Christians tend to oppose the political left because the left often conflicts with certain key convictions of Christianity. For example, politically left-leaning people tend to advocate the possibility of a utopia, created on the basis of the perfect societal system.
But Christians maintain that apart from God’s grace humans tend towards evil. So, creating a utopia apart from God’s grace is impossible (but will happen at the second coming when Christ will rule). For reasons such as this, Christians find it hard to support politically left-leaning groups.
The alternative is often a politically right-leaning group. In the USA, the Republican and Democratic parties represent the two sides of the equation and many Christians gravitate to the Republican view of things. As the reasoning goes, Republicans believe in the centrality of the family, small businesses, fiscal conservatism, and the pro-life position. Consequently, Christian should support the right because it is right.
I understand this point of view. But I want to suggest that supporting the political right may not be any better than supporting the political left.
The political right knows its voter base, and it will entice religious voters to support it. But we should not be deceived. The right is no more Christian than the left. It just so happens that Christians overlap in moral judgments with the right more than the left.
Neither the left nor the right are the good guys. They are just the guys (and girls!).
And I wonder if this religious-political alliance will prove damaging for Christians in the future for these reasons. The right is growing and probably will continue to grow since immigrants are often more socially conservative than North American people. And yet part of this growth involves extremist groups, the alt-right, and the growing group of angry young people.
We hope for the best. Yet the right may win the ideological war because liberals have fewer children than conservatives and because of the immigration trend noted above. And if the right becomes increasingly extreme in terms of identity politics, its anger to illegal immigration, its anger to outsiders, its anger to the other side, then Christians may become embroiled in a movement of malice, not peace.
On top of this, the already current political positions of the right are less compatible with Christians than many think. First of all, when it comes to the USA, we have to admit that it is an empire who sometimes imposes its will on others through military force (e.g., Iraq). (I should note that both left and right political parties have invaded other countries, yet the political right tends to support military more than the left does).
The violence of empires is something that God opposes (see the entire book of Revelation). The USA, Canada, and other powerful Western countries also make their wealth at the expense of and in the exploitation of the weak. The giant industry of porn, which is now centred in Montreal (Pornhub’s headquarters), feeds off the weak, creates a rape culture, and fosters the sex-trade/trafficking.
These are not good things. They are the things that the harlot of Babylon does as she rides the beast of military might.
Good also exists in our empires. Familial love, self-sacrifice, and charity abound. Good mixes with bad, just as the church will be full of saints and sinners until Christ returns. Yet this reality should give us pause before we attach a political bumper sticker to our cars or uncritically adopt the ideology of a political party.
Anyone else who creates “a good guys vs. bad guys scenario” misconstrues the nature of human rule and our responsibility as good stewards of God’s gifts.
Our responsibility is to pray for those in authority over us (1 Tim 2), to support the government in their God-given duties (Rom 13), and to submit to the same (1 Peter 2). But don’t place your trust in one of them as the good guys, as if the other side were the clear-cut bad guys.
So Why Caution against Uncritically Supporting the Right?
Because Christians find it easier to criticize and be wary of the left. But less often do we criticize the right, or if we do, we still view them as fundamentally the good guys. Many right-leaning people may be just, and many Christians in government may be right-leaning.
But the prince of the power of the air does not deceive and attempt to reign only through obvious political opponents. Far from it. He is in our pulpits and in our governments. The right may be an ally today in some ways, but once it gains its ascendency, it will no longer need to court evangelicals. It will swallow them up.
When middle-eastern Christians joined the courts of Muslim rulers during the first millennium, they probably never thought their allies would soon come to end them. But they did. The blood of the martyrs, in this case, decimated the church in the Middle East. Christians and Muslims would never against support each other like they had done in limited ways at the beginning.
So be cautious of the right and of the left. Don’t make it an either-or game. And remember to place your trust in Jesus, not your favourite politician.
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