See Luminosity

My Real Citizenship

My Real Citizenship

So, there was this election, recently, in Virginia.

And there is a possibility that I got just a wee bit involved in it. Like, posting political commentary non-stop on Facebook (not that anyone noticed), going door-to-door for my candidate, and making a good ol’ homeschooling teaching moment out of taking the kids to hand out Republican sample ballots 40 feet away from the voting booth doors.

My guy lost. And, yes, I’m sad about that, and disturbed for what it means about the direction of our state and our nation.

But this is not a post about the election results.

Crazy Conservative Chick

I realized something, with this election. It dawned on me, after the election was over, that my politics really do influence how people see me. From Facebook comments to discussion with friends to responses from acquaintances in my daily life – I have become more and more concerned that political involvement inadvertently puts me into a category, in the eyes of the world, that I don’t want to be in; that my policy perspectives project an image that casts a shadow over who I really am, and who I want to be.

I think most people see me as Crazy Conservative Chick. And, to some extent, I definitely am. Yes, I am staunchly pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, and I believe in fiscal responsibility and infinitessimally small limited government and religious liberty and the right of people to bear arms and I am a Constitution traditionalist. And, yes, I almost always vote for Republican candidates, I watch Fox News, and I often find myself wanting to high-five the political commentary at American Thinker and Ace of Spades. Oh, and just for the record – I think Obamacare is one of the worst policy disasters to ever befall our nation.

But being Republican is not my identity.

No, I, in fact, can’t stand the two-party system. I believe that politics is dirty business, that it reeks of human sin, and that political candidates on both sides of the aisle generally lack integrity and care much less for principles than they do for money and power. I think that corruption reigns in politics and that bias is endemic, that pride colors just about everything, and politics usually succeeds in polarizing people rather than bringing them together to solve problems.

In fact, this most recent candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, is the first candidate, Republican or otherwise, for whom I have personally invested time and energy into campaigning. Why? Well, partially because before now I had little children and had my focus on things a little closer to home like making sure no one starved to death under my watch. But ultimately I put personal stock in this race not because Cuccinelli was Republican. I got involved because he was the candidate that I felt most holistically represented my true identity…

One who has citizenship in heaven.

The Problem of Politics

That’s right. I am not, ultimately, a Republican. I am a disciple of Christ.

My political allegiance only goes as far as those who I believe most accurately represent the principles and values of my Lord and Savior. The political landscape, for me, is filtered through my faith, not party affiliation. What matters to me is the truth of scripture; God’s guidelines for how life is to be lived.

If a Democrat best embodied the values I best discern from scripture, I would vote for him, without batting an eye.

For all the reasons stated above, politics is messy and nasty and fraught with difficulty. So why am I involved at all? The reality is that public policy affects every aspect of how we are able to live our lives – including our lives of faith. And, unfortunately, politics are an unavoidable part of being able to influence public policy. Although certainly I should (and do try to) influence people on a personal level with my faith, it is public policy which affords one of the greatest opportunities for impacting people on a large scale; policy and culture touch everyone. For better or for worse, involvement in politics is one of the most effective ways to influence the culture as a whole for the cause of Christ.

No doubt, toward that end, both Democratic and Republican parties fail miserably. I am under no delusions; they are concerned about their own interests, not the cause of Christ. But, as much as I dislike it, I also know that the two-party system is the best we’ve got right now for influencing policy and culture for Christ on a widespread scale within our country- it is within these two political parties that the majority of the money, power, and influence lie. My goal is to do everything possible to direct that money, power and influence toward the principles of The Lord. And I’ve only got two choices, at this point, to work within.

Party Affiliation

So, for me, what does it come down to? The Republican Party, with all of its many faults and problems, is, in my opinion, the better of two not-so-great avenues for disseminating biblical values into public policy. I recognize that conscientious Christians can certainly come to different conclusions about the best political means for pursuing the cause of Christ, and I respect their right to do so (even though I may likely debate them!), but, unfortunately, my discernment is that the Republican party is the best option I’ve got, at this current juncture, for promoting my values on a policy level.

Abortion, gay marriage, and big government issues aside, my affiliation with the Republican Party over the Democratic ultimately comes down to one major issue: secularism. Although this is certainly not true of every Democrat, the Democratic Party has moved more and more consistently toward a secular worldview – one that advocates for subjective truth over objective right and wrong, and one that views religion as a threat to cultural and public life. Sadly, many of the worthy elements of liberalism – particularly social justice exemplified by a concern for the poor and downtrodden and a desire to reduce disparity for the disenfranchized – have been overtaken by a secular progressivism and moral equivocation that are completely opposed to the Gospel. It is this secular philosophy, pushed forward by the powerful regulatory arm of centralized government, that has forced me to plant my political flag in the Red rather than the Blue – even though both are simply fundamentally flawed frameworks in need of Christ’s redemption.

I am not offended when someone points out legitimate faults within the Republican Party; I want Republican affiliates, just as much as Democratic ones, to be held to the standards set by God. I welcome reasoned, respectful discussion with those who differ from me in their political beliefs, and believe that it is intelligent discourse that helps us to grow and to better understand how to live out and establish faith values in policy and culture. However, I have found, more and more often, that such conversation is able to occur less and less frequently. I find that people on both sides of the aisle resort to straw-man fallacies and ad-hominem attacks rather than making their case on its own merits. The general tactic, these days, seems to be “If you can’t defend your position on its merits, use emotion to attack and obfuscate. And, if that doesn’t work, and you get pinned down and can no longer defend your position on its merits, simply refuse to discuss it”.

Political affiliation becomes, for many, an identity. Disagreeing with someone’s political philosophy is akin to disapproving of them. Yet this is where I part ways with many of my political friends on both sides of the aisle. Politics is not, for me, an identity. It is simply a means among many by which I seek to further the identity of Christ.

My True Identity

Be very clear: I am a Republican only so far as it helps me further the cause of my Lord.

I am an American, but even that is not my ultimate citizenship:

“Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:19-20.

Yes, I will post political articles. I will likely get fired up over some policy being implemented that I believe draws our country away from God’s ideals. I will decry the horrendous atrocity of abortion and try to help people see the way the welfare state lulls people into complacency and entitlement rather than encouraging the biblical values of responsibility, diligence and gratitude. I will passionately defend the family as the most important unit of community, rather than the state, and will actively advocate for policies that support traditional marriage and safeguard the rights of children to their mother and father.

But, more than all of that, I will pray to my Heavenly Father. I will read His word, every day, and meditate on the ways He wants me to apply it to my own life. I will talk to Jesus throughout my day and I will ask for the Holy Spirit’s conviction and guidance, and I will seek His way, in this very day. I will go to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ and I will praise my God, even when it hurts to do it. I will be convicted to serve those with whom I disagree, and to touch people’s lives on a personal level with the love of Christ. I will likely have to apologize to my husband and ask forgiveness from my children and confess my emphasis on principles over people. I will ask The Lord for wisdom and for humility and discernment, and for the ability to do everything in love.

And I will fail. But that’s ok. Because, ultimately, I’m not a Republican….

I am a dearly loved, forgiven daughter of the King.

And, no matter what happens to America, I’m a part of the only kingdom that truly matters.

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