taken from you to be redistributed elsewhere. Charity is of the heart and can only be done from a posture of a charitable heart, not an obligation.
The Bible teaches the value of work and that all should work or they should not eat. We are also taught that there will always be those who have less money than others and the Bible doesn’t view that as a bad thing. Socialism is a Marxist anti-God philosophy teaching that those who are wealthy must have achieved that wealth through ill-gotten gains, thus it is the government’s role to make things equitable. The Democratic party’s lurch towards Socialism is incompatible with Scripture’s teachings on the role of government, charity, and money in general.
No, the Church does not fit into the two-party system. The Church is not a political entity if it is the Body of Christ. Neither party, nor any political party, will ever be perfect. The same goes for political candidates.
But the perfect Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit reveal clear indications as to what policies to vote for, as many policies are a tangible means to the very justice, mercy, and charity that we as Christians are called to pursue.
You can view the Falkirk Center Podcast discussion with Rep Vernon Jones on what it means to put faith before party here: