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?