Why I Don’t Want a Christian President

Why I don’t want a Christian president

I think Christians should live and act like Jesus and want what Jesus wants. In other words, Christians should embody the way of Jesus. I wish I were that kind of Christ-follower. I want to be, but I am not there yet. I am at war with what I want and with what I believe is right. That is why I do not want my nation to have a Christian president.

I do not think a truly Christian president would emphasize the need for a larger middle class, or if he or she did, it would need to factor in the entire world, not just one corner of it. I have a hard time believing Jesus would look at the vast majority of people in our land, relative to all other nations, and feel particularly distressed. I am not speaking of those who are hungry, unclothed and unhoused. (But i have grown accustomed to my middle-class life. I like having a car, a small home, and plenty of food.)

A truly Christian president would not use violence to further national interests. I believe Jesus would use force to protect the vulnerable and weak, but I think those geo-political situations are rare. I do not believe a Christian president would seek retaliation in the name of national defense, especially knowing that the collateral damage would include the deaths of innocent men, women and children. (I like the sense of safety I have from living in the country with the most advanced and well-funded military on earth. I am embarrassed to realize that I have a sense of safety not from my trust in God, who says He will be responsible to watch over me, but because I live in country with really big tanks and bombers.)

A Christian president would not only be pro-immigration, he or she would promote it! I am positive a Christian president would not close the borders. How could a Christ-follower, having read both the Old and New testaments, even consider any option other than hospitality? How could a Christian president say “No” to people fleeing poverty or oppression? (But what happens when schools, hospitals and government agencies are stressed beyond their already-breaking points? Will my grandchildren be part of a classroom that has doubled in size since I was a child? I can’t help it, I hate it, but I worry what will happen if we are flooded with people, when I hear that police departments are already severely understaffed and under-funded.)

A Christian president could not love America the way presidents are supposed to love America. The beauty of the gospel is that it creates for people a new identity, a “nation” of priests and priestesses. It invites us to forsake our old allegiances for a “new Jerusalem.” It describes in vivid terms the glory of being transformed from someone defined by gender or status—a slave, a woman, an aristocrat, a Jew, a Greek—to someone defined by the way of Christ who belongs to the family of God.

I am by no means anti-American, but I just don’t think we are as great as I have been told my whole life. I am incredibly grateful for my country, but I don’t think I am blessed to be an American any more than a Frenchman is to be French, an Englishman is to be English or a Brazilian is to be Brazilian.

I believe this year’s U.S. presidential candidates are good men who highly value public service. I think they are well-intentioned. I have no judgment on which of them is or isn’t a Christian—I will take each at his word. But I know that I am in a bind. I believe, for me, it is wrong to vote for myself benefits at the cost of others. How can I seek self-preservation in the polling booth when Jesus has asked me at all other times to surrender?

This entry was posted in Christian Culture, New Models and Paradigms, politics. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Why I Don’t Want a Christian President

  1. Is it wrong that I don’t even want to vote? I feel guilty about not voting because I know it is a right that women before me did not have and fought for. But I’m apathetic about who holds the presidency here in the US. Yikes. Apathy is even more hated than the “L” word.
    But in all seriousness. Would Jesus vote?

    • karlw says:

      it is a problem, and i feel it also. i am sure i am apathetic, but also disillusioned counts for something also.
      i wonder if paul’s comment to timothy, “Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life” might apply here?

  2. Karl if you keep writing posts like this you will completely burst my illusion that I am a follower of Christ.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is always Mathew 22 .. Give to Caesar’s what is Caesars’, Give to God what is Gods.
    (which always seemed to confuse me ’cause when you come down to it, everything is Gods) Both men (as we) are part of the greater plan also. Whomever we decide to vote for, I believe God will use them (at some point in time) to Glorify Himself as he always does, and isn’t that what really matters anyway?

  4. Mark Tracy says:

    So much here, Karl. I appreciate you brother and can relate to the struggle. No easy answers. But when Jesus does return to rule during the millenia, it will be with a “rod of Iron”. Why? Simply because He will not remove mankind’s sin nature. But, in the meantime, Christian who are living under everykind of human government imaginable, still are encouraged to “render unto Ceaser”, while also rendering unto God. I sometimes wich I could just do the God part and tell the Ceaser part to …well…you know.

