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?