Pondering Politics and Piety. Part III.
If I were to entitle this post anything else, I suppose it would be something like, “The Last Will and Testament of a Young Republican.” That’s right; I was once a Young Republican a long time ago. But things are different now and it doesn’t have anything to do with age. Now before my “Lefty” friends out there get all excited, you need to know that I’m not defecting to your political party either. Rather I’m pressing the cancel button on the whole system as far as my involvement goes. While this doesn’t mean I’m never going to vote on issues I believe in, it does mean a drastic and purposeful decision to refrain from direct political involvement and commentary. Even on my Face Book page I’ve listed the “Kingdom of Heaven” for my political views. As followers of Christ we have to keep in mind that we’re part of His eternal Kingdom which supersedes the greatest Kingdoms of men. But is this stand of total avoidance too radical? After all, it would seem from the scripture that politics is a freedom issue. We even noted in Part I. of this series that we can’t separate the sacred from the secular and this would apply to politics as well. Yet considering the transitory nature of this realm, I do believe that this is an issue that Christians should seriously wrestle with. As for me, I’ve drawn the line in the sand to abstain and here are at least four reasons why.
1. Political Parties are Incomplete. While I tend to lean toward a more conservative Republican bent, the fact of the matter is that neither major political party has it all right. They both have some huge things going for them, but neither one really possess a corner on the market of truth. A big issue of me is the sanctity of life which sits well with the Republican stand in their anti-abortion platform. But on the other end, the Democratic Party tends to defend the rights of the little guy and the poor which is something that the Bible also speaks about. So to claim allegiance with just one party over another is to ignore issues that are Biblical and endorsed by the other side.
2. Political Parties are Divisive. This is an easy one to see from my perspective as I have friends on both sides of the political arena who claim allegiance first to Christ. The problem is that we often get hot and bothered by particular legislations and build walls against each other that eventually turn into stone throwing. I like what one guy said on FB a while back that most often Republicans paint all Democrats as being “morally corrupt and loose” while Democrats position all Republicans as being “ignorant fools with unprogressive thinking”. As for me in my calling and position of proclaiming Christ and the Kingdom of God, I run the risk of alienating people who need the love of Christ over issues that are not eternal. While I may believe that I am logically right on some of these political issues, they are minimal in light of lost souls and eternity.
3. Politics are Inadequate. I’ve noted this before, but the sad reality is that politics are not the real fix for society. Yes, we need laws to avoid chaos and as illustrated in the second installment God even ordained government. But the best set of rules and regulations in the world can never change a man’s heart. I remember visiting with some missionary friends in Australia a number of years ago and the latest news that day was a guy who went on a rampage with a butcher knife. Now here’s the significance. Australians believe in huge gun control and you basically can’t get a fire arm there unless you own a mammoth sized ranch. But yet if someone wants to kill another human being, they’re going to find a way to do it. Their Anti-gun policy did nothing to deter a murderous heart. Here we see why Jesus said virtually nothing about political philosophy or the Roman Government. There were a lot of really bad things going on in his day, but Jesus came to change the heart and elevate it to the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. When a heart is transformed it will naturally do what is good for its neighbor whether there is a law in place or not.
4. Politics are too Tempting for Me. A major reason for my decision to run away from political dialogue is simply that it’s too tempting for me. I can easily get carried away and miss the big picture and point. I can lose focus and miss or blow a chance to convey what is eternal and really important. So I try to bite my tongue and refocus as much as I can in order to stay on track. I suppose it would be similar to a recovering alcoholic staying clear of a bar. It’s just not worth it.
Well, that’s something to start with. How do you intersect with this issue?