I usually steer away from blatant partisan politics. I don't mind discussing political ideas on an issue by issue basis, but you won't find me rooting for politicians, much less political parties like I cheer on the Horns and Arsenal FC. As a sports fan, I pull for my team regardless of who is coaching or how well we are doing. When people align themselves to specific politicians or political parties, it can sometimes distort their perspective and they fail to criticize their man, woman, or party.
It is my opinion that Christians are best served by political independence. If they choose to vote, they should vote based on their convictions arising out of their faith, but they should always be willing to criticize the poor policies and actions of any elected official, whether they voted for them or not. Equally, they should be quick to applaud the strong decisions made by those for whom they did not vote.
Having lived overseas for 6 & 1/2 years, I feel like I have a unique perspective on things both inside and outside of the United States. One of the things that continues to frustrate me about American culture is its insularity. I cringe when I hear people say things like, "The US is the greatest country in the world." Many of the people I've heard say this have never visited another country, much less lived in one. Every country in the world has its fair share of flaws, as well as its beauty and strengths. I find it incredibly disturbing to think that so many American Christians spend time praying for our nation and then fail to pray for the nations of the world.
Throughout the Biblical story, God has always held a soft spot for the widows, the orphans, and the aliens. God longs for his people to give a voice to those without a voice. Often, the outsiders are the ones closest to God's heart. I have probably not been as aware of those on the margins as I should have been in the past, although I have reached out from time to time. I have testified in immigration court on behalf of a friend who was granted political asylum in this country based on my testimony. And yes, he is from one of the countries on the present ban list. When in Ireland, we befriended dozens and dozens of immigrants, as well as the local Irish. Juli and I offered to take in a teenage asylum seeker from a Muslim country a few years back (a country also on the present ban list). He declined our offer because he would have lost some of his state benefits, like medical care had he taken us up on our offer. He eventually was granted asylum and is living a productive life in Ireland. I say this, not to blow my own horn, but to let the reader know that though I am not a "Mother Teresa" as it relates to this issue, I have had the opportunity to interact with some beautiful people from some beautiful places in the world and God has blessed me and my family through those encounters. All humanity has been created in the image of God.
My Christian convictions do not allow me to support the recent executive actions of my president. I will not allow fear to overcome my faith. If Christians really believe what we claim to believe, then we should not cower in a corner, but we should be the first to provide a voice for the widow, the orphan, and yes, the alien. I love John's vision toward the end of Revelation where the nations stream into the new Jerusalem in the renewed creation. "And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. It's gates will never be shut by day - and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations." (Rev 21:23-26, NRSV).
If this is what God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven looks like, then as God's people we have a responsibility to work for that reality in the here and now. Let's not just pray those words, but let's put those words into action. And if we do it, I believe we'll meet some beautiful people along the way. - Shay