Should Christians stay out of the political arena? Let’s talk about it!
“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”
Peeling Off Name Tags
The discussion of religion in politics is one that typically brings out enthusiastic opinions or dodging eye-rolls. Recently, this issue has been in the forefront of both sides of the political spectrum. There have been questions on the right referencing the authenticity of faith, and disapproval on the left because candidates have admitted to having religious and spiritual beliefs. One specific author wrote an article expressing his exhaustion with all of the “God talk” and argued that a candidate’s religious beliefs do not affect his or her ability to be president or a member of Congress. He argued that religious language is “used and abused” by candidates and therefore should not even be a part of the equation. Although this view may sound inviting after a slew religious jargon in a 3 hour long debate, the principles in the Bible lead us down another path.
The first very basic problem with the “throwing religion out of the equation” approach has to do with one’s worldview. Every single person has one based on the fundamental, foundational beliefs that they hold. A worldview contains your answers to the “big” answers in life and thus has an inseparable impact on the things that you do and say as you live every day and face obstacles. One cannot separate religious beliefs from a person’s worldview, because they, in fact, create it. The way in which a candidate will operate in their position can be assumed by identifying the beliefs that make up his or her worldview.
The problem, which the author of the article identified very accurately, is that the label “Christian”, and lots of “God talk” does not equate authentic faith. This point is further illustrated by recent events in Texas concerning two groups who identify themselves as ‘Baptists’, who were arguing both for and against a law upholding limitations on abortion. In addition there is a ‘Baptist’ church in New York City that is actively pursuing a pro-choice agenda in the courts. In these cases, the label of “Baptist” cannot assume a stance on abortion or the sanctity of human life. A duck with the name “Rabbit” does not become a rabbit even if he makes everyone call him “Rabbit.” His quacking, waddling, and body figure reveal him to, indeed, be a duck. Likewise, partaking in the Lord’s Supper does not itself prove we are truly a child of God. In fact, the Bible tells us that without true acknowledgement and repentance of sin we can not inherit the Kingdom. God, is the only one who can look into the heart and see true faith, yet, we are given fruits and principles to look for in addition to a label or repetitive “God talk.”
As Christians, our worldview is grounded in the persevering truth of the Bible. We are given principles that are to be used in every situation, at every time, in every age. The Bible has given us relevant information for how we should deal with the issues in the world. With this understanding, it is essential that, when given the opportunity, we support those who uphold and act by these principles. This is not to say we should act as if we are electing a “National Pastor” and use pieces of doctrine as deciding factors, however, we must understand the blatant affect a candidates “big picture” beliefs will have on their day to day actions and policies.