Christians and Politics

I have flown up and down political scales my entire, voting and non-voting life. The first time I could vote, I voted for Tim Pawlenty in the Minnesota Governors Race of 2006. In 2008, after a significant weight loss, I wasn’t allowed to vote because the person who saw my driver’s license didn’t believe me. Consequently, neither did a few police officers who pulled me over. I know that over the years I have seen great changes in both my personality, but, also in what I believe, and, what I think is best both for myself but also for others and all created life.

What is the significance of Christians in Politics?

Should we vote?

Should we honor separation of Church and State? Christians being the Church, Government being the state.

Does God want to reconcile government? Jesus says he wants to reconcile all things. Or does he want to have two separate kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Earth? Jesus also said that his kingdom is not of the world, so should we convolute both kingdoms?

Who are the voices we should listen to?

Christian Democrats follow the voices of voices like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo. Wallis and Campolo are advocates for things like social justice and peace. And, this is the job of Christians to vote for these things because these are so strong in the message of Jesus. They are also for the human individual rights of others. These may not apply to Wallis and Campolo, but, some Christian Liberals are advocates for things like Gay Marriage, Anti-Death Penalty and Poverty. Things that fight for the rights of individuals.

Christian Conservatives follow the voices like Chuck Colson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee and Colson believe in the sanctity of marriage, that marriage belongs to a man and a woman. They believe in Pro-Life solutions where we protect the individual value of a baby’s life. Some may take a Dietrich Bonhoeffer like stance, where we might need to end life to preserve a greater capacity to life. This is the point of the death penalty, and, a belief in a Just War.

A third group of voice can be found in theologian Greg Boyd and social activist Shane Claiborne. Boyd and Claiborne believe that it is not the job of Christians, Pastors and Churches who to vote for. Claiborne calls Jesus his Commander-In-Chief, that our allegiance is to Jesus before the country. Boyd wrote the very popular book Myth Of A Christian Nation, which explains that we need to keep the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the World separate. Boyd has been influenced by theologian John Howard Yoder who believed that Politics are the lowest form of social change, and, is the last effort for Christians.

So, do you vote?

Why do you vote?

How do you vote?

Why or why not are Politics important?

Do you think Jesus would vote? If he did, how would he?


4 thoughts on “Christians and Politics

  1. facepalm says:

    My voting patterns.
    Life is intrinsically valuable.
    Gov should not dictate personal decisions.
    Wealth is earned by hard work, not by handouts. (many Christian people have a hard time with this)
    Gov duty is to protect our sovereignty.
    When it comes to voting for the lesser of two evils, I don’t vote.

  2. Krista Johnson says:

    I find it so interesting that you posted this. It’s very relevant to my life and my own thinking. I struggle with many of the above questions. In the past four years, I have had lunch with Wallis, Campolo, Claiborne, and Boyd yet never Huckabee or Beck (which I think would be an interesting addition to the list) so I’ve been well informed of their various thoughts on the subject. Personally, I wrestle back and forth between the extremes and tend to land somewhere as a middle voice. But I still wrestle. And I think it’s an okay place to find myself. And as you know, I’m a little partial to Yoder and Boyd. But for now, I’ll be content to continue wrestling.

  3. Ron Amundson says:

    I tend to align with Boyd on this issue. The Kingdom of God is what matters, and politics and governments can come and go. Yet, the church falls so far short so much of the time, we are often left with politics as the fall back, and thus the polarization issues amongst Christians.

    Ie, if the church had its ducks in a row, the need for government to care for the least of these, fairness etc would be a non-issue.

    Ie, if the church had its ducks in a row, hearts would be changed, such that the other 3 factors of morality (peer group, heirarchy, and disgust) expressed by conservatives would be a non issue from a societal pov.

  4. Kate Roberts says:

    Interesting post. I appreciate the old adage my grandmother says. “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.” That being said, I tend to agree more with the Stassen/Yoder/Boyd crowd. I disagree with yoder that politics are the lowest form of social change, but I do think that without the people being apart of that change politics then looses its meaning.

    I’m also a bit of a realist. I think what voices like Yoder and Boyd point to is the ideal, where this whole redemption plan is going. But in the mean time were are here, and we have the poor and needy, and those without medical care, and those who cannot (genuinely due to no fault of their own) break the cycle of poverty. And churches and people try to help them, but there is only so much cash to spread around. There is a systemic issue, and if I am able to feed more people at the shelter through getting some policy changed, I’m going to do it. At the same time, if I can feed more people at the shelter by fundraising, bringing awareness and encouraging the private sector to give as well, I will be doing that too.

    I think at the end of the day, if you care about the people you will find any possible way to help them. For though this is all theory to you and I, to those living a few streets over from me, this is life.

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