I have both Christian friends who are Democrats and Christians friends who are Republicans, and judging from the way they talk none of them seem to have read their Bible very thoroughly. Reflecting upon the nature of politics and theology in general, I’ve developed a hypothesis that articulates the political divide from a Christian perspective.

Democrats govern the way the world should be.
Republicans govern the way the world is.

Democrats have an ideal that they desire to model this country after. Many of these ideals are taken directly from scripture. What follower of Jesus could argue with the Democrat ideal of caring for those in need? Or ensuring an education for every child? Or protecting the orphans and widows? Or providing a healthy environment for all people? Should not all Christians champion the protection of the vulnerable against those who seek to exploit, as the rich do the poor? As the owners do the laborers? As Wall Street does Main Street? Even a cursory reading of the gospels demonstrates that Jesus values these same ideals and many Christians are Democrats for this very reason: they desire to make our country one in which Jesus could be proud.

Republicans understand human nature and seek to mitigate against our flaws. This understanding of human nature is also taken directly from scripture. Who could argue that human beings are not selfish, proud, egotistical, and sinful? Clearly we are prone to violence, our hearts are lawless, and we are corrupted by power. The Republican system deals with human sinfulness by limiting the government’s abuse of people and people’s abuse of government. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that humans are exceptionally sinful and many Christians are Republicans for that very reason: they desire to deal with sin as prudently as Jesus did.

Do you see the flaw? Neither represents the whole picture of God! Neither the permissiveness of the Democrats nor the authoritarianism of the Republicans adequately captures God’s heart as revealed in scripture. For grace without judgment is utterly meaningless, and judgment without grace is utterly cruel. It is inadequate to offer either without the other. God is both the judge and the forgiver and any political system that minimizes one over the other diminishes the nature of God and will be flawed in its treatment of people.

I urge my Republican friends to consider the whole nature of God. Consider how the government can embody the compassion and mercy of Jesus. Consider how the government can protect the weak. Consider how Republicans favor the privileged. And consider that the Republican platform represents an incomplete image of God.

I urge my Democrat friends to consider the whole nature of God. Consider the human condition. Consider the pervasiveness of sin and its impact on our hearts. Consider how every attempt by a government to institute an ideal fails miserably and ask yourself why. And consider that the Democrat platform represents an incomplete image of god.