I recently came across a photograph of a rather well-known celebrity. Although relatively new to fame, she has a tremendous influence on many young people. In this photo, she was endorsing a certain candidate for the upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.
My initial thought was, who would take this seriously? However, I soon came to the realization that, in all honesty, many would. Many would gladly, perhaps even blindly, support someone as significant as a presidential candidate simply because one of their favorite celebrities (sometimes “celebs”) suggested that they should.
Why is this? Well, for one, and a relatively recent factor in terms of our modern election cycles, is the reality and influence of social media. Prior to the advent of social media platforms, we did not have very direct and personal access to our favorite stars. We instead, relied on television, tabloids, and radio to find out what they were up to. But not anymore. Today, because of social media, we can see what our favorite celebrities had for dinner, where they got their hair done and what kind of exercise they do at the gym.
It seems almost as if they are our friends. We feel a sort of closeness to them, even to the point where we esteem their opinions as highly, if not higher, than our very own.
Now, I am not resolved to conclude that it is inherently wrong to follow celebs on social media. In fact, if I were to say that, I would be no more than a hypocrite, as I too follow a few of my favorite actors and singers on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Rather, what I would like to persuade you to do, is to engage in a close examination the following points, particularly with regard to politics, voting, and celebrities.
1. We Are Not The Same
Celebrities, although they may seem to share much in common with us, at the end of the day, are not like us. Why? For one, they are wealthier than us. That fact inevitably plays a role in all of this. In my case, the income differences between the celebs I follow and myself are on completely different levels, in fact, hardly the same spectrum. But why is this important? Well, when it comes down to celebs and who they may choose to help, rich people often tend to look out for themselves and their own interests. Sure, they may say that they are looking out for minorities and the disadvantaged, but do you really think a commercial artist, who brags about making my year’s salary in a week, genuinely cares about me? I would say no. Many celebs would stop at little to preserve, maintain and perpetuate their social status. In today’s especially polarized political climate, this often translates to endorsing politicians who suit their needs. These politicians are even regarded as a means to their ends and visa-versa. I’m not going to presume that all celebs engage in this or that their motives are completely devoid of sincerity. However, in cases where celebrities advocate for a specific politician, we should take care do our own research and thus intelligently determine whether or not our values and beliefs line up with theirs. We should do this before being wooed by the shout-outs and photo-ops or merely because of the fact that our favorite artist likes them. Some celebrities have impressive business sense and are very credible but we may never know whether or not they have a hidden agenda.
2. Celebrities Can Be Bought
Coming from a Dominican background, and understanding how corrupt a country’s politics can be, I am no less convinced that here in America we are equally as susceptible. And this will tie in with my last point concerning our ability to discern a celebrity’s motives, or any public figure for that matter. We need to seek out the truth and be wary of the possibility of being swayed in any given direction. Odds are, the person advocating for that cause is being paid to get you to conform to their ideology and hop on to their political bandwagon. Don’t give in to the hype based on what you see at first glance. Do yourself a favor and some conduct some research so as not to be deceived.
“Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.”Proverbs 26:24-26 ESV
3. We Need To Follow Our Own Convictions and Follow Christ
This ties in with doing our research. When thinking about making a decision as momentous as who to vote for, we ought to ask ourselves whether or not this person, party or idea should receive my vote and, essentially, my allegiance in the first place. Do they agree with what I stand for? Will they have my interest(s) in mind? Will they make a positive impact in areas of great challenge? Are they honest? Do I think they will stand firm for what they are advocating, even amidst fierce opposition, or simply bend under pressure? Does their record and conduct support any of this? These are all things we need to keep in mind when considering our future leaders. It can be so easy to support a candidate plainly because many people we like and admire are speaking well of them. But at the end of the day, we need to find out if they will truly be a good candidate given our standards. Not only that, if we are Christians, saved by grace and set apart to live for Christ, promoting His righteousness here on earth, we will line up with anything that the scriptures inform us to stand for.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”Micah 6:8 ESV
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
For the Christian, let us always remember that God is Sovereign. Despite these days seeming more daunting than any before us, and the forces of evil prevailing day-in and day-out, God is sovereign. By the look of it, any Christian challenging the culture, speaking out against homosexuality and abortion is immediately marginalized as a bigot, a radical and ignorant individual. It may very well be that one day Christians in this land will be silenced by the law. As time progresses we may no longer be able to speak freely of our Lord and Savior, but take heart brethren, for He has overcome the world! This place is not our home and God is sovereign even in the darkest of times -just as history has clearly showcased time and time again. His justice will prevail over all the earth and if we find ourselves worried, let us cast our burdens on Him.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalms 55:22 ESV
“and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28 ESV
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”Proverbs 21:1
As long as we are here, let us stand for Christ even if it means going against popular beliefs. Let us not fear sharing the gospel, it is good news. It may not be the most popular message out there today but it is certainly the most important and the most beautiful. Let us remember what we have been saved from and share this great news whenever we get a chance and never let yourself be governed by the fear of man or by the sensationalism of celebrities.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”Romans 1:16
And at the end of the day, may everything we do be done to the glory of God.
SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”