Sep 262016 0 Responses

Jesus Loves the Politicians

When I was a kid, my grandmother taught me to sing,

Jesus loves the little children,

All the children of the world.

Red and yellow, black and white,

They are precious in his sight.

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

The song was a reminder that we are all created by God and deserve a certain level of respect because of God’s love. It’s a song which is likely just as important today with the tension regarding race and religion as it was thirty years ago. (See: What Evangelicals Forget Regarding Elections)

Yet, I think the song is more vital today in another way. We all need grandmothers to sing to us now:

Jesus loves the politicians.

All the politicians of the world.

Rs and Ds, Ls and Gs,

they are loved just like me.

Jesus loves the politicians of the world.

We need that song because we are living in a day in which people feel free to attack, dehumanize, and demonize anyone in the political sphere. Without any consequences or sense of conviction, people who would never be rude to another person, destroy the character and personhood of anyone willing to run for political office.

This Is Wrong

We must stop this pattern. Politicians are humans. They aren’t some special species void of human experience, emotion, or feeling. They are men and women, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. The headlines hurt their families. The rhetoric stings their hearts. Much of the criticism is not fair.

What gives us the right to talk about politicians in a way that we would never allow others to talk about our family members?

Does the Bible excuse lying if it’s about a politician?

Will God overlook disrespect if its directed at a politician?

Are we called to honor everyone, except politicians?

The answer is no. We are called to treat politicians with the same basic level of honor, humanity, and respect which every person deserves. We can’t trash their character, demean the dignity, or treat them as though they are less than us.

Jesus said to love one another. That includes politicians.

He said that as we wish others would do to us, we should do to them. That includes politicians.

Paul said to out do one another in showing honor. That includes politicians.

We must treat those serving (and running) for office with kindness, understanding, and love.

This Is Right

Calling for fairness, does not forbid us from standing up for truth. I’m not saying we need to excuse the bad behavior of politicians. I’m saying we must treat them humanly even as we disagree with them.

It is completely fair to call a politician out for bad behavior or to debate the issues. But we cannot dehumanize them in the process.

  • It’s fair to say an idea is racist. It’s not fair to call someone racist.
  • It’s fair to say a policy goes against American values. It’s generally not fair to call someone unpatriotic.
  • It’s fair to say a politician is wrong. It’s not fair to say they are evil.

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton compete for the Presidency, the rhetoric in American politics is heated. A healthy debate is good for the country. It’s a founding principle of American democracy. However, we don’t have a healthy debate on issues. Instead, we have an endless barrage of Facebook memes and false stories trying to demonize the other side.

I’ve already said I won’t be voting for either of the major candidates, but here is what I know:

Both Trump and Clinton are real people.

They love their families.

They love the country.

And I’ll bet if I sat down with either of them we would find areas of agreement, disagreement, and probably have a good time together.

How do I know that? That’s my experience with every human being. We are a flawed people who are good and bad. We are right and wrong. To treat a politician as anything less than that isn’t just wrong, it’s dangerous. (See Steven Hill’s Proverbs and Politics)

A Test

Here is a simple test to see if you treat politicians fairly.

If you never agree with your political opponent, you aren’t being fair.

If you believe your political opponent is evil, you aren’t being fair.

If you think those voting for your political opponents are stupid or less patriotic, you aren’t being fair.

If you can’t even listen to your political opponent, you aren’t being fair.

Disagree with your opponents, but humanize them in the process.

Jesus loves the little children and the little politicians. So should we.


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