USA Today recently posted an interesting column called The Truth About Evangelicals. Written by “as left wing a Democrat as they come,” the article generally critiques defining mainstream Evangelicals by their colorful extremes (i.e John Hagee).
Joel Hunter, an Orlando megachurch pastor puts it this way:
“The media have been too eager to feature a simpleton image of evangelicals. Our part of the faith community is, on the whole, intelligent, accepting of diversity, and wanting the best practical solutions for the common good.”
This last sentence is especially interesting to me as we near the beginning of yet another election year. Because at their core, elections are primarily about voting for someone with “the best practical solutions for the common good.” Radio host Hugh Hewitt once commented that if Catholics, Mormons, and Christians could put aside faith differences and recognize that they share the same values, they could create a voting bloc with some real power.
I think we confuse voting for our values with voting for our faith. Would a President Mitt Romney promote Mormonism? Possibly. Would it also put Mormonism under incredible scrutiny? Probably. I’m old enough to remember my Baptist parents’ horror at the thought of a Catholic John F. Kennedy in the White House. Yet in hindsight, America survived those years of a “different faith” influence just fine. Religious freedom is one of our founding values after all.
It’s nearing the end of September. One year from now we’ll be neck-deep in mud-slinging, negative campaign ads, hyperbole and wild misrepresentations by both parties. To Christians who define their faith as being followers of Christ I say: Remember that your faith informs your values, but you are not voting for your faith. Vote your values and for the candidate who most closely shares them. (To be clear, I’m not an advocate for Romney. He’s just the obvious example.)
Our duty in this country – and as followers of Christ – is to vote for solutions that improve the common good. Not just the Christian good.