The Appraisal

Super Tuesday has just gone by, and with all the buzz about elections, I can’t help but think about how “faith” impacts our politics. After all, these are the two things you are not supposed to talk about at parties. They turn conversations into heavy discussions, and make at least some people sorry they came. These two topics share something in common: They confront and expose our beliefs about life, why we are here, and how we should treat one another. So there is a lot of religion in politics…

This has been true from the start. By today’s standards, there is something very religious about the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What kind of religion supports this view of people: “all… created equal”? Most religions spend volumes distinguishing the value on of one person from another based on his or her gender, race, history, abilities, piety, or performance – how well they “serve” God. I know of only one faith that could possibly support the statement that all are equal and “endowed… with certain unalienable rights”: That is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Only He has proved the value of all people (whether they believe in Him or not) by offering His life for theirs.

“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16), not just one race – not just righteous people – not just the strong or the weak. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he appeals to them, “Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.”  He is telling them to consider the impact of their actions on others – Why? Because Christ has settled one thing: Each and every person is worth it.

I am really burdened with the direction this is taking today. Do we treat each other more like we are “worth it”, or less? Are we more or less willing to go through conflict and stay in relationships? Are we more or less willing to be inconvenienced by others…by a child?

Our Nation began with a religious statement. It wasn’t followed perfectly at first, and it still isn’t. But this starting point has guided many critical decisions along the way. It appeals for the honor of the exploited; it champions the efforts of each individual’s “pursuit of happiness”; and it has provided a foundation for the strength of a Nation like nothing else in history. That being said, is the change we seek this election season more hanging on which individual ends up in the White House, or which person ends up “presiding” in our hearts? For us, may it be the One who stubbornly insists that every one of us is “worth it”.