  5. karlw says:

    i am sure that each generation of christians have had to wrestle with the ideas of patriotism.
    when Jesus was confronted with the legal requirement to tote a soldiers bag for one mile encouraged us to go the next one also. I wonder what that looks like here, when we are faced with situations that we find unjust, how much do we fight, and how much do we humbly do what is asked?
    thanks mark

  6. Steve Massey says:

    You wonderful, brave and foolish man, you. Don’t you know not to discuss politics or religion? I dig that about you.
    Personally, I would love a Christian president–but much more–I would love for us to be a Christian nation. I’m not certain that we are, statistically speaking, and although we’ve taken great strides in certain moral arenas in the last fifty or so years, we have regressed in possibly even more.
    I certainly don’t have an answer to any of the questions that may be raised here, but for me, a prayer that God has His man in the White House next January will have to be answer enough. Perhaps I’ll feel clarity and peace about which way to vote, and perhaps not. At the very least I’ll know that I sought His guidance.
    Lots of love ~ Steve

    • karlw says:

      no doubt, to pray and then trust is about the best we can do. you would have loved the conversation saturday night at church: politics and poverty/
      i, a free market libertarian and a friend who is more government based in her solution held a moderated conversation. it was good, and the conclusion, at least partially, was individuals being generous makes the biggest impact.

      we miss you all the time!

  7. judybonnell says:

    Let me start by saying that I love your blog, not that I always agree with absolutely everything, but it does make me think. O.K., with that being said , let me tell you my take on politicians and taking care of the poor. I don’t think either politician knows or has the answer as to how to take care of the poor. I think anyone who says they do, ought to first spend a year with the poor, finding out what works. They need more than one trip to the rescue mission. It takes a person giving a hand up and even then it’s hard. (I mentored a single mom with a terrible background for two years and got nowhere, since she really didn’t want to be mentored, she just wanted me to give her things and money. Just in case you think I’m terribly selfish, I did take her to lunch a lot, go to a baby shower, bring a meal when she had her baby, etc,) I think it takes a long time and I just don’t have that kind of perseverance. Also, she was the one who gave up on me. I so admire Jeff Johnson, and people that do multi housing stuff from BV.) There is an article in this months CT about a business here in Denver that really gives people in poverty a chance. I love the statement, “love the person in front of you.” There are tons of opportunities to love. A lot of people have enough food and money, but they are poor in relationships and love. We live in a broken world and the politicians aren’t going to fix it! As far as you living in a small house, and having a car, and enough food to eat, in America if you didn’t have a car, you couldn’t get to work very easily, and if you didn’t have a home you couldn’t have people over. It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it. My daughter Holly has a home in Manitou Springs which is nice, but not overly so. They have adopted from Ethiopia after having two homegrown kids. she is an amazing light in her neighborhood which is very diverse. They can’t figure her out because they know she is a Christian, but her neighbors love her anyway. She did a pancake breakfast for her neighborhood as a practice for getting up early for school by putting a sign on her lawn and inviting people over on FB. She started a once a month get together for women, and had each person bring $5 to give to a charity of choice for whosever home it was in. She had them share why they chose to give to that charity. Cool idea huh? Anyway, a an aside, she’s evangelical. I personally think there are way more evangelicals than you think that are doing some amazing things. I guess I’ve expressed enough of my thoughts. I would love to have you and April over sometime to hear more about your journey. By the way, the Crumley’s said there was a good book out, When Helping Hurts.
    Again, keep writing, love it!

    • karlw says:

      first, i am so sorry i am late in responding! just got tied up…
      i love your response- and could not agree more. this past saturday our topic at church was “politics and poverty”
      certainly, some think a bit more gov’t help would go a long way and some (me) think a bit more freed up capital would help. but we all agreed at the end, that there is no programatic solution. just what you said and holly demonstrates- personal charity and relationship with the poor is the only truly effective answer.
      that is not to dismiss other attempts, but the heart of the issue is whether or not i will follow Jesus lead and be generous.

      would love to see you, all of you!

  8. Pingback: 5 ways to make it through the election & still keep your friends | kathy escobar.

  9. I love everything you said here, except that you trust that the politicians are well intentioned and that you can take their words at face value. I thot that was an uninspired conclusion to your blog, and given your first response, it marginalized the truth of your apathy because you feel you really cannot trust them enough to vote for either. But, since the rest of your blog was so inspired, and because I cannot seem to write one that anyone can even understand, then, I’ll still put tag the winner ribbon onto you, my friend! You should weigh in on BSBC’s comments I posted there about pro immigration rights not to be labeled as “illegal” before even being given a trial. That was a downhill battle. Help!

    • karlw says:

      what i mean is i dont think i can judge their motive. i do not doubt they intend to do what is best for our country. what i can judge is what they say they will do and i find it offensive. the pandering and, in my mind, criminal economic policy proposed by both candidates makes me crazy!

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