On the right, the language of faith has been used too often as a weapon to divide. – Obama on Faith
That’s a quote from Barack Obama’s video on his Faith issues page, which I’ve linked above.
Most of you probably don’t know that I’m the co-worship pastor at my home church in Katy. My parents led the music there for 25 years, and the reigns were handed over to my cousin Josh and I this past November. I was raised Republican, and in fact voted for George Bush during his first election to the Presidency. I mostly took what was spoon-fed to me by family and friends during this time, and I guess you could say I had no real views of my own. Politics were something that people up north did, and they didn’t affect me because I was too young for any of it to matter.
When I entered the Army in 2003, I started to think a lot about politics. The main reason I went into the service was because of 9/11. It sounds cheesy, but I truly felt like I needed to do something significant and play a part in something much greater than myself. While deployed overseas, I started to look at the world around me and began to realize that something just wasn’t right. When I set foot on Iraqi soil, I felt like I was doing something great, but by the time my feet left the ground to come home, I knew deep in my heart that something inside of me had completely and totally changed.
For the first time in my life, I realized that my ideals and my hopes fell on the Democratic side of things, and I was at peace with that.
Here’s where I stand: I can’t make myself believe that Jesus would be happy that His name is being used as a cause for war. Jesus was a revolutionary, sure, but He was also the most peaceful being to ever set foot on the earth. When I hear people talk about “Jesus wants this” and “Jesus wants me to be President”, I cringe and throw up in my mouth a little bit, because that just isn’t Jesus at all. Jesus was about feeding the poor, healing the sick, and reaching out to those less fortunate than ourselves. To me, America being the police of the world just doesn’t reconcile with that. Instead of trying to force our way of life on people, no matter what we believe is right, we should simply reach them and love them. I firmly believe that the war in Iraq was a phony war; the real war was (and still is) in Afghanistan.
I have debates with others in my church about this, and it seems like we’re on totally different wavelengths most of the time. My stance is that our country could do so much good for the poor, the downtrodden, not just in countries around the world, but instead we’re using that money to fight a war that really has no meaning whatsoever. Iraq is NOT a breeding ground for terrorists; trust me, I’ve been there, and most of you probably haven’t. Most of the country is homeless and displaced, and we’re shoving weapons in their faces in the middle of the night, creating a state of fear and despair, and it seems like we’re doing it in the name of Jesus Christ, and that’s wrong. Jesus doesn’t pick sides — He doesn’t like America better than other countries because we have big churches. He doesn’t love Republicans more than He loves Democrats. And actually, if you look at the history of Christ, he’d probably be labeled a liberal by the media today.
Jesus Christ loves every human equally — He loves me just as much as much as He loves the guys who are trying to kill my friends in Iraq. It’s a hard concept to grasp, but it’s true. I have a difficult time understanding it, but I’m starting to get it.
So why don’t we use our resources to LOVE people instead of going to war with them?
Everything I’ve said above describes why I’m voting for Barack Obama on Tuesday in the Texas primaries.
I’m going to finish this post by leaving you with two quotes from Derek Webb, my favorite songwriter. Derek is a bit of a revolutionary; he doesn’t sell records in the Christian industry because he speaks the unvarnished truth, and I hope you find a bit of that truth in the quotes below.
There are two great lies that I’ve heard…the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die…and that Jesus Christ was a white middle class Republican…and if you want to be saved, you have to learn to be like Him. — Derek Webb, Mockingbird
So my first allegiance is not to a country or a man/My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood/it’s to a King and a Kingdom — Derek Webb, Mockingbird