Republican or Democrat? Putting Hope Beyond Red or Blue

I have a thing for pomp and circumstance. I famously watched all four hours of President Nixon’s funeral. I watch every second of every inauguration.

The peaceful transfer of power in America moves me; it’s all so civilized. All the naughty behavior of the election season is brushed under the carpet, and grown men exchange the reins of leading the most powerful country on earth.

And I’m no American elitist in this department. I also woke up at 3:30 am to watch William and Kate’s wedding live at my friend Molly’s house, who answered the door in her wedding veil.
Ironic, because I put very little stock in politics.

I like the dressings—the traditions, the ceremony, the legacy—but the inner workings of polarized government actually leave me very cold. My optimism was deflowered in middle school when I found out about the Electoral College …
“So my vote doesn’t actually count?” said the disillusioned 8th grader.
“Well, yes, it technically does.”
“But technically, can someone win the election and lose the Electoral College?”
“Virtually impossible.”
“Technically, yes,” said the annoyed government teacher.
“All truth is dead.”

… and it really never recovered.

So it is with no small degree of dismay I watch my Christian community engage the current election.

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I’m no stranger to the Christian Republican narrative; after all, my home church used to put an election insert into the bulletin on Sunday to tell us who to vote for (straight-ticket Republican). I, like most of my fellow DC Talk-totin’ youth group pals, assumed Christians hedged right, because of obvious reasons, which were actually not obvious at all, but we didn’t ask questions back then.
Let me jump ahead and tell you where I’ve landed: I am a registered independent AND WILL ALWAYS BE.

I will never get in bed with a political party, because full allegiance forfeits the right to call a party to reform, and both parties are in dire need of reform. Full allegiance tempts us to place our hope in secular government fueled by greed and power, and both parties are fueled by greed and power.

Full allegiance silences our prophetic voice in favor of touting party lines and demands we turn our fellow citizens into enemies for differing viewpoints.
I’m concerned, sisters and brothers in Christ, with this unyielding group identification with a political party.

And I know what you’re going to say: Abortion.

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Jen Hatmaker
Jen Hatmaker and her husband, Brandon, live in Austin, TX where they lead Austin New Church and raise their brood. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global non-profits for the individual, collective, and social renewal of Austin and beyond. Jen speaks at events all around the country. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Jen and Brandon have five children: Gavin – 13, Sydney – 11, and Caleb – 9, and they’ve recently added Ben – 8, and Remy – 6 from Ethiopia. Drop her a line or check out her ministry and blog at