Right or Left of Center?

by Mark Klages, Christian Examiner Contributor |
Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey | DonkeyHotey/Flickr

Where do you stand?

On one side of the aisle, we have a President who refuses to honor longstanding tradition of releasing his tax returns. Tax returns are important because, as we've been told, a President without independent financial standing could be ripe for foreign influence. Again, as we've been told, that could come in the form of steering foreign policy favorably toward a specific foreign power in return for financial dispensation either during or after the President leaves office. Such a weakness falls into the category of National Security.

According to The New York Times, the side of the President is accusing the Democrats of politicizing the tax code. They claim such action could pose serious consequences for every American and are seeking additional legal guidance prior to making their decision final. However, without significant legal leverage, it is very doubtful the President's side will release his tax returns.

On the other side of the aisle, we have a Speaker and numerous Chairs of committee who have threatened impeachment and continue issuing subpoenas with further threats of contempt to any official who fails to comply. These subpoenas cover the likes of the full, non-redacted Mueller Report, former White House Counsel Don McGahn's documents and testimony regarding the ongoing investigation of obstruction, and Deutsche Bank's records related to the President's finances.

On all counts, the President and his side of the aisle have rejected outright or battled at every step every effort of Democrats to get information leading to this constitutional subpoena crisis. Rather than acknowledging the need of the party of the people to have information, those in the Grand Old Party prefer a combative stance over cooperation. Claiming the Democrats are acting solely for political reasons and seeking information to damage the President's chances at re-election in 2020, the GOP has taken a very clear "us vs. them" stance that appears to be reinforcing the divide between these United States' two major political parties. Democrats appear perfectly happy to oblige the Republicans' choice, with Mrs. Pelosi (D–CA) recently claiming the Legislative Branch is superior to the Executive Branch.

And America sighs in collective frustration.

So, Christian, where do you stand, and can you articulate why?

Here's the thing. Jesus was a servant leader. He spoke more harshly against false leaders in the church than He did against non-believers in any role. Still, the Bible is very clear – submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1), pray for our leaders (1 Tim 2:2), and do not sin in doing so (John 8:11).

Never in the Bible does Jesus say to follow our leaders blindly. Rather, He directs us to even test the spirits (1 John 4:1) to be certain we are following God's Word at all times. To put that into today's parlance, following President Trump without validating his decisions through scripture is wrong. Conversely, following Congresswoman Pelosi or Senator Schumer without testing their actions is also wrong. This doesn't mean a Christian cannot be a devout Republican or Democrat nor does it mean a Christian cannot be aligned with a political platform. It simply means each Christian has the responsibility to test each action and each tenet against scripture and only support those that follow scripture.

Imagine sitting with Christ in the anteroom to the House of Representatives watching CNN on the television and waiting to address Congress. While waiting you and Jesus are listening to Speaker Pelosi talk about the superiority of Congress or Trump's tax returns or a woman's right to choose. Now, what do you say when Jesus turns to you and says, "Do you agree with Mrs. Pelosi?" Now imagine the next clip is about President Trump tweeting "Investigate the investigators – no collusion!" or Don McGahn refusing to answer the call for documents, or a recap of President Trump's "locker room humor" tape.

The answer isn't easy. Unless we are well read in the Bible we might try using logic or public school education. We learn in Civics that these United States are based on three equal branches, the Judiciary, the Executive, and the Legislative, with necessary checks and balances. No single branch is more powerful, more necessary, or more valuable than either of the other two. But from a Biblical perspective, should we support our very seasoned representative in her assertion?

What about supporting the President? I mean, he suffered nearly two years and tens of millions of dollars investigating what turned out to be a wild goose chase possibly based on false information to begin with. Is the President justified in trying to be vindicated? Is vengeance, in this case, warranted?

Test the spirits, Christian. Don't just agree because the speaker represents an elephant or a donkey. Don't just follow blindly because "Jesus said to submit to authority." Rather, test what you hear against scripture and follow only those who don't offend Christ.

Of course, that means we read scripture more than we read FOX News. Something to think about. Something to stand upon.

– Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.