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Christian Participitation in Government
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT

            Should the child of God become involved in politics?  To hear some people talk on social media, it seems that one is committing a sin to complain about anything political or to differ from what any person in politics offers as public policy and law.  It is almost as if they believe that we should follow our leaders like mindless sheep down any path that is put forward regardless of how immoral or wrong their policy might be.  Such considerations should not be determined along party lines.  What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong regardless of political affiliation.

            One might think this is clear cut in regards to issues that exist in our nation that are egregiously wrong.  Murdering the unborn is sin.  Homosexuality is sin.  Same sex marriage is sin.  Sadly, there are Christians in social media and other settings that seem to argue for these moral wrongs under the banner of “it is politics, and it should not matter!” 

            Even so, the logic of this idea is not founded or rooted in scripture.  Politics do not fall under some special category that God does not consider on the Day of Judgment.  All of our works will be considered by God.  While it is true that our primary focus is the proclamation of Christ and His life giving gospel, we are not precluded from having a role in political affairs as long as that role does not result in immorality.  II Timothy 2.4 says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

            Still, there are those who issue complaints about Christians weighing in on issues that are decidedly political in nature.  Is the child of God expected to merely follow without expressing any objections?  If one takes this position, it might be argued, incorrectly, that one should not vote, call representatives, or participate in any political discussions at all.  Clearly, one can see the absurdity of such an idea.

            How would one make this argument from scripture?  The Apostle Paul was one who stood for his rights when he was improperly imprisoned.  As a Roman citizen, he had special rights under the law.  Understanding this fact, Paul used his rights when he was thrown into prison for no real reason.  Acts 25.11 says, “If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”  Paul had a right to fair treatment under Roman law.

            As one considers the political and moral landscape, it is sadly apparent that Christians are living in perilous times.  This is true in America and in other nations.  Just recently Houston, Texas issued a court order demanding that preachers turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, opposition to “gender neutral bathrooms, or the lesbian mayor that the city.  Starnes writes:

            The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.[1]

            Should we sit idly by while our rights under the constitution are being trampled over and ignored?  The law is for the protection of all people—Christian or otherwise.

            If it was wrong for Christians to be involved in politics and government, several of the people converted in the book of Acts would have had to leave their government jobs behind.  Cornelius was a member of the Italian cohort (Acts 10.1).  This was a Roman military unit designed to be the right hand of Caesar in supporting his policies.  The Philippian Jailor was a part of the Roman Judiciary (Acts 16.23).  One does not see either of these men resigning from their positions as a part of the repentance that is required before a person becomes a Christian (Luke 13.3, 5).

            This is not the time for Christians in America to be shy about standing for what is right—this includes participation in the political process.  Scripture encourages God’s people to be strong and courageous regardless of what is faced in life.  Joshua 1.7 says, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”

            Martin Niemöller lived in Nazi German during the rule of Adolf Hitler and the establishment of concentration camps.  Niemoller lectured widely after the fall of the Third Reich and part of his position was that Christians were partway responsible for the holocaust because of their silence.  He wrote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.[2]

            If Christians do not speak out against the evil that exists in our nation and stand for our freedoms, who will?








Works Cited

Niemöller, Martin.   "First they came for the Socialists..." Holocaust Encyclopedia.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392.

Starnes, Todd (2014).  “City of Huston Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons.”  Fox News 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/14/city-houston-demands-pastors-turn-over-sermons/

 



[1] Starnes, Todd (2014).  “City of Huston Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons.”  Fox News  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/14/city-houston-demands-pastors-turn-over-sermons/

[2]Martin Niemöller: "First they came for the Socialists..." Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392.