Last-minute exam for Christians who vote

Nov 8, 2016 by

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Between 1890 and 1960, many states in the South imposed a literacy test for would-be voters, effectively denying most African Americans the right to cast a ballot.

This was anything but a good idea, but I’m wondering whether followers of Jesus shouldn’t brush up on some teachings in the Bible — and those of its faithful adherents — before they decide whether or how to vote.

Here’s a test: Show that you can recognize the positions of the following by matching the names below with their statements on the use of violence:

a. Jesus (in his inaugural address)
b. The apostle Paul (in a letter to Christians in the capitol city of Rome)
c. The apostle Peter (in a letter to scattered churches in the Roman empire)
d. St. John Chrysostom (Homily XXXIII on Matthew’s gospel)
e. Hillary Clinton (foreign policy speech)
f. Donald Trump (campaign speech)
g. The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu
g. Barak Obama (foreign policy speech)

___ 1. “ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because of the oil that they took away, they have some in Syria, they have some in Iraq… I would just bomb those suckers, and that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up ever single inch, there would be nothing left.”

___ 2. “At the end of the day, we still must be prepared to go after terrorists wherever they plot, using all the tools at our disposal, that includes targeted strikes by U.S. military aircraft and drones, with proper safeguards when there are any other viable options to deal with continuing imminent threats.”

____ 3. “Altering the mentality of foes is far greater and more marvelous than killing them; the apostles were only twelve, while the whole world was filled with wolves. Let us then be ashamed, who do the contrary, who like wolves assault our enemies. For as long as we are sheep, we conquer, and even though ten thousand wolves lurk around us, we overcome and prevail. But if we become wolves we are defeated, for the Shepherd will then deprive us of his help, because he feeds sheep not wolves.”

____ 4. “As I outlined in my speech to the nation last weekend, our strategy is moving forward with a great sense of urgency on four fronts — hunting down and taking out these terrorists; training and equipping Iraqi and Syrian forces to fight ISIL on the ground; stopping ISIL’s operations by disrupting their recruiting, financing and propaganda; and, finally, persistent diplomacy to end the Syrian civil war so that everyone can focus on destroying ISIL.”

____ 5. “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

____ 6. “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”

____ 7. “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”

____ 8. “When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”
“Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth.”

Answers: 1. Donald Trump, 2: Hillary Clinton, 3. St. John Chrystosom, 4. Barak Obama, 5. Jesus (Matt. 5:43-46), 6. the apostle Peter (I Peter 2:23-25), 7. the apostle Paul (Rom. 12:19-21), 8. Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation. He blogs at Harvspot, where this first appeared.

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