It’s election time again. “Pastors are supposed to stay out of politics.” At least this is the openly shared opinion of many narrow-minded people. They don’t mean that. No, they’re fully supportive of pastors who push the policies and politicians they like. It’s just the pastors who disagree with them.
The people who think I should be silent and “stay out of politics” seem to never have a problem with Jesse Jackson’s or Al Sharpton’s highly political, very public activities. Neither do they have any issues with local pastors who openly push their liberal agenda. It’s just pastors like me, who tend to hold true to conservative Christian values. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.
The whole concept of separation of church and state comes from the idea Finding Reasonthat the government has no business dictating or forcing religion on people. People came to this country originally to get away from oppressive governments that tried to force religious preferences on them. This country was founded by people who wanted the right to their own religious choices.
The vast majority of our founders and the vast majority of the early settlers held strong Christian principles but didn’t want others dictating religious things. Many early settlers, politicians, entrepreneurs, etc., were dedicated to Christian principles. Most schools, governments (state, county), universities, businesses, etc., were established with Christian values. God, Jesus, and the Bible are key ingredients to many of our historical documents associated with our incipient nation.
In recent news Houston, Texas, which has been spotlighted as having a liberal mayor, tried to bully area pastors by using courts to infer censorship. Of course this was overturned, but still it reeks of corruption, as she tries to silence community leaders who oppose her political agenda(s). This is in the news, but it is not a new practice.
People have been trying to silence the influence of Christians and Christian leaders since the beginning of Christianity. The founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth, was killed via the death penalty (but of course He raised to life three days later). He warned His followers He came to divide — not to bring peace (Matthew 10:34f) and that they would face hatred (intolerance) and persecution (John 15:18f; 2 Timothy 3:12). Early on people tried to silence Christians by telling them they had no place sharing their views and by killing them (Acts 4, 6, 7, etc.).
As a result, over time more Christians are silent on the issues — pastors increasingly so. Many have come to believe that separation of church and state means the church has no place influencing the thoughts or outcomes of political elections. So, when dealing with clearly Biblical subjects, out of fear, many avoid dealing with those parts of the Bible.
Meanwhile, we continue to elect politicians who don’t share the views of a country that is still mostly Christian. The loud minority is pushing the rest of us around, and Christians stand idly by.
How dare we complain about the direction of our country or even of our local government(s) if we don’t do anything to solve problems. Jesus was not afraid to get involved in political issues. He even put a government guy (Matthew) and an anti-government guy (Simon the Zealot) on His main team.
So, it’s election time, Christians. Don’t complain about things you can change without doing what you can. You can vote. Don’t vote just based on party lines, how you were raised, or for politicians who promise government dependency (free stuff for you). Vote with your Christian values and for candidates who share those values.
Jeff Adams is pastor for Paramount Christian Church. His column appears weekly in the Nisqually Valley News. Email him at email@example.com.