Friday Five: Faith & Politics

Well it may or may not have escaped the notice of many that over in the UK we have been awaiting the results of the General Election…. it has been the most closely fought election for many years, and the result… a hung or balanced Parliament, with no outright winner… and it has got everybody talking…

So what do you think about the mix of faith and politics:

1. Jesus a political figure: discuss…

Ummmm…yes, but not the way we think. Some of Jesus’ followers wanted him to overthrow the government but he was more about establishing God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is so much bigger than our small earthly systems, and we are citizens there, not here. Jesus invited people to live differently within the system and expected poor treatment as the outcome. He told his followers they would be hated and he knew of his own earthly fate. Jesus didn’t preach rights, religious liberty or the pursuit of anything resembling happiness. He spoke of abundant life that speaks of something bigger than all of us. He was a political figure because he was a challenge to the ruling class and they didn’t know how to handle him so they tried to make him a traditional political figure by saying his statements regarding God’s kingdom were treasonous. Jesus challenged his followers to do the tasks of government, like taking care of the poor. If anything he challenged the religious political system much more than the civil one.

2. Politics in the pulpit, yes or no and why?

Politics no, social issues, yes. I think it’s important in this country to abide by the laws governing the tax exempt status of churches and that churches should steer clear of endorsing candidates and making overt political statements one way or another. I think we should encourage our people to listen to what God is calling them to do and then act accordingly. I do think we need to talk about social injustice because I think the church has seriously dropped the ball on this and if we did our job there would be fewer government issues to contend with because we’d be taking care of them.

3.What are your thoughts on the place of prayer in public life…

Sticky. Very sticky. Based on our founding documents of not favoring one religion over another if there is going to be prayer in public life it needs to be very generic.

4.Is there a political figure, Christian or otherwise that you admire for their integrity?

Political figures and integrity are a rare combination. I’m not sure I know of many because the higher the stakes the more compromise is required and integrity becomes an issue. I would like to speak to a couple of political figures and talk about issues of integrity, though, not because I think they are particularly upstanding – primarily Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams.

5.What are your thoughts on tactical voting, e.g. would you vote for one individual/party just to keep another individual/ party form gaining power?

I would and I have. While I believe the kingdom of God transcends what we’re doing down here, I do believe we live within a system that can be part of bringing that and I do have ideals that I believe align with God’s goals.  Therefore, I try to vote those ideals even if the particular candidate might not be stellar, the other one could be much worse. I often vote the lesser of evils which unfortunately is the more common option.

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One thought on “Friday Five: Faith & Politics

  1. Abigail Adams… Nice inclusion. I hadn’t thought back to Lincoln, either. I agree that there are few who manage to stay true to their convictions as they rise higher in influence and responsibility. I guess that’s why, when we see people who are on track, we need to pray for them!

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