A Pastor's Guide to Being Political on the Internet
By Vince MacIsaac
“And on the eighth day God created the internet so that Christians could judge non-Christians and each other more openly, instantly, and publicly than ever before.” 2 Mark 3:16
In case you did not get it the above quote is a joke and the fact I have to tell you that has to do with how easily people will cling to a lie they hear about you on the internet. And there seems no area of thought more prone to turning people of faith against each other than politics. If the ends justify the means, it seems we will go to any length to attack others. However, Jesus said, “But it shall not be so among you.” (Mark 10:43)
Here are some tips that will help you in the often highly church political arena we now live in:
- Whoever is The Opposite Of Your Views Is Not The Devil. The art of getting your vote is the art of reducing complex political dilemmas down to cardboard cutout caricatures that can be safely and easily passed off to pundits and their sound bites. But the truth is most political problems are a whole lot more complex than you think. What that then means is it is very likely that there are deeply spiritual and even Godly values at play on both sides of any political argument. The height of Satanic arrogance is to believe your views, and positions are above everyone else (see Isa. 14:12-16). Stop and think about the Biblical reasons a true Christian may hold views that differ from yours and for just as Godly ideals as you hold. If we actually follow Jesus, we’d find we have to go the extra mile with people not condemn them to hell for having personal convictions.
- Don’t Compare Political Leaders To Hitler. Unless a political leader is firing up a literal oven shoveling 11 million people into it because of their religious and ethnic heritage, stop calling them Hitler! Seriously, grow up! You are slurring the whole tragedy of the Holocaust and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. The fact is that demonizing the other to the worst possible extreme is a practice all sides engage in, but as Christians we can’t act this way! If you demonize people realize you are in direct violation of the 9th Commandment.
- Force Is Never God’s Plan. I don’t care how correct you think you are. Remember, “So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Use of force is always proof of lack of faith in God’s ability to bring change. Stop forcing people to think and act like you and pray more. Is our God deaf?
- Jesus Loved Publicans And So Should You. Jesus loved publicans (tax collectors), Republicans, and Democrats too! There is not a “Us and Them” there is really just an “Us and God,” and you can’t teach that if you walk contrary to it. Sorry, I missed the Bible passage where Jesus smote all the Pharisees for being too conservative or all the Sadducees for being too liberal! Treat people the way Jesus would, and show yourself to be above the ways of men.
- Learn To Hold Your Tongue And Suspend Your Judgement. James says, “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) And nothing proves this point more than Politics! Good Christians will say the vilest things in the name of political opinion. James goes on to say, “With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10). Ask yourself a simple question, is what your posting something Jesus would say? If not scratch it.
- Put Down The MEME And Step Away From The Computer. A MEME is “an internet information generator, especially of random or contentless information” (Urban Dictionary) that often comes in the form of a cute picture or series of pictures that are posted to social media to make a point. The best MEME’s are funny or related to pop culture and the worse (you guessed it) are mean and hateful and spread information that may be true in part but is extremely one-sided. Evaluate your MEME before posting (again think 9th Commandment).
- Your Mission Is For The Kingdom Of God Not The Kingdom Of Your Political Party. As a pastor, it breaks my heart to see people more motivated to preach politics then preach the Gospel. How do you think Jesus feels? Yes you know He reads your posts right? Yeah, He does. If the Angels were to count would they find more political or Gospel posts? And no, before you ask, they are not the same thing (no not ever)!
BONUS: Here is the Litmus test – If all your political views come from any one political party then you likely do not have a Biblical worldview. No one party is completely in line with Scripture. A balanced Christian will have views across partisan lines at least in part.
Vince MacIsaac is the pastor of the Solid Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church in Arlington, Virginia. He originally posted this article on his blog, SimplyVinnie.com where he writes about books, movies, popular culture, and the nitty gritty of the Christian life.