Friday, January 13, 2012

An open letter to Newt Gingrich

Dear Mr. Gingrich,
In Iowa you said you wanted to run a positive campaign and you did. You also challenged your fellow candidates to run positive campaigns, you could not control them but you challenged them. And when that didn't work and you won 4th place, you said unilateral disarmament only works when all parties participate and promised political Armageddon in South Carolina.
You are also courting the Evangelical vote, pointing to your faith and how you are a true conservative. But I have an issue. It is not just enough to be on the "right" side of the two political topics for the stereotypical evangelical for all us Christians. For me your change in position on a positive campaign says a lot. And as a fellow believer, I feel I need to point a couple things out.

1. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This teaching of Christ, actually none of Christ's teachings have fine print stating "void in the following circumstances." Christ's teachings do not apply only when people are reciprocating your good will, your love or your positive stand. It is not promised that if we do unto others as we would want them to do unto us they will change to be like us. If you want to run a campaign against opponents who talk only issues, that is how you should live no matter what--not because it will make your opponents act that way but because it will put on display the Kingdom of God to be compared to the way the broken world works.

2. You are completely right that you probably could not win the election if you stayed positive while everyone else went negative. Now the issue is not whether being positive or negative is Christian. The issue is your letting your yes be yes, and your no be no--keeping your promise in all circumstances. When we live out our standards as Christians, we are not promised the world will applaud, elect us or shower us with power and praise. In fact, Jesus said the world hated him so we are to expect the world will hate us. No, living by the teachings of Christ will not win American elections. But I am not sure that is the goal of Christianity. Our goal is to contrast the brokenness of this world by living out the healing of the Kingdom. We are to love God and love neighbor more than power and influence.

I believe you had an opportunity--an opportunity to show the American public that integrity is its own reward. You could have shown us that the Kingdom of God--living out the standards we believe we were called to is greater than the presidency. You could have reflected the Kingdom. While this broken world and other politicians will sell their standards when their power is threatened, the Kingdom of God will not sell its values when the going gets rough.

I understand that if you can't be elected as the President you will miss out on the powerful influence of that office. One can imagine the potential. But I do not find in Scripture where we are to sacrifice all to gain power and influence. We are to sacrifice all to spread God's love. And so even in the little things, we are to live out the Kingdom--keep our promises and standards. Live by the Golden Rule.

I am not saying this makes you unelectable in my book. I am not against you. I just think the Kingdom is greater than our kingdom.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I think I will post this on my page. I really have a problem with people, whether in politics or not, whose stance changes every time the wind blows. Our Savior could have had a much easier life by "bending a little" and being politically correct, but then he would not have been Jesus.