Christianity & American Politics: A Lesson to Learn

This morning as I read the news, I noticed that US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain has rejected the endorsements of the well known Christian televangelists John Hagee and Rod Parsley.  Of course, this is not the first 2008 presidential candidate to sever ties with a Christian voice.  Earlier this year US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama ended his association with the Pastor of his local church, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. 

The actions of both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have come about as a response to the comments and publicly expressed views made by these preachers which many Americans find to be insensitive, hateful, and a distortion of reality.  But more importantly, the views expressed by Hagee, Parsley, and Wright are of such nature that they are considered to be damaging to the credibility and the campaign efforts of each presidential candidate.

From the sound bites of what I have heard articulated by Hagee, Parsley, and Wright, let me first point out and make it very clear that I completely and entirely disagree with the views articulated by each of these preachers.

Beyond this, however, there is a valuable lesson for Christians living in the United States to learn.  The nation’s political machine, represented by both presidential candidates, is only interested in the endorsement of Christians so long as that endorsement is beneficial to their political goals.  It is very clear that neither candidate is interested in any Christian endorsement that is attached to a view deemed too radical or too unpopular with the voting majority.  But here is the pickle: the Christian message, the gospel of Jesus Christ, has never and will never be a mainstream (non-radical) or popular message.  At what price are Christians willing to pay for aligning and associating their faith with a particular politician as an endorsement?  For it is becoming increasingly clear that such endorsements and associations are only accepted so long as we Christians proclaim an acceptable message to the popular culture.

Here is the lesson:  Christian association and/or involvement with national politics has a price attached with it.  Is the price really worth it?

7 responses to “Christianity & American Politics: A Lesson to Learn

  1. Christians most definitely need to be involved on all levels of society as the Gospel itself stands opposed to civil powers that rebel against the Creator. This isn’t to say that we are always against the powers, as they are ordained to exist for now, but that we have to call them to account for their actions. The truth we know is that Jesus is Lord.

  2. I have a lot of questions as to what role, if any, Christians should play in the secular government (and that is not to deny the divine-ordained role that governments play). Having said that, if Christians do play a role in government they must do so without compromising the gospel they have been called into. My fear and observations is that for a very long time in Chrisitan history (since Christianity was legalized by the Roman Emperor Constantine) Christians have compromised the gospel in service to the state. Of course, this is not to say that every Christian in the post-Constatinian era has done so but it seems that such examples are few rather than normal.

    The big question then is am I guilty in any way of compromising the gospel for the sake of anyone or anything else?

  3. I am mixed feelings on this issue.
    Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront.
    Wonderful post.
    Keep up the great blogging.
    I hope you have a safe, happy and fun memorial day weekend.

  4. I too have very mixed feelings when it comes to Christianity and politics, especially when it comes to voting. Since I became a registered voter (age 18, I am now 34), I have yet to hear one politician who I feel is truly interested in a better country and world rather than his/her own power base. Furhter, my struggle is complicated by the fact that I refuse to allow my potential vote be cast based solely on two moral issues. Some would say that if I am unsure of whether it is right to vote then I should not vote. I don’t know.


  5. I am glad you wrote on this issue. I do vote, but I do not endorse. I will voice my opinion on issues, but generally follow the rule of discretion. I trust God’s sovereignty, but I do not want to be so non-political that I am not salt or light or image of God. I try to remember the adage that evil wins when good people do nothing. — Bryan

  6. I do not want to leave the impression that I am telling other Christians whether it is right or wrong to vote. Each Christian must make their own ethical decision. What I do want to see is what I sense more and more Christians are beginning to realize. That is, secular politics, whether from the right or the left, or American or from another nation, has never and will never be on the side of God’s kingdom. That is not to say that secular politics never reflect the reign of God. It is simply to realize that secular politics has its own agenda. The sooner and the more Christians realize this, the sooner we will stop relying on the political process for the redemptive transformation of people and culture (something no law has ever accomplished to begin with) and instead recognize just as God brings redemptive transformation through Jesus (the gospel), now God calls his people (the church) to be the conduits of this message.

    Practically speaking, if we want a culture that reflects the moral vision of God’s kingdom, we must be willing to become sacrificial servants to the culture just as Jesus was in a Palestinian-Jewish and Greco-Roman culture. But that is hard work and a difficult cross to bear. But if Christianity is honest with itself, I suspect that much of the contemporary bed-sharing between Christians and politics has more to do wanting to preserve/establish our own ‘kingdom’ (much like Palestinian Judaism in a Greco-Roman world) that it does with the missional values of God’s kingdom.

  7. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Prozac!!

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