In the wake of this week's vice-presidential debates, a new wave of memes have come out on Facebook. Although I usually roll my eyes at the overly-simplified worldviews that most of these memes espouse, as well as the fact that most memes can easily be disproved with simple logic, one meme really caught my ire:
There are three major reasons I dislike this meme.1. It increases the stereotype that Christians think Republicans are from God and that Democrats are evil.
I go to a secular university, and most of my friends are liberal. When I try talking about the Gospel, the first thing that usually comes up is "That means you are Republican, right?" I wince at that. I am Republican, but I do not equate my beliefs with Republicanism. What my friends mean is that they see Christians as the mercenaries of the Republican Party, or that Christians believe that Democrats are heathens and that Republicans are sent from God.
I hate this stereotype, because I don't think it's true. I don't agree with the Republican Party on every issue, and I don't think that it is ordained by God. But this meme plays directly into the stereotype that the world sees Christians as being, because it is stretching a Bible verse to make it apply to a candidate that Christians don't personally like. It also makes Christians look like they are using their faith for political gain, by personally attacking a candidate.2. It ignores Romans 13.
Paul writes in Romans 13:1-2 (ESV):
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."
We live in a country that allows great freedom of speech. But Christians are called to a higher standard than the regular banter and rhetoric of politics. If someone made a meme that quoted Biden's un-Christian stance on say, abortion, and then said that he or she wouldn't vote for him, I would have no issue with that. But this meme is a personal attack, presuming that the Bible (and therefore God) says Biden is a fool and that Ryan is a wise man. Biden is our current vice president. He is a God-given authority and needs to be respected, even if we disagree with him.3. It's not really even logical.
If this meme was brilliant, I might give it some more leeway, but it really isn't. It's just another standard name-calling screed, cloaked in holiness. In the end, whether or not the meme is true just comes down to personal opinion. About half of Americans thought that Biden won the debate. If half of Americans thought that a fool won, does that mean that they are fools too? What if I thought that Ryan came across as a fool? Does that make me a fool? Can we objectively call anyone a fool? What about Jesus's warning in Matthew 5:22?
In the end, I have to ask, is this meme helping or hurting the cause of the Gospel? Are we making others more or less open to God's Word when we apply it to a political agenda? Everything we do should be for the advancement of the Gospel. Does this help? Based on what my unsaved friends think about Christianity and what this meme would imply to them, I know the answer!What do you think about this internet meme? What do you think it says about Christians? Was the creator of the image correct in his or her judgment of the situation? Why or why not? What can we as Christians do to better convey the Gospel?