I live in the South, where “Christian” is synonymous with “Republican.” My older family members always voted down the party line. I live in a place where people say things like, “I don’t see how you can vote Democrat and still call yourself a Christian.” In high school and all through college, I was politically active. I attended George W. Bush’s first inauguration, and later helped with a governor’s race. As a twenty-something, the pressure of the fast-paced environment thrilled me.
Now that I’m a little older, I’ve realized my political views are actually pretty varied, and they don’t fall along party lines. I can no longer talk about inclusion for the outcast and faith in the underdog, yet vote down the “us vs. them” mentality of a particular party. I feel strongly that we should at least consider (if not defend) the cause of the disenfranchised, because the Bible never said, “God helps those who helps themselves.” Isaiah 25:4 says something quite to the contrary, “For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…”
If the names were removed from various speeches this political season, you might not know the difference in a talk given by Donald Trump or one by Jerry Falwell, Jr. A few years ago, I would have assumed these two would have very different rhetoric. What could a billionaire real estate mogul turned reality t.v. star and the president of a very prominent Christian university possibly have in common?
Yet strong language has become the name of the game, and where I’m from, everyone seems to be talking about our rights. I understand rights and cherish them as much as the next guy, but nobody talks about how rights comes with responsibility.
The sixteen-year-old who has passed their road test receives a driver’s license with the understanding that they will obey the law, drive defensively, and look out for their fellow man. In the same way, I have a lot of rights as a white Christian male in the Bible Belt. And with my rights come responsibilities.
I have a responsibility as a Christian to consider how others are affected by the proposed laws. I have a responsibility as an American citizen to consider how I could use my freedom to better serve foreigners. I have a responsibility as a heterosexual male, flying the Christian flag, to consider the plight of those flying a flag of many colors. And I have a responsibility as a white man to consider minorities, and how our laws may be directed against them.
We are called to love mankind, to defend the cause of orphans and widows, to care for the disenfranchised. We have all been found and loved by a perfect and holy God. We have been rescued spiritually, and now we are free. How are we using our freedoms and rights – both as American citizens and as Christians – to love and serve others?
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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