I’ve read a lot of conjecture lately about politics and God: Namely, how would Jesus vote? What party would He back? My conclusion? People can twist scripture to affirm any notion they care to affirm, from socialism (Christ did say, “Sell all you have and give your money to the poor”) to Ayn Rand-ian hyper-Capitalism (in Jesus’ parable, those who invested their talents were rewarded, and those who didn’t were punished). In the end, it’s a moot point. Jesus wasn’t about politics. He was about souls.

Still, there are those who argue that America is a Christian country. “One nation under God,” and all that. (No matter that the “under God” is a rather recent development.) If this is so — and I like to think America is more tolerant than to insist that only one religion is the right one — there are a few guiding qualities that we ought to have, attributes that surpass petty political squabbling.

Kindness: Are our politics (and politicians) kind? Is what they stand for kind? What is the kindest approach — the approach Christ would take — toward immigrants, the poor, minorities?

Inclusion: Tax collectors might have been the most detested people in Jesus’ time, but He not only spoke to them, He included them among His disciples. He embraced women, who were not even considered people in His time, but rather possessions. Are our political leanings inclusive? Who do they include? Who do they leave out?

Forgiveness: If there’s one thing Jesus stood for, it’s forgiveness. Are we forgiving toward those who disagree with our political point-of-view or do we trample all over them, hoping our louder voice will drown them out?

Love: God is love. If we want Him to be present in our politics, our politics had best be loving. Is it loving to deny rights to people? Is it loving to punish or impede the side we don’t agree with?

In the upcoming political season, let’s keep these qualities in mind.