Take a simple scroll through any social media of choice, and you will see blatant virtue signaling. Or you will see the plea, the call, for users to turn from their sin and to see the light of whichever political candidate or party is being presented. Most of what you’ll see will be mockery of the “other.” But recently I’ve been witnessing a new way of declaring your new-found religion. It’s actually an old way of sorts but one that you can’t just scroll past. The classic yard sign.

My drive to work is littered with political signs on people’s yards. Some for the presidential election, some for the local mayor, others for sheriff. When I say littered, I mean literally littered. Some homes look like they are selling signs in bulk, given the number they have displayed on their property. I’m not sure if anyone has ever been swayed in their political leanings by seeing a yard sign. In fact, I’m not a betting man, but I’d venture to say that figure is similar to the number of salvations that the bible tracts you find on the bathroom floor have gained. That’s because displaying a yard sign on our lawn is more about representing us than representing a certain candidate. When life is full of the law constantly condemning you, we reach out to make any attempt to justify or prove our own self-righteousness, even through political means.

Our political parties have become our new religions, our candidates our messiahs, their administrations the new kingdoms that will bring salvation. It’s visible in the ways we proselytize for them, the ways we literally are fighting against the “other” at political events and in our attempts to silence opposition. Now, through displays on our lawns, we can show that we, the holy ones, have chosen correctly. We have chosen the right path and can now shame those who haven’t when they drive by. Right there in front of the property is a sign that lets everyone know, we have made the right decision.

Of course, we need leaders. We need to get involved in politics, to vote, and to make sure our leaders are representing us well. But political hopes so often lead to disappointment. Time and time again candidates rise and fall. Every leader in power has been criticized and done terribly in someone’s eyes. A society is hard to please. We are like Israel begging for a king when God advised them to not follow after the other nations. Yet they begged for it, and God let them have their way as he so often does. And the results were telling. Scandal, murder, betrayal, adultery, corruption, and a people dissatisfied.

That’s why, when I get to end of the road on my way to work, I smile and find hope in the last house on the path. They have one sign in their yard, and it reads, “DOGS 2020: Because Humans Suck.”

Now that’s a candidate we can all get behind. Who wouldn’t support a Golden Retriever panting behind the Resolute Desk? Or a French Bulldog slobbering over our new treaty with Uzbekistan? Sure, they might urinate on the carpet of the Oval Office, and they’re probably not going to be the best diplomat or policy developer. And the chances of them being manipulated into deals via Milk-Bones and dried pig ears are high. But it’s one candidate that wouldn’t  divide and anger the populace just by appearing on the television (as so many of our human ones do). Unless you are a cat person, of course. Then it might be time to reevaluate your life decisions.

Of course, there are no dogs on the ballot this November. But at least this yard sign doesn’t signal some virtue in the homeowner. It doesn’t shame you for your choice, whatever it might be. It doesn’t suggest someone knows better. It condemns all and puts everything into proper perspective. We need someone greater than us, someone who isn’t filled with corruption, deceit, ill motives and money hunger. We need someone gracious enough to love us in our messy yard littered with attempts at making ourselves righteous by who we align with. We need a greater sign. One that might be lifted up for all to believe in.

So, we look to him, the God with his bloody arms spread wide welcoming in all from each side of the political spectrum. And we thank him that on this, our dear salvation, there was no vote. There was no door-to-door canvassing. There were no rallies, no ads, no campaign promises, just a declaration of unwarranted grace and acceptance. A final word beckoning us to come home. A word that tells us we are loved and accepted as the mess we are. There’s no ballot to mail, only an amen to whisper back and an ocean of grace to sink into.