"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Politics, Laestadian Style

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Politics, Laestadian Style

My head was spinning the other day, as I read about Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president. Politics certainly makes for strange bedfellows, as the old saying goes.

At the same time, I couldn't help but think about Laestadians, ex-Laestadians, and how their politics has and has not changed over the years.

Growing up in the ALC, most of my fellow parishioners were farmers and unionized workers who tended to vote for the Democratic party. However those were the decades that saw the rise of the Moral Majority, Ronald Reagan, and social conservatives as a voting block. Today I'd be willing to bet most of these folks vote for the Republicans because of their opposition to abortion and gay rights.

As an ex-Laestadian, my own politics has changed over the years as well. As a kid I was a staunch Republican, because I was a social conservative and a fiscal conservative. Questioning the faith of my youth also caused political questioning. I've been a card carrying Libertarian, voted for Ross Perot two times, (I'm a bit embarrassed about the second time) and had a brief flirtation with the Green Party before settling into my current configuration of "votes mainly for Democrats, but is still very fiscally conservative."

I'm supporting Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. On the other hand, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate, I might leave that section of my ballot blank (because of her 'yes' vote authorizing the Iraq war.) So if I'm a Democrat, I'm a conflicted one.

How about you? Has your politics changed with your faith? Do the two inform each other? Do Laestadians tend to vote a certain way, or not at all? If you read this blog from outside of the United States, what is your perspective on the role politics and Laestadianism comes together in your country?



  1. As a Christian, I lean towards the Republican ideas but then the human side of me comes out and I usually have to vote Democratic because it is the lesser of two evils. I think I am getting a little more conservative as I age so I may become more conflicted. However, I am not ready to jump the fence and leave my Democratic Party. I'm not ready for Obama. Some things about him just don't sit will with me. I had an interesting conversation with a group of black co-workers the other day. They all think that Clinton will win the black votes. Especially with the Christian blacks. Obama seems to be rapidly falling from favor. Time will tell.

  2. I,too, was raised in a staunch Republican household (True Christians must be Republican...God said so). My politics changed along with my slow, painful separation from the OALC. I felt compassion for everyone and not just fellow church members. I understood that people have differing world views depending on their upbringing. I realized that you can't change someone else's view, only your own perspective.

    So, I became a registered Democrat. I may disagree with some of their policies and get totally frustrated with their refusal to stand tall at the plate, but the other side is so much more destructive with their world view (in my opinion). I tend to look at each side as a whole and not cherry pick reasons to vote for or against.

    I realized that religion and politics went together for me. As a local preacher has said, "I'm a follower of Jesus and not a worshiper of Christ." I have taken that to heart and find that it very nicely covers both areas
    of my life.

  3. Thanks to all of you who keep this blog going! After I left the OALC, I hung on to many unexamined ideas about how the world should work, and whom to trust with power, and what we owe each other and future generations. I like to think of myself as independent, though I usually vote the Dem line.

    A neighbor recently ran for office and took a lot of flack for evolving in his views about abortion rights and gay marriage. Turns out he was born in a Plymouth Brethren family (like Jim Wallis).

    I'd much rather see someone capable of change than resistant to it, and I was happy he won office.

    John Edwards has my support right now but Al Gore would get my money and vote if he ran.

    Tomte, are you saying you would not vote for Hillary if she is the nominee? Isn't she better than what the right is offering?

  4. I can't fathom being anything other than conservative. I don't associate my currrent political leanings with the OALC or with the fact that I am no longer a part of that sect.

  5. I guess I don't know how I would classify myself. Probably as an independent as well. I have my priorities, and I find the candidate who most closely matches my views.

    Sometimes it's a Democratic candidate, but more often my views line up with those of the Green Party, which is not a majority anywhere.

    Conservative politicians don't really cut it for me. When they can justify spending BILLIONS of dollars on this war when people in our own country, New Orleans for example, are homeless, hungry, and destitute, it's just too much for me to swallow.

  6. Many Trails Home11/12/2007 11:40:00 AM

    TTG, this is a great topic. After the last election, I found I had voted a "split ticket" - split between Democratic nominees and Republican referendums (we have lots of referendums in our state). So I guess I am conflicted as well. Throw the bums out, I say. They are ruining any hope for a future. But politicians in general are more strongly influenced by $$$$'d interests than the "common weal." even if they can determine what that is. So I say, if we want any change, don't look to Washington, we have to get involved in grass roots efforts, build community, etc. I personally have taken two actions: joined the local Quaker group, as they definitely put their actions where their beliefs are and there is no hierarchy, no "preachers" or "priests" to whom one must show allegiance and obedience; ie God speaks in every heart. My son and I baked cookies until 11Pm one night recently as I had volunteered to bring dessert to the local soup kitchen (in a VERY sketchy part of town) for an evening of feeding the homeless - the first time I ever did that, and it was a lovely experience. I have also joined the local effort to start a "Sustainability CV" group as part of the grass roots movement toward sustainability and re-localization in this country.
    These efforst give me hope in what is otherwise an EXTREMELY bleak outlook - just watch the trends in the Wall Street Journal, if you want to get an idea of where we are headed.
    Many blessings. MTH

  7. Free, Yep, I'm saying I might not vote for Hillary if she is the nominee because of her vote to authorize the Iraq war and her subsequent refusal to admit it was a mistake afterwards. At least Edwards admits it was a mistake.

    I'm still very upset with everyone in the Senate who voted for the Iraq war resolution. We're supposed to have a system of checks and balances, but the senators preferred to capitulate to public opinion.

    I still remember Pope John Paul II's call to fast and pray for us not to attack another nation pre-emptively. I still remember the two lone senators with the courage to vote against the war.

    I also remember the Democrats deciding to take Iraq off the table in 2004 by running a candidate who voted for the war resolution. I hope they don't make that mistake again.

  8. While Laestadian: staunch conservative, Republican but even flirting with the Constitution Party.

    While leaving: moderate Republican, flirting with Libertarians.

    Now: cynical Democrat. Democratic primarily because at least they don't champion torture, Big Brother government, and more economic inequality. Cynical, because while the Democrats aren't championing craziness, they aren't doing enough to turn us away from bizarro land and toward sanity.