We’re heading into a political season where partisan politics, heated discussions, and passionate opinions are the norm. As Christians, we are known for being too political…using our majority power to influence or even dictate the results of the election. And to some extent this is true. When we get out the Christian vote, we are a strong influence in American politics. That political power has declined in recent years, but it is still very potent.
Negative Stereotype: Christians are Too Political
The negative stereotype of being too political, and the disgruntled reaction to it by non-Christians, is based on misuse of our political power. Outsiders believe that we use our Christian beliefs within the political and legal systems to create and sustain laws that impose our beliefs on others. They claim that we apply our morals to their lives. They claim we restrict their rights based on our beliefs. All one has to do is look at the debate over gay marriage rights to justify that claim. It’s true.
It’s a delicate thing to balance: preserving our rights and promoting our beliefs, without forcing them on others with different beliefs
Putting Politics Aside
I’d like to put partisan politics aside for a moment and address an issue I’ve been pondering. As a Christian, where should my allegiance be…with a political party or with my God and religion? Should I vote Republican or Democrat first, and my faith second? Or should I vote with my faith first…regardless of party?
Within our churches, we have both Republican, Democrats, Libertarians, Green party members, etc. We are often called the Religious Right, but the fact is that Christians are actually pretty evenly divided among the parties. We generally lean more republican due to issues such as abortion, but from where I sit…my church has a pretty even split of Republicans and Democrats. So I believe it’s a mistake to label all Christians as Republican, conservative, or right-wingers. It’s just not true.
Putting Your Faith First, Politics Second
Joshua 24:15 (NIV) “as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”
Putting my faith first allows me to be consistent across borders as well. People are people all over the world. We all just want to be free to live, raise our families, practice our religion, or be free from persecution for not practicing a (or THE majority) religion. Let’s treat each other, even across borders, as God’s children and love one another as God commands us to.
So, where does your allegiance belong? Are you a Christian first, or do you allow your political persuasion to be first in your life?
Rafael Bocanegra says
As Christian’s, we do a diservice to the cause of CHRIST, when we choose sides in a political system that represents satan, in a world that we well know is not of our LORD or for that matter the place, that with his blood was prepare for us,so AS FOR MY HOUSE, WE HAVE ALREADY VOTED AND ELECTED FOR PRESIDENT:THE LORD JEHOVA,FOR VICE-PRESIDENT OUR SAVIOR JESUSCHRIST,AND AS SECRETARY OF STATE THE HOLY GHOST,for those that think that voting for Obama,or Mitt will make a difference,and change the outcome already in motion,let me suggest read your BIBLE,and not just the new testament the gist of prophesy will be found in the old testament
I am a Christian above all else first. There are a number of us that have been having a discussion regarding this years election cycle. In our humble opinion, we are between a rock and a hard place. Some have decided to vote for the lesser of the two evil’s. I have not made up my mind yet. It;s like vote for either Nero or Nebuconezzer. Both are bad. I believe it is God’s rightful judgement on this nation. The US is probably done being Isreal’s serogot mother. Will have to pray more and seek His wizdom.
1. First, belief systems, particularly Christian beliefs, are not merely personal preferences, such as choosing the color blue over red, or driving convertibles rather than sedans. They are held to be an accurate understanding of reality and ultimate truth. As such, they have import that impinges on all aspects of our lives, including politics. Therefore, our Christian beliefs can and should rightly inform our participation in the political process. And we have a right, even a duty (both Christian and civic), to support those parties, politicians, and laws that we feel best reflect those beliefs, and oppose those that do not. 2. Even though we may be Christian first, we are also still Americans (I am assuming I am addressing a primarily American audience here). Part of the American “experiment” includes the fundamental principle that all citizens have the right to participate in the political process, which we primarily exercise through public debate and voting. If we truly believe our Christian beliefs to be an accurate understanding of reality and truth, then we should vigorously engage them in the debate – otherwise, truth can’t win if it is not even in the contest. Further, to retreat from the debate is to cede our right to have a voice in the outcome (or about the outcome). 3. In essence, all laws ARE imposed beliefs. Laws come from people with belief systems, and the laws tend to reflect those belief systems. So the question is not whether beliefs should be imposed by the law, but rather whose beliefs are going to be imposed by the law. If we truly hold that our Christian beliefs are an accurate understanding of reality and truth then, to be morally consistent, we should support laws that reflect those beliefs (since that which reflects reality and truth must be right and should work), and oppose those that don’t (since those that don’t are fundamentally flawed and would ultimately fail). Note that I am not saying here that Christianity should be enshrined into law. But I am saying that a Christian has the right, even the duty, to support and oppose those parties, politicians, and laws (proposed or on the books) based, at least in part, on how well they mesh with your Christian beliefs. Otherwise, you either: 1) do not take your Christian beliefs seriously, 2) are not engaged in the process, or 3) are a hypocrite or even schizophrenic.
I really agree with what the write of this blog said. I think it was said well. I agree with most of what was said by you too, Terry, but I think the overarching goal in discussing politics as a Christian is not to forget that Christ is our leader and we are His ambassadors. In discussing law, politics etc, we can’t lose sight of this to be right. I agree change is needed and I believe we as Christians have a duty and right to help change laws, but we can’t do it just because we want to be right. When you talk about vigorously debating, I think there needs to be care in this. Debating and discussion is good, but I think its important to not forget who we are in the process. We need to take care in HOW we debate and discuss. The majority of Christians are viewed as too verbal, engaging in too many debates and we don’t do it humbly, gently, patiently and ‘bearing with one another’. We are to love our neighbor and treat them as we would like to be treated. Sometimes this means listening and working on creating unity. We will be remembered by our love as Christ followers and we need to make sure we are showing Christ’s love in the midst of debate.
“Vigorous” may be a word with some negative connotations. I am using it in the academic sense, not in the adversarial sense. By “academic” I mean that we should present honest, well-reasoned, multi-faceted, factual, and even dispssionate arguments when discussing the issues. It also means standing firmly for your beliefs when challenged, but not be closed-minded. However, not being closed-minded does not mean that we should be so open-minded that our brains fall out. Rather, it means that we hold strongly to our current beliefs until sufficient rational evidence exists to cause us to re-evaluate them. We can debate vigorously while still respecting those who hold opposing views. The scriptures say we should “speak the truth in love” and I whole-heartedly believe that. The “in love” part means, of course, that we should respect our listeners and deliever the message of truth in a respectful manner. But it still says “speak the truth” and not “keep it to yourself” or “only speak the parts that aren’t considered offensive”. As I said above, If we believe our Christian beliefs to be an accurate understanding of reality and truth then they should be engaged in any dabate, otherwise they have no chance of influincing the outcome.
Thank you, Terry, for voicing this. I agree very strongly.
Personally I’m not Democrat or Republican. I’m a Conservative Libertarian and I do involve myself in politics because it is very important but we have to be mindful of what we get into and for the right reasons. I am a truth seeker that uncovers conspiracy’s (and no I don’t mean aliens or that kind of nonsense) I mean real things we should all be aware of. For example The Federal Reserve printing up fiat currency for 100 years that is taking its toll, our rights and freedoms disappearing, wars we shouldn’t be in (I’m anti-war), corruption, our food and water, FEMA camps, being poisoned with fluoride and GMO’s. This stuff I mentioned is just a few things that all of us Christian or not can get behind when it comes to politics. One more thing I would like to strongly suggest is to break free of the Right and Left paradigm that divides us and don’t just vote on someone based on party that’s how we end up in the messes we are in. Don’t judge a politician on what they say judge them by what they do or try to do.