BY Bill Reagan
The national political conventions are over. People are determined or dismayed.
Most are dismayed.
There has always been a strong connection between faith and politics in our country. Many of our great civil rights leaders were clergymen. Their dedication to equal rights was and for many still is rooted in deep faith. They often see the Democratic Party as the guardian of their values. The same is true of many evangelicals. A commitment to family, traditional values and a desire to see America be a Christian nation lead them to strong political commitments. These believers are just as certain that the Republican Party represents their best alternative.
It is amazing that committed people of faith reach such different conclusions about which political party represents them. More amazing still is that these people of faith often demonize those of the opposing view.
Max Lucado, a popular evangelical writer, recently wrote an essay “Decency for President.” In that essay Mr. Lucado decried the conduct of Mr. Trump. Many readers will immediately respond by saying, “What about Mrs. Clinton?” But Lucado is getting at something deeper. It is time for people of faith to abandon partisanship and embrace decency. We’ll never get decent candidates if we are not decent ourselves.
Democrats are not evil, neither are Republicans. God is not for one and against the other. Both parties embrace some aspects of important Christian values, and both parties defy to some degree the principles that people of faith hold dear.
Every time political might has been used to advance the cause of the church the result has been injustice, abuse and oppression.
This election will neither usher in nor destroy the Kingdom of God.
So, what do we do?
Be decent. Senator Dole said of President Clinton in the 1996 presidential election, “He’s my opponent, not my enemy.”
Listen before you speak. Consider before you judge. Sometimes competing values are both right. Always be ready to change your opinion. Above all, be decent.
Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.