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Fear and Loathing in American Politics

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Fear and Loathing in American Politics

By Ed Sciulli

This is not a political post.

This is NOT a political post.

THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST.

Now that we have that out of the way - let’s talk about the election.

The upcoming Presidential election dominates the news cycle. One cannot hope to turn on a television or radio, or jump into the internet and escape having the election thrust into our consciousness. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as we should be informed as a citizenry. It just is the reality of our present media.

As the media tries to find new angles in election coverage, often they will interview “normal, everyday” citizens to get the pulse of the electorate. And the one note that has risen to the top of these interviews?

Fear.

Fear of “4 more years” like we just had.

Fear of “allowing a Republican to control the White House”

Fear of “allowing a Democrat to control the White House”

Fear of “those who want to change our rights, gun laws, health care, etc”

Fear of “those who are coming over our borders”

Fear of “them”.

And here’s the thing: for politics, this works. Fear sells. Fear helps to divide the “us” from the “them”, consolidating our power bases. Fear sells ad revenue, so it leads on the nightly news, and fuels our teasers and click-bait headlines.

But, for the Christian, fear kills.

Fear kills the Christian mission to love and serve others.

Fear only lets us see others as a them, not as neighbors. Fear convinces us to focus on the needs of ourselves first, rather than the needs of others. Fear teaches us to hate our enemies.

It’s not that our issues as a country should be ignored. We need to discuss politics. We need to discuss immigration and election cycles and taxes and governance and individual freedoms. The point is that when we are motivated by fear rather than by our calling to serve, we cannot enter into these conversations honestly as ones who bear the name of Christ. We then tend to follow our fears (and those peddling them for their own advantage) as opposed to following The Way.

So, as we wade deeper into the election cycle, let us not be seduced by fear, but by the perfect love that casts out that fear. Then and only then can we as individuals, tribes and a nation begin to make a difference in our families, churches, and communities.

Besides, we all know by now that fear leads to the dark side...

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