I’ve been really bothered since Ted Cruz announced his Presidential campaign a few days ago. Bothered, as in, I can’t stop thinking about why I’m so bothered. So, I’m going to try and work it out for myself here. Welcome to my inner turmoil.
I am a Christian, but I’m willing to bet Ted Cruz thinks I’m “less Christian” than the “courageous conservatives” he believes are about the business of “reigniting the promise of America”. I’m sorry, I guess I missed the part where that promise got extinguished.
I haven’t been anywhere close to the far right side of politics since the late 1980’s, and so I’ve had to politely hide my politics while actively attending and ministering in evangelical churches, because more and more (and more and more), far-right political conservatism has become synonymous with evangelical Christianity, How did this happen? When did people like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz gain the right to represent my faith in the political arena? I’m tired of feeling less Christian for voting for President Obama (yes. Twice). I’m tired of feeling less Christian if I think the Affordable Care Act is at least A MOVE toward SOMETHING that has long been needed in American healthcare, and I’m willing to give it a shot at working. I’m tired of feeling like I’m less Christian because I supported the government bailout of General Motors (yes, a respected friend of mine switched from a Cadillac to a Lincoln because “a Christian shouldn’t be driving anything built by ‘Government Motors'”. What? And guns – don’t even get me started. Somewhere along the line, it became assumed that if you call yourself an evangelical, “born again” Christian, you were a de facto pro-life, gun toting, anti-gay, anti-big government, pro-business, anti-taxation conservative Republican. (I did, by the way, vote for Republican Governor Rick Snyder – twice. So there.)
Now let me say this – everyone is entitled to his or her application of faith in the public square. If you are a thinking, responsible person, you BETTER apply your faith in the public square. And guess what – we aren’t all going to agree. Some of us who all wear the label of Christian aren’t going to agree, Guess what – I’M OK WITH THAT. My sadness and irritation arises when my conservative Christian friends aren’t “ok” with that.
I messaged a close Christian friend the day of the Ted Cruz announcement and said, “I don’t belong anywhere anymore”. She (who still attends and ministers in a conservative evangelical denomination) comforted me by saying “I’m not sure I’ve ever belonged anywhere”. Maybe that’s all I need once in a while – for people to admit they don’t have all of the answers. That it’s ok for us to question and doubt. If you have ALL of the answers to EVERYTHING, it’s not really ‘faith’ anymore, is it? And even if you think you have all of the answers (bless your heart), please don’t think that you have all of MY answers. Because you don’t. And neither does Ted Cruz.