Democrats – watch out. Republicans, you really need to watch out! Things you take for granted are changing. Whatever you think when you hear the words “Christian voter” or “values voter” may soon be way off base.
We all know that young people are disrupting our everyday lives. It holds true for evangelical religion, too. Eliza Griswold’s recent New Yorker article details the ways that young believers are moving in new directions that don’t square with simplistic “blue” and “red” categories.
Above all, they are looking to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, which often means rejecting established political norms. They are re-framing standard political debates in light of biblical principles. “Believing that being a Christian involves recognizing the sanctity of all human beings,” she writes, “they support Black Lives Matter and immigration reform, universal health care and reducing the number of abortions, rather than overturning Roe v. Wade.”
They are also speaking in prophetic voice against the current administration. “It’s wicked and absolutely evil for this regime to treat children like they are disposable . . . And I’m supposed to believe that Trump is pro-life?” admonishes theologian Ekemini Uwan. “If you’re weeping for the child who has been aborted, you should be weeping for Trayvon Martin and black mothers in Flint who are experiencing miscarriages as a result of lead poisoning.”
Even Trump supporters find themselves to use language previously missing in evangelical discourse. What they see in the pews compels them to talk about race, as the believing base diversifies. What they read in the news draws them to talk about justice. Reverend Samuel Rodriguez notes that young people in the church, “are more about social justice, police shootings, and mass incarceration.” Furthermore, he believes that the community of believers has a duty to raise the issue of social justice. “The onus of making sure social-justice issues are addressed rests on evangelicals because of our political clout. The community that elected this President is now morally and Biblically responsible for issues of justice,” he maintains.
Many of these believers reject being lumped into standard political tribes. “All my adult life, I’ve felt like a misfit,” Karen Swallow Prior told Griswold, “I don’t fit into the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. What I see is this new generation of evangelicals who are likewise.” However much Reverend Rodriguez may support some Trump policies, his most resonant call urges away from party loyalty. “We can’t be married to the agenda of the donkey or the elephant. We must be married to the party of the lamb.”
Vote Common Good shares a lot with these believers who are looking for new answers. We have looked at the political landscape and are saddened and angered by what we see. Even when we don’t all agree on the specifics of what constitutes the common good, we are certain of what it is not.
We are calling on followers of Jesus to move beyond the knee-jerk politics of the past. Look forward, taking the actual teachings of the Bible as a guide. Let Jesus, not TV preachers, be your real leader.
This year, let your vote align with your real values.