Thursday, October 26, 2023

Safe and Unsound

There is not, despite some folks telling you otherwise, a single "correct" Christian position on gun ownership/control. Or immigration. Or a myriad of other contentious political issues. 

That is not, however, permission to choose whatever position makes you the most comfortable or fits best with the views of the political party or candidate you support. The fact that people of faith disagree on the best way forward in difficult issues does not give you carte blanche to weave a cocoon of partisan policies and hot takes to keep your sheltered life safe.

Safe? you ask. Safe from what?

Well, safe from the implications and downstream effects of your beliefs and policy positions.

Every position we take leads inexorably to questions about implementation, enforcement, knock-on effects, unintended consequences, and the (sometimes) vast differences between perceived and actual outcomes. All of those are colored by the governmental system we live under and the explicit and implicit rights we have as citizens under that government.

Simplistic slogans - "Build the wall!", "Defund the police!" - have an appealing sound when they line up with your particular viewpoint... but they are fundamentally unsound as they neglect the real and important difficulties in crafting policies that effectively deal with the issue being debated.

Chances are excellent that your primary sources of news about policies & laws are giving you less than the full story - as each side wants to highlight the beneficial aspects of their cherished proposal and downplay the consequences. One of our responsibilities as citizens is to be well-informed not only of the viewpoints and arguments that we agree with but also those we disagree with... and to be humble enough to learn, grow, and even change our position in light of new information and deeper understanding of the problem.

And, for those of us who claim to follow Jesus, there are the examples and precepts from Scripture - which strongly suggest that there are both individual and communal implications of what we believe and how we behave. We cannot disregard portions of the Bible simply because we don't like the way it calls into question our political allies or our pet policy positions.