Politicians often use the Bible to prove a point. Here’s the problem with that…
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Who does the Christian God side with in U.S. politics? The religious demographics of Congress may help reveal the answer. According to Pew Research, 88 percent—or 469 of the 534 total voting members in the 118th Congress installed January 2023—claim Christianity as their religion.
Nearly all congressional Repub-licans—268 out of 271, or 99 percent—say they are Christians, along with about three-quarters of Democrats (201 out of 263, or 76 percent). Both parties are more heavily Christian than are U.S. adults as a whole (63 percent), meaning one could make a case for either side of the political spectrum being in line with God and His views.
Let’s look elsewhere. What about the teachings of specific denominations in modern Christianity? When examining each one’s view on specific political issues, does God land on the left or right?
We will find little help here, either. Ever since Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation and groups broke off from the Catholic Church, Christianity has fractured into hundreds of separate groups, each with its own ideas.
Even within specific branches of Christianity, political leanings are diverse. Just look at Lutherans in the United States. The three main synods are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. ELCA takes a liberal view that women can be ordained, does not condemn homosexuality and believes the Bible should not always be taken literally. LCMS is somewhere in the middle. It condemns same-sex relations and believes God’s Word is literal. WELS is the most conservative and does not even recognize the other two synods as being Lutherans.
Searching for an answer gets even more complex from here. The most significant wrinkle comes when attempting to define what liberal and conservative even mean.
Both political ideologies came into their own around the time of the American Revolution, with their main goal being to remove tyrant rulers. Historically, conservatives stick to long-held traditions and distrust sudden change in society. This viewpoint tends to steer clear of what are seen as abstract, “high-minded” ideas and favors limited government. Liberals also initially believed in small government while emphasizing individual rights. Liberalism is more receptive to societal change due to technological advances and moral shifts.
Simplified, conservatives generally continue with what has worked in the past, slowly offering new changes. Liberals tap into intellectual arguments and theories to bring about swifter change and “justice for all.”
Many of America’s Founding Fathers borrowed from both camps. On some issues, they leaned conservative. On others, they shifted liberal. Much of early United States history was formed along this line of thinking.
The rift between these viewpoints suddenly widened in the early 20th century. Many liberals felt limited government intervention allowed the wealthy to grow too rich, perpetuating a societal imbalance and exploiting the poor.
To correct this, a new form of liberalism was born: the social liberal. This meant government intervention was necessary to take from the rich, usually through higher taxes, and redistribute the funds to the poor. This thinking was behind President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program, which gave rise to Medicare and Medicaid.
With each passing year, the ideals of conservatives and liberals evolve into increasingly varied and complex forms. Rather than reaching a consensus, individual ideas seem to only result in the birth of disagreeing factions. Now there are neo-conservatives, classical liberals, libertarians, green liberals, traditionalist conservatives and so on. There are even liberal conservatives and conservative liberals!
When examining the modern religious and political landscapes, the answer to the titular question becomes painfully obvious: God is neither. The God of the Bible transcends political squabbles and interdenominational wrangling.
Yet just because God does not skew right or left, it does not mean you cannot know who and what He is—and His view on the many problems facing mankind.
God revealed His Law to ancient Israel in the Old Testament. Comprised of commandments, statutes, judgments and precepts, God’s Law evidences His viewpoints on a wide range of civic, social, environmental and other issues.
The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) establish that there is right and wrong behavior. God also explained that there are penalties when one breaks His laws (Lev. 26:14-39). All this would seem to align God’s views with traditional conservative ideas.
On the other hand, God also explains that He is merciful and gracious (Psa. 116:5). He promises to bless and care for those who heed Him (Deut. 28:1-14). He also says that He watches over the poor, widows, orphans and foreigners among His people. This would seem to place Him firmly in the camp for the “social justice” Christians.
In addition, God proclaims His love for all human beings and countries (John 3:16), going so far as to promise that, one day, all nations will be blessed (Gen. 26:4). His love and compassion extend so far that He promises to do away with all pain, sorrow and death (Rev. 21:4).
However, this same God who explains that He is love (I John 4:8) also announces that He will bring His furious wrath upon those who disobey Him (Nah. 1:2). He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7) and will bring destruction on the wicked (Psa. 37:20).
God’s unique and perfectly balanced combination of compassion and swift justice is unseen in the political philosophies of men.
To those reared in traditional Christianity, many of these verses could seem to contradict the concept of God they have been taught all their lives—a deity who has never matured beyond the point of a moody teenager. The world’s ministers, pastors and religionists teach either an out-of-control, fire-and-brimstone “God” who devours those who upset Him—or a pacifist, weak, “come as you are,” permissive “God” who allows everyone to do whatever they please as long as they “just have love.”
Both extremes contradict the true God, who exercises perfect balance, moderation, judgment and discernment in all His decisions. In every aspect of life—personal, social or educational—God demonstrates what could be considered both liberal and conservative thinking.
If this sounds strange, recognize this: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).
God does not limit His ability to make correct and just decisions by locking Himself into any of man’s political ideologies.
