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Religion and Politics

religioninpolitics.jpg “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

While some may think I am flirting with suicide by this title, I think it is time to talk. The subjects of religion and politics are inextricably woven together into the fabric of public and private life, and it is getting progressively harder to ignore them. Issues like partial-birth abortion and gay marriage have both religious and political implications, and staking out a religious position on an issue necessarily impacts one’s politics as well. In presidential election years, opinions and feelings come out of the proverbial woodwork and get hot, even nasty. Christians not only find themselves at odds with each other over political views and parties, they also wrestle with deep conflicts within their own hearts.

Even the way we Americans go about this is chaotic and marked by caveats. Our government, for example, forbids churches to get directly involved with politics, yet they throw issues with huge religious implications up against the wall for public discussion and debate. We are theoretically free to talk about anything—-except those things some minority finds offensive. We may practice our religion as we wish—-unless someone decides to label that practice bigoted, hate-mongering or divisive. For traditional, fundamental Bible-believers, America has become a prison without walls. We don’t know what we can say or do without inviting dire consequences. Threats of lawsuits, adverse media coverage and governmental intrusion have thrown an icy chill over our once fervently held convictions. Cowardice now reigns in the land that courage founded two-and-a-quarter centuries ago.

Primitive Christians, with no bill of rights or constitution to guarantee basic freedoms to them, had zero political involvement. They simply took whatever conditions were imposed upon them. For believers today, even though we live in a representative republic, political involvement is virtually impossible. Political clout either requires millions of dollars or distasteful coalitions, and often both. These realities lead many to despair. They think that standing up against a majority whose anti-God, anti-Bible and anti-decency views seem so unassailable constitutes insanity. Their slogans? Keep your mouth shut and go on. Stay out of trouble. Make no waves. Mind your own business.

What is our business? It may not be to run for office. I personally do not encourage activism, protest movements, or joining strange coalitions. Grass-roots partisan participation or jumping on the campaign wagon for particular candidates can cause serious problems with discipleship. The real answer is quite simple—-let’s just be Christians! Let Bible truths dictate our political positions. If this conclusion drives a wedge between us and old alliances, if it forces us out of cozy and convenient havens where we have hibernated for years, if it exposes us to the withering light of criticism, then we must declare ourselves and trust God for the future. Even if we do not get actively engaged in politics, we can—-and must—-still take stands for righteousness regardless of the consequences.

Many political topics, of course, are debatable. We may differ over taxes, the deficit, health insurance or the war in Iraq . The church must find its voice, however, when immorality and sacrilege enter the political realm. May our Apostolic pulpits remain dedicated to the clear preaching and teaching of the Word of God, even if our words make those who hate us mad. The Bible must be proclaimed in all of its political incorrectness, in all of its absolute pronouncements and in all of its exposure of sin. The Bible sanctions monogamous, heterosexual marriage alone, regardless of what party opines otherwise. Partial birth abortion is infanticide, regardless of the political stripes worn by its advocates. Corporate greed stinks to high heaven, regardless of the party it benefits. And, how can any true believer espouse causes like casino gambling, taking the Ten Commandments displays out of our courtrooms, dropping “under God” from our pledge of allegiance, condom distribution in schools, funding anti-Christian works of so-called art, the use of four-letter words by shock jocks on our airwaves or homosexual adoption? Issues vary from time to time and place to place, but Bible principles never change.

Voting for righteousness, whenever we find it, is only part of the answer. Our greater obligation lies in refusing to be intimidated by those who have a vested interest in the sin industry. The first-century Christians, though they had no political power, continue to be our role models. When they were threatened, they did not threaten back. They did not launch a campaign or flex their political muscle. Instead, they said, “We have an overriding mission to please God. We will not stop doing what we are doing!” The Apostles did not stoop to the tactics of their oppressors, yet they were not passive or cowardly. They just stood for truth.

Politics captivate many because it promises peace, prosperity and equity. Don’t count on it. My vote goes to “…the way, they truth, and the life.”

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Reader Comments (2)

I hope you do not mind,but I have a political blog and I wanted something profound for super tuesday, and I use this artical. If you have a problem with that I will remove it ASAP.

February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark G Pogue

The pledge of allegiance was composed in 1892; the "under god" phraseology was not added until 1954, as a political message against "godless communism."

October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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