Let’s talk for a moment about those two taboo subjects: religion and politics. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for or how to vote. Nor am I here to relay all the evils of socialism or capitalism or any other ism. In our walk with God, all of our choices should be made based on what pleases God, not what conforms to the present culture.
Consider this question: What is the place of Christians in American politics?
I have seen two positions on this:
- Christians need to do everything they can to make the United States enact legislation that mirrors the Bible and work to include Christian teachings into public education.
- Christians should have no involvement in politics, Revolution, civil disobedience etcetera. After all, this world is only temporary, right?
Some may say that there is a middle ground, but they must be the silent majority (or minority) because these are the two most promoted views. Regarding the first view, the constitution reflects many Christian principles and would be effective if our lawmakers would stand by it. As to the second, all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. Sitting on our hands is not going to help anyone.
The United States is a unique country. No matter your color, gender, class, or creed, a citizen is given a vote to elect fellow citizens into office. And, though it may be difficult, a laborer is just as entitled to run for office as a lawyer. Yes, I know, the process is so expensive that most poorer people are unable to run due to lack of personal fundage—but it is possible! I wish I could say the people in office look out for the best interests of the nation as a whole, but unfortunately—like all things involving money and power—there is a high degree of self-interest rather than service.
What roles should we as Christians take in shaping the policies and politics of this country in which we dwell?
#1: Be a good citizen.
This is paramount. Before anyone takes a leadership role of any kind, they should first demonstrate integrity and character. Each of us, especially as Christians can do this one, unless it involves disloyalty to Christ who is our eternal King.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.
Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”
~ Romans 13:1-7 ESV
We may not be political power players, but we can help our small corners of the nation improve by simply being moral people who help our neighbors, show respect towards people in authority, and bestow charity on those less fortunate.
“Whoa! Did you just say ‘show respect to those in authority?'”
I know there are many who think cops are corrupt, but as someone who has known my fair share of law enforcement, I can tell you that they are primarily composed of ordinary people earning an ordinary living. Many of them are jaded and cynical from dealing with some pretty rotten people day in and day out. They see things you can only imagine in your nightmares. In their job, they deal with jerks and death on a daily basis.
As for the politicians, many of them are undeserving of respect, but we need to guard what we say to them and about them. We are Christians first and foremost; our speech ought to reflect our love for God.
Civil disobedience is condoned by God when government tells us to do something that runs contrary to our service to God. Peter, in Acts 5, told those in authority that they would “obey God rather than men.”
One more thing to consider: In this country, the ultimate authority isn’t the nebulous entity known as the government. It is the Constitution. Military personnel take an oath to “defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.” The reason that is in place is to protect this nation from corrupt leaders. So, in that respect, those who resist the corruption of our government and work to defend the constitution are, in fact, respecting the law more than those who are in “authority.”
I see your eye-roll and hear that sigh of disappointment….
I know this one is old and obvious, but we should not treat this right and responsibility with contempt. Many men and women have sacrificed their lives to afford us this freedom. Do not dishonor their sacrifice by neglecting your duty to choose people for office.
Furthermore, do not just pick the popular candidate—especially in the primaries. Pick the one you honestly believe to be the best. What a difference the outcomes would be if people took time to objectively consider each candidate and the ballot propositions! We get the government we deserve if we neglect this necessary step.
Don’t squander your vote if you have the opportunity.
#3: Pray. A lot.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2.1-4, ESV
I have heard my share of token prayers acknowledging those in charge, and they are good in their own way. Ask yourself this question: Do you honestly believe in the power of prayer? Then start praying! If you are truly worried about the state of the Union, then get on your knees and appeal to God for help… we certainly need it! For suggestions on specific things to pray for our president, click here. For prayers for law enforcement, click here.
Teaching the Word of God is the most important thing we can do for our children. It’s imperative that they are trained in what is true, right, moral and just.
Second to this ought to be teaching them about the history of our country and the law. I’m not suggesting blind, brain-washed patriotism. I encourage you to teach your children the things our country has done well, the principles that made her great, and (this is the most critical point) the fact that God has been instrumental in this country’s success. Yet instruct them also on our darker moments in history and how good people sought to bring about constructive change. Teach critical thinking so that they will be able to discern the truth and lies being thrown at them when they are voting age. Many young people are disillusioned with good principles because they haven’t been carefully taught the opposing side. It’s good to know both sides of an argument so that when they are grown and these dark truths are raised, they will already know how to respond. They won’t feel as though their parents deceived them.
#5: Get involved.
This one may not appeal to many of you. I don’t possess any political ambition myself, but if you really care about changing this country, you may want to consider this. Many people have found ways to be part of the process, projecting a positive influence into a dark realm. Christians can write about their political views, knock on doors for the candidate they support, contribute financially to a campaign, or even run for office themselves.
Before you take this step, I want to give you some warnings:
- Guard your heart with all diligence. The higher up you climb on the power rung, the more vulnerable you are to the attacks of Satan.
- Guard the Word. Don’t misquote or mishandle God’s Word to fallaciously support your political aims—this has always been a huge problem!
- Guard your lips! People say some downright stupid things. Politicians make false promises. Citizens make vulgar statements about the opposing parties/candidates. Even if the statement is true, ask yourself is it true, helpful, necessary, or kind? Do things God’s way and the outcome will be significantly better.
I am thankful to be a citizen of this country. I am thankful to all the men and women who have fought and died for freedom. For the moment, my family can worship God without threat of imprisonment. I can write this blog without fear of my family being tortured or killed. What a blessing! I know that it could all disappear in a flash if God so desired. It is my desire to help—in my own small ways—to preserve the country that has allowed me to be free from violent persecution for my faith in the Lord.
I don’t want our children to lose these precious blessings, do you? You and I need to be active in creating solutions.
What are your thoughts about a Christian’s role in American politics?