Fiscal Responsibility and Service
Citing III John 2, many churches correctly teach that God wants Christians to be blessed and prosper. Yet these same religious organizations often neglect to teach that He requires people to do their part—to work hard, save their income and be wise stewards (or managers) of their finances.
Few today understand that God has a detailed financial system that, when obeyed, yields blessings. The core component of this system is tithing. God wants men to demonstrate their ability to save money and “stretch a dollar” by giving Him the first 10 percent of their income. In return, He promises those who trust Him abundant blessings and a significant gain on investment (Mal. 3:8-10).
God’s financial system also includes mercy upon the poor and those struggling economically. He commands men not to oppress the impoverished by exacting interest from them (Ex. 22:25) and to mete out debt relief by a fair and forgiving standard (Deut. 15:1-2). In addition, all citizens are to do their part in taking care of the poor by making sure their needs are met (vs. 7-11).
For instance, God required farmers to leave enough crops during the harvest season “for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow” to be their food (Deut. 24:19-22). However, these same disadvantaged people had to labor—they had to work in the fields and glean the crops for themselves.
Clearly, both sides of the political and social spectrum—conservative investment and fiscal responsibility on the one hand, relieving the poor on the other—are simultaneously reflected within God’s view on money.
Crime and Punishment
Modern criminal justice systems struggle with how to uphold the laws of the land effectively. Some governments follow a permissive course, such as tolerating illegal drug use and other social ills. Other systems exact terrible punishment for the simplest infractions—and even punish victims of the crimes along with the criminals who committed them.
Many legal systems are powerless to actually punish criminals, with the most horrific offenders sometimes released without punishment.
Even those who are imprisoned live comfortable lives that are often better than those in ghettos and other dying communities that inspired them to a life of crime in the first place.
The slow process of court systems, legal battles and appeals often takes years—allowing criminals to gloss over the whole purpose of reform. As a result, Ecclesiastes 8:11 becomes a reality: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
In contrast to these extremes, God designed a balanced system of justice and equity. He explains that the penalty for any crime should be as severe as the original infraction (Ex. 21:23-25) and that some crimes require the perpetrator to restore more than the initial damages (22:1).
The world’s religions and philosophies often profess extreme and opposing opinions regarding the environment and wildlife. Some believe the entire Earth is sacred and, therefore, man should not harm it—even going so far as to avoid eating animals or tapping natural resources. At the other extreme are those who believe any animal can be slaughtered without cause and that all the Earth’s resources are man’s to squander without repercussion.
In the first chapter of Genesis, God says He gave man dominion over the Earth and all animals (vs. 26-30). This includes its natural resources. God also provided certain animals for man’s diet and explicitly outlined which animals should and should not be eaten (Lev. 11).
Concerning natural resources, God also set a clear example for their use by commanding that the ark of the covenant, as well as articles in the Holy Tabernacle, be constructed of fine wood, precious metals and the best materials available (Ex. 25-27).
Along with using natural resources, mankind is charged with taking care of the Earth (Gen. 2:15). Part of this responsibility includes giving the land a rest from farming every seventh year (Lev. 25:1-4). Clearly, God’s view is to conserve the land. He created the Earth to be used appropriately, not abused.
Religionists of traditional and modern Christianity selectively choose which of God’s views and laws to preach and which to ignore. So do those of the conservative right and liberal left who turn to churches and religious leaders for political support.
This broken system leaves many frustrated and angry, like Lot from the Old Testament.
Lot was a righteous man who lived in Sodom, a city known for its wickedness. Despite the corruption around him, Lot remained steadfast in his beliefs and did his best to live a righteous life. However, the political and moral corruption of Sodom eventually became too much for Lot to bear. He became “vexed” (II Pet. 2:7-8) by the sin and immorality around him.
Like Lot, many people today can feel upset by society’s political division and wrong conduct. The polarization can be overwhelming and upsetting, leading to a sense of hopelessness and distrust of progressive and conservative politicians and those claiming to be moderate.
Much of this distrust is fueled by what citizens see as bald corruption and dishonesty.
Both liberals and conservatives are subject to human nature, which invites illicit conduct. Leaders on both sides can be impacted by money, lobbyists, and the opportunity for power and influence. Yet, sadly, while there is often intense partisan rhetoric in the media and online, politicians from both sides often work together behind the scenes in pursuit of selfish gain. This all occurs while average citizens are led to believe the views on either side of the political aisle are irreconcilable.
The political divide in the United States often results in people voting for the left in one cycle and the right in the next, in search of permanent solutions. The repeated failures of liberals and conservatives to fix problems points to the need for a truly just and righteous government, which only God can bring. Read Isaiah 9:6-7.
Thankfully, the God who hates evil (Prov. 8:13) and yet is reasonable—who says to all who are willing, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18)—will soon establish His government upon the Earth. It will administer true justice and equity for all nations. Therefore, a Christian’s ultimate allegiance is to God, not a political party.
To learn more about God’s coming government, read our free booklet What Is the Kingdom of God?