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Love Thy (Political) Neighbor

Neither Republicans nor Democrats are inherently evil just because of their party affiliation. Nonetheless, fractures over party lines have created a kind of rhetoric that is inevitably dangerous. In one particularly shocking instance, a recent comment was made on the View by Sunny Hostin that breached all bounds of decency:

“As Hostin put it on the program Thursday, the Republican agenda is so opposed to women’s ‘self-interest’ that for women to still vote GOP is ‘like roaches voting for Raid,’ referring to the bug killer.” [1]

On the flip side, an opinion piece published during the height of the COVID pandemic in September of 2020 described Democrats as sheep writing, “Maybe the Democrats should change their party symbol to a sheep instead of a donkey.” [2]

As Christians, we should immediately understand the problem with this kind of rhetoric, even if we ourselves identify with one or the other politically.

In Luke 6:27-29, Jesus teaches a radical lesson on love: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

While this passage is not a call to strict pacifism, it is a call to avoid treating others with contempt simply because we believe they have wronged us. Christians here are warned against the dangers of hate and the dangers of responding “in kind” to their persecutors. The worst possible outcome from such a negative response is that, in addition to the injuries suffered at the hands of the other individual, one would also morally injure their own soul.

The people we disagree with are not animals, they are not roaches or sheep. They are not subhuman. They are not objects without moral worth. They are real, thinking, breathing, feeling beings that are no less deserving of respect than those we consider to be part of our “in-group.”

Unfortunately, a study as far back as 2014 confirmed our unwillingness to recognize the humanity of the opposite political party (although, interestingly, this phenomenon decreased the more the other individuals were viewed as threats). As the summary described it, “Democrats, Republicans See Each Other as Mindless—Unless They Pose a Threat, NYU, Harvard Study Shows.” [3]

This kind of arbitrary partisanship risks another Civil War and flies in the face of the Greatest Commandment: the Love Command.

As Matthew 22:37-40 teaches, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Democrats are not inherently evil, and neither are Republicans. Even though the results of our most recent election cycle are sure to engender feelings of anger and frustration on both sides of the political spectrum, we must all approach one another with the respective and dignity that each human being deserves as a reflection of the image of God Himself and His Creation (Genesis 1:27).

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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