Prays Together: They’ll Know Us by Our Yard Signs?
By Mark Smith
It’s that time of year again. The time when bold letters display the names of men and women who promise to bring back prosperity and change. Candidates from all over ask for the support of voters. And how will people know you are a supporter? Well, if you proudly display their campaign sign in your front lawn, that’s how.
The signs that we display in our yards do tell people a little bit about ourselves. If your signs ask people to vote for a school bond, neighbors might assume you have children or at least want to see money go towards education. An advertisement for a lawn care company tells people you endorse their work, and maybe that you don’t care to cut the grass anymore.
Some people suggest that the political yard signs we choose to display not only show your support for a candidate, but they let people in on your religious leanings as well. The rationale behind that line of thinking is that if you support conservative candidates, then you are more likely to be religious and more specifically, an evangelical Christian. The other side of that coin is that if you support progressive candidates then you probably also think religion is nothing more than superstition. As an example of this, Rev. Franklin Graham recently said on his Facebook page, “Progressive is generally just a code word for someone who leans toward socialism, a person who does not believe in God, and someone who will likely vote against Godly principles that are so important to our nation.”
In my own experience I have known conservatives and progressives who have been devout followers of Christ, only with a slightly different understanding of how they were moved to live out their faith. I have also encountered people on either side of the ideological spectrum who would never be confused for a person of faith. We are mixed up when we start thinking that our politics informs our beliefs rather than the other way around.
Code words and yard signs sure do indicate some things about ourselves, but Jesus said there is another way that people will know if you are a true follower or not. Just before his arrest and crucifixion he had gathered his disciples together for one last meal, and he told them, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” – John 13:35.
It’s not the sign in your yard, or the party that you check off on your voter registration form that let your neighbors know whether or not you follow Jesus. The way you will let people know your religious beliefs is whether or not you allow your faith to influence the way you treat one another. That is the true test to whether one is a Christian or not. So go ahead, and set up your signs, vote for qualified candidates who care about your interests, but when it comes to your faith, just let your actions do the talking.
Mark Smith is pastor at the United Methodist Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-3861.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.