Many of our presidential candidates this election season identify as Christians. For some it’s a lifestyle, for some it’s just a title, some use it as a means of gaining supporters. Generally, it works; people who identify as Christians make up a large percentage of voters. Christians are usually stereotyped to be conservative Republicans and their voting choices reflect that.

Something that endlessly bothers me with a large part of these religious conservative Republican people is that, in terms of politics, I find that many of these people who identify as Christians don’t reflect that in their political views. An example of this is the predominantly Christian Republican party’s stark opposition to the idea of allowing Syrian refugees into the US. Biblically, we’re instructed to help those who need it even if it means personal sacrifice, and we’re called to care for the orphans and widows in their distress. Why, then, are those who call themselves Christians so opposed to that?

I think the problem arises when we start placing our politics before our values. I have seen far too many Christian people choose their candidates based on the Republican and Christian title, as opposed to the candidate’s actual views. Voters then adapt their personal views to be pursuant with those of their candidate and political party.

The problem I think I see is that we have this whole thing backwards. We are letting our political views, candidates, and parties dictate our values. But we should be doing the opposite; we need to decide our beliefs and morals and then choose a candidate which reflects them. For Christians like myself, this needs to be Biblically based. Dubbing oneself “Christian” or “Republican” isn’t nearly as important as reflecting strong morals and virtue. When deciding on a candidate, what counts isn’t the titles, but the actions. We can’t let our politics dictate our values; rather our values should determine our political views. Look for a candidate who holds ethical and moral views that you feel are right, not one who labels themselves under the same religious or political category as you. Actions are everything, because they give us a picture of what our candidates will do as president, more so than anything they say. Actions, beliefs, and values trump polished rhetoric every time, and may we always base our decisions on the former.

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