We are a week removed from the “drubbing,” as the media chose to call what happened. The elation of conservatives is well deserved. I’ve noticed a sense of optimism coming from a lot of my politically connected evangelical friends who seem to think we have gotten a reprieve.
I encourage the sense of optimism, but also must caution two things.
First, conservatives have descended into progressive level anger in the past six years. It was always the left who politicized everything and anything and all things together. What you wore, drove, ate and where you shopped, ate, and played were all political statements. The right has been doing that more and more of late and fostering an unhealthy sense of grievance.
There are certainly things to be upset about or be angry about in politics, but life is just too short to be in a constant state of hair on fire rage. The left won the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives in 2008 and their anger grew despite their victories. We on the right should, I hope, embrace the optimism. Evangelicals should embrace that they’re just passing through headed home to a victory assured.
We should all be happy.
That leads to the second caution.
Among my evangelical friends embedded in politics, many sense a reprieve. Don’t.
Last Tuesday’s election may have bought time or added breathing room or changed certain courses, but we know the ways of the world. We know the world is hostile to Christ and those who follow him. An electorate changing toward one political party because it is not the other party does not mean the electorate is really fully embracing the victor or even that the victor is embracing you.
Evangelicals are a means to an end for the GOP. That end is power. Power tends to corrupt. Evangelicals who embedded within the GOP decades ago harmed their own cause as much as conservatives harmed theirs by embedding fully within the GOP wherein distinction between the acquisition of power and the advancement of policy were blurred.
The Republican Party is run by men. All men are sinners. Therefore the GOP, like the Democratic Party, is run by sinners.
I am a small government conservative because I want as few sinners in charge of me as possible. But the GOP wants to use government for its own purposes, which may or may not be Jesus’s purposes and increasingly is removed from the idea of small government. All things may work for the good of those called according to His purposes, but not all things are in His name.
I am an evangelical in politics, but I try my best to store up my treasures in Heaven where neither mold nor rot can get them. As culture shifts in this country, there are many evangelicals who are more furiously trying to store up treasure in the Republican Party. But others more tied to the world have more treasure and can outbid you.
Evangelicals who are a means to an end for the GOP, should keep their wagon hitched to Jesus, not the GOP. The party can be one means to an end, but it is only one means. I applaud evangelicals engaging in the political process and pray more get involved. But let’s not take last Tuesday as either a sign that we can rest on our laurels or that we should get complacent with our domestic team winning. Doing so may cloud that which is the real winning team.
We must still go forth into the world and culture and politics being faithful instruments of God’s will and we must not be shy about accountability for ourselves and for others who claim to be with us. That includes those who claim to be of us in order to get our votes.