Identity Crisis in Faith and Politics No More – Get Real

This one is scary for me to write. I don’t always like taking a stand so publicly. Then again, it’s not all about me, is it?

I recently had a discussion with two friends about my faith and my political choices. One is a conservative, Christian and Republican. The other is a Democrat not claiming or denying a faith at the moment. (at least to my knowledge) I felt somewhere in the middle. After our conversation I thought, what if there are more people like me who feel conflicted about being a Christian and voting for Democrats?

My hands are sweating as I type this but here we go … this is based solely on my own experiences.

First, I grew up in a place and in a family where the only way to be was to be a Christian. I couldn’t even comprehend someone not believing in God. The biggest argument was are you Baptist or are you Catholic? I didn’t meet an atheist until I got to college. Even then, I didn’t believe them. I’ve offered prayer and support but I’ve never been the ‘type of Christian’ to shout from the roof top that Jesus saved me. Why? Because even though I believe He is my Savior, I was afraid that others would laugh at me or worse, challenge me.

That’s not what I’m most ashamed about when it comes to  my faith. What I am most ashamed about is that recently, I’ve allowed comments from other ‘Christians’ to have an effect on my own faith. I couldn’t stand the hateful comments I would read/hear coming from ‘Christians’ about the gay/lesbian community when the whole Chic-fil-a debacle happened. “Aren’t we as ‘Christians’ supposed to love as Jesus loves,” I kept asking myself.

In this election year, the big guns came out. People have been criticizing Obama’s faith (as they understand it) and so much more. Some, not all, conservative Christians are encouraging all Christians to vote for Romney, or any GOP candidate for that matter. I cracked. I said out loud, “I don’t want to be like those Christians.” Boy, was I afraid what my Jesus would think of me. Did He think all Christians should vote for the GOP party?

I voted already. I voted for Obama. And while I encouraged others to vote, I didn’t specify who I thought they should vote for. I didn’t want all the comments on my online social platforms much less in person. Plus, I have a lot of Christian friends who I know are voting for Romney. What would they think? Well, frankly, they have the right to think whatever they want. And I have the same right. Republicans don’t own the Christian faith.

So in the Bible does it say marriage is between man and woman? Yes. Does it indicate that abortion is wrong? I think so. These are the two topics that challenge me the most personally. These are two topics that clash when it comes to being a Christian and a Democrat. How can we deny rights to others? Are we really keeping the sanctity of marriage if the gay/lesbian community don’t even have a choice? What about women? Are they really ‘choosing’ life if they don’t even have a choice?

Here’s what I’ve come to terms with: we each will have to answer to a Higher Being, for me it will be God, in the end. I have to know with all my heart and soul that I leave that judgement up to Him, not any man or woman. In the Bible, Jesus walked with those who didn’t believe in Him as much as those who did. We are commanded to love our neighbors. I want to love others as He did. I can share the love and mercy I believe God has shown me. I can encourage them to seek the same. Only they can decide for themselves.

FYI, I most likely won’t respond to hateful comments. I’m not looking for approval or arguments. If there is anyone else who has had similar dilemmas, well, I hope this helps for you to know that you are not alone.

Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

Original content creator for ¿Qué Means What? Texas Latina mom blogger celebrating culture in education, entertainment and family life.

10 Responses

  1. This weekend’s readings were about God’s commandment to love one other. At the end of the day, that’s all He asks us to do.

  2. Morena says:

    At 18 I went off to a liberal arts Catholic University (St. Mary’s). They turned me into a radical, socialist hippy, just like Jesus. LOL. I don’t personally feel conflict with being a Democrat and a Christan. But I understand where you’re coming from.

    • mendezgonzales says:

      Thanks for commenting Morena! I think it was just because I kept the two ‘identities’ so separate because we aren’t ‘supposed’ to talk about them. It was becoming too much for me to keep in. I love it: radical, socialist hippy, just like Jesus. 🙂

  3. I think I know how you feel. I feel torn because I agree with Democrats on some issues and Republicans on other issues. I’ve been trying to focus on acting locally; I can focus on one problem and try to make a difference.

    • mendezgonzales says:

      Thanks Inga. One problem at at time is a great way to go about it. I think you make a difference with your blog and all the information you share about charter schools. Thanks again for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. AMEN! I know EXACTLY how you feel. I too shy away from public political stands because I don’t want to have to explain my choice. Like you I am encouraging everyone to vote but not telling them how I think they should. I am a Democrat and a Catholic. I agree that we should love as Jesus did and feel that helping others is our obligation as Christians not our burden. Thank you for being brave and expressing your respectful opinion. Even if I didn’t agree with your choices I would respect your honesty and risk. You inspire me.

    • mendezgonzales says:

      Thanks Lilli! I know it’s a touchy subject but I was just ready to talk/blog about it. I just kept thinking there had to be others that kinda felt the same way. I appreciate your comments sooo much! Mil gracias!

  5. Melanie, you’re brave for discussing this topic so openly. I love that about you. 🙂 You know where I stand (and how confused I am about this whole religion thing). I appreciate your ability to be open and to listen and talk with me about important and sensitive topics. So glad you are my friend.

  6. Laura Aplin says:

    Seriously, this is EXACTLY how I feel! I’m so glad I’m not alone. In fact, I wasn’t afraid to wear my Obama sticker in my NE side neighborhood but near my church on the SE side. I have had so many conversations about this fear with my family but as I see it, I have to ask myself what would Jesus do and He would walk among the hurting, homeless and recovering. For this, I must follow my democratic convictions. I love this post and highly commend you for your bravery. In fact, I think this will make me want to speak up more.

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