Have you ever felt uneasy when someone asks you as a Christian what your belief is when it comes to political activism? My first thought is that they really are not asking me for my opinion. As soon as the identification of Christian enters the question, they are asking what I think Christ would say. It is not a simple or comfortable position to be placed in. I have my own opinions on politics, as everyone does. These, however, do not necessarily reflect what Jesus taught.

Before I begin to answer the question; we need to frame it in the terms of democracy. We need to do this because it is the system we live under and because I believe it is the best of all flawed systems of government that man can create. Merriam Webster.com defines it as: “1a: government by the people especially: rule of the majority.: 1b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”

The concepts of democracy and constitution as a form of government originated in ancient Athens circa 508 B.C. Although this Athenian democracy would survive for only two centuries, its invention by Cleisthenes, “The Father of Democracy,” was one of ancient Greece’s most enduring contributions to the modern world. The Greek system of direct democracy would pave the way for representative democracies across the globe. It certainly is not perfect. Plato said: “The democratic man takes great interest in all the things he can buy with his money. Plato believed that the democratic man is more concerned with his money over how he can help the people. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. His life has no order or priority.” Socrates believed that the common man was not educated in governing and therefore government worked best when ruled by individuals who had the greatest ability, knowledge and virtue, and possessed a complete understanding of themselves.

They rightly identify real concerns and pitfalls in the democratic system. It raises the question of do we vote for the person who will create a prosperous economy or the one who best understands how to govern based on the needs of the people? What motivates our politicians to run – self interest or greater good. It gets really complicated when we ask how Christ would view our system and choices.

Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” [1] Jesus clearly draws a line between the roles of governance and Christianity. I am not saying that our faith does not influence how we vote as individuals. My objection is when we make our faith a political movement. Does God intend for us to drag our faith into the political arena? There are over 200 Christian denominations in the United States alone. We cannot even agree on what we believe. I find especially discouraging to see Christians supporting a mob movement to overthrow the results of an election that was confirmed in the courts and certified by the electoral college. To see Christians bring Christ into an armed insurrection to commit crimes against His laws and the laws of the country makes me terrified to think of what Jesus will say on the day of resurrection. Many will hear, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness[2]

Submission to Authority

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. [3]

Once you claim to be representing Christ, your opinion maters little. It is not your reputation on the line, but that of our savior Jesus.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mk 12:17.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 7:21–23.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Pe 2:13–25.

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