Sermon On The Campaign Trail

Last night I was watching my church’s dress rehearsal of Godspell, which premieres tonight and runs through Sunday (see it). Listening to the Sermon on the Mount through the lens of our current election cycle was startling.

I was struck by how tough Jesus’s command to “bless those who curse you and say all manner of evil things about you” is for me these days. How do you turn the other cheek when you believe the future of your country is at stake? Some campaign speeches seem written to make enemies of our fellow citizens, with words like “domestic terrorist” bandied about and answered by “treason” and “kill him” as if these were cheers at a football game. How should I love these people? I made a commitment to my faith long ago that tells me I must, but how do I do it?

Sunday a group of friends from church came by the house for lunch so we could talk politics. One of the questions I wanted help with was thinking about the Christian response to negative campaigning.

By negative campaigning, I mean non-policy related jabs. I don’t have a problem with candidates putting one another in a negative light as it relates to their policies and performance, since one would reasonably assume negative outcomes for policies we disagree with.

But lies about character and questioning someone’s patriotism? That and unsubstantiated whispers of a candidate being “not like us” send me over the edge (as you no doubt know if you read this blog much).

So as we enter the last 25 days of the campaign:

Does anyone have any ideas for ways to love those who spread lies about character?

What is the correct response when in 2004 we saw what effect NOT fighting back against lies has?

What does winning mean?

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4 Comments on “Sermon On The Campaign Trail”

  1. Jennie Says:

    I’ve decided I just need to move to Indy. There are too many things I want to participate in there, and I can only take so much vacation/travel time! Godspell? I love, LOVE that musical. They did at OBU while I was there and it was incredible. I used to listen to the soundtrack all of the time.

    I’m not sure how to love people who spread lies…let me know if you find out. I need help.

  2. catch Says:

    loving liars limits lamentation

  3. revizzy Says:

    I heard this on Speaking of Faith on NPR yesterday morning but It made me think of this blog.

    We have to strive to find what unites us, not what makes us different, or where we don’t agree. It’s the basic Christian notion of loving our neighbors. Love is a deep concept. Although people lie and do hurtful things, we must recognize the humanity and God that is within all. To me, that’s what love is, recognizing everyone as a child of God.

    But, its hard because we’re human and its sucks to be nice to those who hurt us.


  4. Susan Says:

    I’m no lover of liars, but being a Christian person I try to tolerate their non-sense. We have to love our enemies..right?
    My mother has always used the quote “Character is who you are when no one else is watching”…I always wonder how people really are when I’m not around them. Its an interesting concept.
    Oh and I LOVE GODSPELL…wish I could see it again.

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