“Christianity without life is as pointless as life without Christianity.” – Larry Mullen, Jr.
Many of my friends who are Christians seem to have no problem admitting that there is a force of evil operating in this life. Some will even call it by name – Satan or the devil. They are quick to blame a bad week of difficult circumstances on “spiritual attack”. And yet, many of those same people will recoil in a politically correct fit of rage if a pastor or friend ventures into talking about politics, especially if the offender actually dares to have an opinion. I find this trend disturbing for several reasons.
First, as you may have guessed from the quote above, I find it absurd and both intellectually and spiritually immature to suggest that the separation of church and state must apply to our minds and conversations as well as the public square. If you believe Christianity to be the truth, shouldn’t your faith inform your thinking on education, diet, work, etc., and yes, even politics? Perhaps especially politics considering the fact that, while freedom (religious and otherwise) is taken for granted in the USA, it is a rare thing in the annals of world history and is not guaranteed or even likely to continue here forever. If we, as a society, truly value freedom of speech, shouldn’t that be most clearly evident in politics and religion, if anywhere?
The response to that is generally along these lines: “That’s all well and good, but all politicians are crooks and liars – you can’t even tell the difference between the parties.” So, many people claim to be politically independent instead of doing the hard work of informing themselves and judging the character of their own representatives. Really? Are they all the same?
Look, I get it. A lot of politicians are full of crap. It’s easy to get so fed up that you just disengage. But consider this for a moment: If good and evil are at war in the world, does it not make sense that they would be at war in the political arena as well as the media, the schools, playgrounds, families, etc.? While I admit that it is rarely as simple as “this party is right, that party is wrong”, isn’t it possible that there are some who are fighting on the side of good? When both sides of an issue claim that the other side is lying, does it make sense to believe both sides? I mean, doesn’t the guilty criminal usually claim innocence? I know it’s hard to discern the truth, but come on! A lot of people died so that we could have the chance to choose our elected leaders. Isn’t it worth doing a little work to get informed?
I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but it is crucial that we understand this! If we throw up our hands in disgust, we seal our own fate! “How?” you ask? Evil does not get tired. The devil wants to wear you down, wear you out, seduce you, or bore you. If you give up, he wins. In the political realm, that means that we get stuck with despots ruling us instead of statesmen representing and leading us.
Have you ever thought about your personal political philosophy? For instance, what do you think the role of government should be? What influence should the government have on your life, your family, your community, etc.? Do you believe the federal government should tell your local school district what to teach? Why or why not? Do you think the government should provide for the poor? Why or why not? Do you think the government should equalize opportunity or outcome? What about the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and other founding documents or principles? Do you view the Constitution as a “living, breathing document” or do you hold a “strict constructionist” view? Do you even know what these phrases mean? You should. The people who hold the reins of power do. And make no mistake – they have an agenda for your life and it’s not necessarily the same one you have.
How about this – Shouldn’t we, at the absolute least, demand honesty from our representatives? Instead of accepting the idea that “all politicians are liars”, why don’t we demand the truth? If we don’t like what we are getting from our leaders, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Author Andy Andrews asks this brilliant question in his latest book, How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Why the Truth Matter More than You Think – “If it is correct that ‘you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,’ then is it possible that if you don’t know the truth, its absence can place you in bondage?”
Finally, and most importantly, I believe politics is being used to divide and destroy (or at least attack) the Church. When politicians start using the language of the church to support their agenda, look out! It usually means that government is about to increase and freedom is about to decrease, and all in the name of compassion, social justice, income mobility, or any number of other gentle euphemisms. The bigger tragedy, if that’s possible, is that Christians end up supporting an agenda they don’t understand, simply because it sounds “Christian”. We need to be more discerning. When Satan tempted Jesus, he quoted Scripture and then twisted its meaning. Jesus, being the Word of God made flesh, was not fooled and quoted Scripture right back at the devil (for a full account, see Matthew 4:1-11). I’m afraid that Christians today are so woefully ignorant of Scripture and impotent in prayer that they cannot tell the difference between a slimy politician and an angel of light (nor do they know that the devil masquerades as one).
I have an idea. How about we start letting our faith inform our politics instead of letting the politicians tell us how to live out our faith?