Love God. Love People. this is the great commandment

It’s Friday, three days after Barack Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States. Many citizens remain in shock and awe, some in disbelief, anger and despair, too many have posted facebook and twitter hatred, and yet others are elated for four more years. No matter where you find yourself in that line-up, take heart. God still reigns. President Obama is not God, and neither is Mitt Romney. Both are mere men with flawed ideas.

What pains me though is that many of the frontline maligners are people who call themselves “God’s own.” Christians are the loudest haters. Y’all should check ya’self before you wreck ya’self. It’s a sad day when politics can be the source of such bitter division within Christian circles and it’s the evangelicals who come out more passionate about their politics than they are about the simple commandment to love God and love people. In that regard, this election was telling in more ways than one.

What is a righteous Christian response when the person you don’t want to win, wins an election? Stomp your feet and spew venom? Frank Schaeffer, son of evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) asks, “Do Christians Have Something Better To Do Than Spending the Next 4 Years Hating and Lying About President Obama The Way They Did For The Last 4 Years?” Frank Schaeffer.

Shaeffer writes, “The Republican Party may or may not rise to the occasion and change. But there’s no reason that Christians can’t distance ourselves from a political movement dedicated to willful ignorance. It’s time to put following Jesus ahead of denying other people their basic human rights, their basic humanity and trying to win elections even when it costs your soul.” Amen.

I’m with Frank on this one. The country has spoken and hopefully Christians and Republicans are listening. Can we find ways to connect, share, and love people who aren’t like us, instead of vilifying everybody we disagree with? I certainly don’t agree with everything any politician puts forth, but I also don’t agree with the ugly divisive rhetoric put forth by too many of “God’s own.” I’m searching for common ground and a willingness to work hard at seeing the viewpoints of all people, but especially those living and struggling at the disenfranchised fringes of our highly stratified and unjust society. God calls me to love them too.

Remember this? Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “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.” ~Matthew 22:34-40

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About Calenthia Dowdy

Calenthia Dowdy (PhD, American University) is a cultural anthropologist and youth ministry educator who focuses on urban youth and culture in the U.S. and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Alongside teaching, speaking and writing on youth, cities, race, gender, and faith, she serves as the director of faith initiatives at a comprehensive community health center that specializes in HIV/AIDS care