John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Christians Left and Christians Right

As Christians we must be extremely careful to avoid aligning ourselves en mass with one political party or another. No party (and no political ideology) has cornered the market on truth and goodness. At the very best, a political program can only be an approximation of the purpose and desire of God in a particular place at a particular time. That goes for the Christian Right, and it's true of the newer "Red Letter Christian" movement as well.

The fact is, there are Christians scattered all along the political spectrum, and many of those Christians vote the way they do because of their faith -- rather than in spite of it. For example, a Christian may vote along conservative lines because of the way the Republican party tends to stress individual initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit. However, some Christians are put off by the way the Republican party seems indifferent towards the weaker person who gets marginalized or buried by the fiercely competitive beast that is capitalism.

On the other hand, a Christian may vote along more progressive lines because of the compassion the Democratic party has traditionally shown to the poor and the less fortunate. However, some Christians are put off by the way the Democratic party seems to smother creative enterprise with big government.

Republicans seem to care more about a human life before it is born into poverty. Democrats seem to care more about human life after it is born into poverty.

Each side attracts Christians because it emphasizes a truth about humanity -- whether it is the need to give people freedom or the need to protect people from exploitation.

Each side repulses Christians because it fails to take the other side's truth seriously. Both can be liberating; both can be stifling. As J.K. Galbraith said, "Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."

Understandably, many Christians long for a third way which included the best of both sides. But the only way we'll ever hope to achieve such a compromise is by listening to the other side with a hefty dose of humility -- realizing that our side doesn't have a monopoly on truth, diligently working to pursue God's purposes for our society.

Because this world has fallen and become broken, there is bound to be a gap between the ideal and the actual. But nothing is beyond redemption, is it?

Here's a question for you: What if everyone in Washington, D.C. was overwhelmed by the grace of God? What if all the elected officials at every level (national and local) became as serious as you are about pursuing the will of God for their lives and the lives of the people around them? Would both parties move closer together on issues? Would the two-party system be abandoned for something better? Would they all stop working in the government?

What would happen to our nation if some sort of serious spiritual awakening occurred on Capital Hill?