Identity Politics: Who are We?

Wherever we look, identity politics seems to have taken over the political debate.

Barak Obama was a master at it:

Want to shut down the government and let everyone fend for themselves? That’s not who we are. Oppose health care for the needy? That’s not who we are. Shut down colleges with differing views? That’s not who we are.

He turned a debate about whether we should continue the runaway growth of government into a debate over who we are.

Andrew Cuomo did the same thing:

Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life,pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

In both cases, these men are painting an unflattering picture of their opposition then seeking to convince the audience that they couldn’t possibly want to support certain policies and thus be like those people.

Most criticism of the left’s identity politics is valid. However, it is important for Christians and conservatives to remember that identify politics has been so successful because it contains a kernel of truth.

The truth is that all politial debate is a debate over our identity, a debate over who we are. Everything we do, everything we say, everything we think is a reflection of who we are in Jesus Christ. Or who we are not.

The left generally uses identity politics to deny Christ as our Lord and Savior. But the problem with much of the right, including many Christians, is that their responses to the left essentially do the same thing by omission. They don’t fully acknowledge Christ’s kingship over civil government because they diminish Scripture’s role in shaping our public policies.

If we want our public life to acknowledge Christ’s kingship and reflect His Word, we should recapture identity politics by proclaiming Christ as Lord over all-even our government.