A Week LaterI thought that since a week had passed it would be fair to look at the election situation in brief. To start, two articles are worth reading, representing two different perspectives on the results, specifically the evangelical factor. The first, which is garnering all sorts of buzz, is by Gary Wills, from here in Evanston. This article in the New York Times, sees the re-election of G.W. Bush and the impact of the evangelical vote, as the official end of the enlightenment in the US. The other article, presenting a more nuanced view, is by Omri Elisha and is found on therevealer.org, explaining that evangelicals see G.W. Bush as an Esther figure more than a Messiah.
For my own perspective, I would simply like to point out for those still in conservative evangelical settings what is going on here, a liberal christian setting. If you could imagine how the people of NE Indiana would have felt if G.W. Bush had lost the election, this is fairly descriptive of the mood here. (even better, if you can remember how Christians in the Bible Belt felt when Bush the first lost to Clinton in 92, you have a general idea of what the feelings are here.) I have heard people say things like "I can't believe we did it again", people questioning the sovereignty of God (normally not a problem around here), and wondering who in the world are these people who are voting for Bush. Where do they come from anyway? The mood of lament and mourning has been thick since election night, now being transferred to the heightened battles in Iraq but having their immediate source in Bush's victory. Some, who are really looking at the information, are being forced to accept the fact that this is not some backroads group of crazies voting for Bush, nor is it simply the economically benefited, but rather is the majority of the voting public. (For an interesting look at the issue, including trying to pinpoint how divided or republican the country actually is, check out these sweet maps) In an election where most people could have gone either way, for whatever reason, people opted for Bush. (Again, the article by Elisha provides a possible explanation for this.)
In general, and what is my temporary conclusion on the issue, the Christian left has fallen into the same mistake of the Christian right, placing their hope, energies, and focus in a particular political party, in a particular person, and ultimately in the U.S. government. "If only Kerry would have won..." peace would be increased on the earth, the poor would be cared for, the world would better experience freedom. What is lacking in the conservative Christian celebration and the liberal Christian lament is a total commitment to Christ and an understanding that only through Christ can we have salvation. As I have said before, neither political party is going to save America, Americans, or the world because that is simply not the function of the United States of America. In the end, government will continue to service those who are in positions of power and influence at the expense of those who are not. To believe that either party is working toward peace, justice, and equality is a false hope that will continue to be disappointed for all of time. Instead, they are working for a type of peace, justice, and equality that ultimately benefits themselves. In the end, only Jesus Christ can provide true peace, justice, and equality this. Our hope, then, is in the eschatological reign of God that is promised to come, and we work towards that hope through the Body of Christ, the church, putting our energies into caring for the poor and bringing peace in the world, not the US government, yet knowing that "only God can save". What America (and the world) needs is not for a Christian left to develop, organize, and take over the public understanding of Christianity but rather for the church to develop, organize, and work against the US Government (when necessary) for the sake of the world, regardless of who is at the helm.