The high-powered and, frankly, militaristic rhetoric kept telling us that "country" should be put above everything else -- including family and friendship. But what about faith? Should country be put ahead of faith, too? I kept wanting to yell back at the people yelling at me about putting the country first and say, "No, not me, I'm a Christian."In the spirit of putting "faith first," in Jim's words, Heather is talking about starting a group at school called "Duke Divinity students for Jesus (and in the meantime, for Barack Obama)". I predict that this will appall some of our colleagues, but it's at least an effort to explicate the nuanced position of a politically engaged Christian in America.
It's important that we continue to imagine and practice ways of working for good through the political system while making clear to everyone that our citizenship is in heaven. It's a problem that putting an Obama button on my backpack, or a Jesus fish on my car, or a Mets sticker on my laptop, all seem to carry the same valence: those are my allegiances. I don't know whether to blame politics for being so absolutist ("Obama supporters agree with him in every way") or Christian culture for being so simplistic ("All you have to do is say you believe in Jesus, and then you're in") but I'm looking for more nuanced perspective in political discourse and more genuine depth in Christian discipleship. Is that too much to ask?
I'm wondering if Heather's new group might find a willing member in her academic adviser, who just wrote a rather unenthusiastic book review of a new volume of essays by Christians who choose not to vote.