Jesus begs for his disciples to love appropriately and unconditionally all people with death-defying depth. There is no evading this call for any genuine Christian. From his birth to his death and resurrection, Jesus calls for such embrace from all his followers. Neither patriotism, nor wealth, nor law, nor learning can equal this fundamental vital message as it rings from Jesus down through the centuries. Every church and denomination must embrace such. Politicians find this foundation of Christianity most challenging, for they must defeat the other candidate, and thus their temptation to lie or attack personally. In addition, to retain their office, they must at times support legislation they don’t necessarily personally support. Add to this the stress and strain of daily negotiating and decision making, and one can feel the quandary and conflict our politicians suffer.
Nevertheless, every Christian politician must champion first the basic teaching of Jesus to which we referred. As a result, we discovered two standards by which Christians are to judge political candidates, competence and ” Christness”.
Competence. Ignoring environmental science, dividing our friends while “cozying up” to suspect nations like Russia, and using for his own purposes our independent Justice Department represent examples of incompetence. A true patriot decides to seek the presidency not because of self -serving, personal finances, power or stature but because she/he desires to serve our nation and planet.
Christness. Christianity is the sole religion that asks the disciple to identify with its founder. This becomes especially true because of the extreme visibility and power to persuade of the United States president. Thus, a person who is a chronic liar,abuser of females, or who attacks personally his political competitors is not acceptable to a genuine Christian. One who does not reject racism or who prioritizes nation over God’s children whether citizens or not, does not merit to hold presidential office.
If Jesus were president or a presidential candidate today, he assuredly would be vilified and rejected as naive and “out of touch” Would our current brand of Christianity support him? Gandhi was “spot on” when exclaiming, “Christianity would be wonderful if it were ever tried”.
Competency and Christness will always stand for Christians as the sure criteria for selecting and promoting our political leaders. As Christians, we must examine our candidates and office holders more critically, and have the courage to follow the Spirit of Jesus who exclaimed, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you”