by Patrick Graham Holloran
Why should Christians become involved in Politics?
Throughout my travels, in my emails, and even in my phone conversations, I am encountering many people who call themselves Christians that are vehement in saying that the Church should not become involved in politics. They go on to say that, first of all, we must get people to heaven as a priority. They also say that politics is evil and “of the devil” so we should stay away. Perhaps the greatest reason that they give to me about not participating in government is that God is sovereign, and His decisions regarding government are final. To those who hold this opinion, I would say; how then do we apply Genesis 1:28 to that picture of being uninvolved in government?
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'”
In much of today’s thinking in the church, this scripture, which is the first command of the Lord for us to carry out, is overlooked and too often disregarded. Each of us, when we examine this command, should realize that it involves every aspect of culture in order to accomplish what God’s plan is for this earth.
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he made a statement that surely shows the importance of placing people into public office who have a covenant to the Lord. Dr. King said, “I would agree with St. Augustine that an ‘unjust law is no law at all.’ Now, what is the difference between the two? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas: “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law or natural law.”
From this statement, I would think that the first thing that we as “blood covered, blood bought” saints of God are to find out is who amongst the candidates are led by the moral laws of God in creating public policy, and whose worldviews come into alignment with the basic Judeo-Christian Values of the Ecclesia. In this, we can start to help them become the “ministers of God” that exercise the Lord’s authority in the public political sector.
My wife and I pastored for a very long time, and I must tell you, there were frequent occasions where people we were leading would speak out and say, “Politics is too dirty for a Christian to be involved in it.” Not trying to be cynical, but honest, I replied back to them, “Have you ever looked at how messy or how unclean the church can look? In truth, I have seen state capitals and state senates that weren’t any dirtier than what I have seen in church when it comes to board meetings, election processes of pastors, and committee decisions. So if we are to think that politics is too dirty or unsettling as a reason to avoid being in it, then we really should consider stopping our attendance at church.”
Consider this if you would – if we stay out of public service or being involved with those who make public policy, or refuse to vote, then we are forfeiting our say in matters that are outside the church walls. We must be honest and realize that much of our lives are, in fact, relegated away from church gatherings. Also, if we really stay away from the political realm, then we are giving up the society and cultural decisions to atheists, pagans, and secularists.
You see, politics affects everything that you and I do in daily living. It is politics in America today that sets rules that affect churches, finances, gasoline prices, our children, our businesses, and dictates what we can or cannot do. To decide not to become involved in this process and present the Lord’s views and morals is to yield your authority to be a blessing for the generations of the future.
It is no secret that today in the political realm there is much concern about the selfish ambitions, selfish promotions, and the agendas of the politicians that are representing us. In truth, today’s political leaders, for the most part, do not have the considerations of the people who voted them into office as a priority. Instead, they have their own agenda which they believe is much more beneficial for the general public.
Have you ever noticed the words of Jethro, Moses’ father in law, when he spoke to Moses about the qualifications that must be in effect for those that will become officials over others? In Exodus 18:19-21, Jethro gives a basic list of how to choose leaders in regard to character and integrity. Additionally, Jethro explains that a leader is one who represents the people before God: “19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” (ESV)
Now we must start to ask ourselves today, do the people that are in our local, county, state, and national politics have these basic pre-requisites?
Matthew 5:13 – 14 says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. ? 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. ? 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Christ taught his disciples that we are the salt of the earth. In the day that he was speaking, salt was used to slow the spoiling of meat and other foods that today we would just refrigerate. Light is what comes to remove the darkness that would hold ungodly fears, failures, and delay. To put it in another way, Jesus Christ was saying that as His followers, we are to make our presence known in all matters with His truth and His revelation. As you and I have come to know, an absence of light or salt brings only moral decay and cultural downfalls.
Many people are familiar with Edmund Burke, who spoke forth, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” As we look at the history of the 1930’s through the mid 1940’s, we can see clearly that this statement is true. At that time, Adolf Hitler established his dictatorship. He was able to establish his ideology into a land that the church literally backed away from. They withdrew their voice and Hitler became a power to be reckoned with. Again, all we have to do is look at history. The regimes of Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Stalin, and Idi Amin Dada are other examples of the church giving up its role as the authority on the land and the darkness coming in.
Politics is all about how our nation functions, and if it is moral or immoral. When we participate in this government as voters, we are literally sending our light as a voice into matters that expresses how we feel. If the whole church were to arise and vote (as well as speak up or roar), I believe that sound would help to ensure a just and Godly form of government! So if we are to be involved in the political function of government through voting, what is our responsibility?
First of all, each of us must become more informed about the people in office and those who are going to make a run for political office. We should research a person’s track record. Are they pro-life or pro-choice? Do they have a relationship with Jesus Christ or is it just a church relationship? (Remember, many people go to church, but that doesn’t make them born again.) By investigating what the candidates stand for, we can discover their platforms and if those platforms are based on the foundational beliefs of a “blood bought” saint, or those of the anti-christ (anti-anointing).
Now after finding out what the candidates platform is, the second thing to do is avoid the campaign slogans that focus on the weaknesses of opponents and nothing more. Right now, we are seeing so much “mud-slinging” occurring in the present race for President. What has been forgotten is a discussion about ideas for resolutions to the problems we face today in society. As one who have been following the campaign trails of more than a couple of candidates, I can tell you that the methods being used right now are more about contempt for their opponents, as well as greed and even fear driven statements against one another. Where is the political problem solving?
Next, you and I need to cast a vote that is NOT based on the personality of the person and what the media portrays. Remember, campaigns are about exhibiting a person’s strengths and expounding on the weakness of the opponent. Candidates try very hard to show a polite and positive persona in front of the cameras, but what have they been like in the past? What were they like when the cameras were not on them? Was their behavior symbolic of the voter’s values?
We should also ask ourselves what the moral views are of the people who are running for office. Then ask yourself if this person is walking only by their political party’s ideologies, or if they are holding to a view that is consistently based upon morals that are beneficial to society and not decadent.
Finally, ask yourself if this person is only interested in getting re-elected for their own selfish gain, or if they really have the interest of the people that voted them into office at heart?
First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in a letter to Jedidiah Morse in 1797, said “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
It is important today that we realize that from the time of the beginning of this nation until today, the ones that made a difference were people of faith in Jesus Christ as King of kings. Today, we have to make some very strong decisions about the future of this country as well as its direction. Will those decisions be for God, or will they oppose him? Will there be a generation that grows up to do less than we do, or greater?
In 2008, there were 64 million Christians in America. Of these 64 million, 32 million were registered to vote. Because many did not like either candidate running for President of the United States, only half of those registered actually voted. It is surprising to find out, that of those who voted, many did not do any research on either candidate. They, in truth, allowed the media to persuade them into making their choice for them. We are hopeful that even now and in the coming elections, we will see, hear, and know that the participation of the body of Christ has become greater than ever before.
We really are the answer to America’s future!
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