Christianity Vs Politics

Jun 26, 2014
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I have a question and I haven't prayed on this yet but I wanted to get feedback:

I have been a libertarian for many years. That's an ambiguous term so let me define: I believe we all have free will and the right to exercise our wills within reason (ie - you can't kill someone if you disagree etc). I have not necessarily supported abortion, gay marriage, drug abuse etc but I have maintained that it isn't my place to place edicts on other people who choose those things.

As I have recently looked at my own faith and realized my own shortcomings as well my decision to run from God, I have decided to accept God's will in my life and recommit to Him. While I have a multitude of issues on my plate, I have begun to consider my political identity and it's relation to my faith. Perhaps in time, God will move me to reexamine and maybe that time is now.

As I look at everything I fundamentally believe about how freedoms and rights are paramount to govt sanctioned and enforced morality, I wonder if I am putting my own beliefs ahead of what Jesus taught us and the scriptures say. Is it possible to be a Christian and support a woman's right to choose even if I disagree with the choice? Is it possible to accept people's right to marry or have a civil union or use drugs or hire prostitutes and be a Christian or are we charged to use a govt to enforce our beliefs?

I realize that I have used some charged words like "enforce" and I am not trying to ignite a wild debate over the politics of a country, I am simply wondering if certain libertarian political values I hold are in line with what we are charged as Christians to uphold?
 
Jun 26, 2014
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I tend to agree ASUK, however I'm referring to a personal belief system.

Can a Christian support a person's right to commit sin or should a Christian seek to apply morality? I'm not referring to govt sanctioned or enforced morality here, bit simply a personal world view.
 
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Jun 1, 2014
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I tend to agree ASUK, however I'm referring to a personal belief system.

Can a Christian support a person's right to commit sin or should a Christian seek to apply morality? I'm not referring to govt sanctioned or enforced morality here, bit simply a personal world view.
Well phrased. I really wish the Church put more energy into answering this with some nuance.
Government and religion should be separate or you get Sharia law.
Can you elaborate? Why would the legal imposition of Christian virtue (rather than Sharia virtue) be a bad thing? I'm not trying to "poke the bear," I just think your point is important enough to the discussion to fill out past an allegory.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Well I agree with the potential intersection of govt and religion leading to sharia law due in part to man's infallible nature.

Regardless of how righteous we presume ourselves to be, we fall short. Daily. To set a system in place that seeks to have man enforce God's will seems like a recipe for man's arrogance and corruption to pollute any such effort. I believe we are called to act morally and follow the teachings of Jesus. I don't recall (and maybe it's there and I haven't sought it out?) any teachings of Jesus that sought to impose the will of God on others through laws - be those laws active or passive (as is the case with legalization and gay marriage).

But I agree David, I think there is a nuance here that is largely ignored by the church that deals with approach to governing a nation and a personal approach to acting in a manner befitting a Christian. Is it support to not oppose a sin? Is it a sin to oppose via legislation? Etc.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if God is even calling people to become involved in politics as these are worldly matters. Aren't we as Christians called to a higher duty? It's a lot of gray area I think.
 

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Nov 18, 2011
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however I'm referring to a personal belief system.
somewhat in that context: personal, relationship.

There is a bigger picture in relationship.

Individual -> family (honor your parent) -> community/neighbour (do unto others) -> nation (obey those in authorities)

Conflict happens: individual rights vs. collective rights (say of self defense, unjust wars, etc)

The concept is similar or consistent: individual are not perfect, so as our parent, i.e. we honor them still.....so as no perfect governments.

My personal POV:
For the Lord’s sake: am not really sure what it implies : but on my personal POV:

if we cannot obey authorities we can see, how we can obey authorities not seen.

1 Peter 2:13-17
New King James Version (NKJV)
Submission to Government
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.


1 John 4:20
New King James Version (NKJV)
Obedience by Faith
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[a] he love God whom he has not seen?
 
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Jun 1, 2014
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I think if you follow the philosophy ad absurdum both ways, on the one side you see something like a Christian version of totalitarian Sharia law and on the other you see something like the portion of the Church in Germany that sat back and watched terrible things done in the name of holy submission.

somewhat in that context: personal, relationship.

There is a bigger picture in relationship.

Individual -> family (honor your parent) -> community/neighbour (do unto others) -> nation (obey those in authorities)

Conflict happens: individual rights vs. collective rights (say of self defense, unjust wars, etc)

The concept is similar or consistent: individual are not perfect, so as our parent, i.e. we honor them still.....so as no perfect governments.

My personal POV:
For the Lord’s sake: am not really sure what it implies : but on my personal POV:

if we cannot obey authorities we can see, how we can obey authorities not seen.

1 Peter 2:13-17
New King James Version (NKJV)
Submission to Government
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.


1 John 4:20
New King James Version (NKJV)
Obedience by Faith
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[a] he love God whom he has not seen?
This is a really great post. But the primary point of difficulty is that Peter wasn't in a Democracy. In theory, citizens of a democracy all bare some portion of the burden of rule. As Christians in a democracy is it even possible for us to be active citizens (voting and engaging in political dialog, or even running for office) without allowing overlap between Faith and Governance?
 
May 31, 2014
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Can you elaborate? Why would the legal imposition of Christian virtue (rather than Sharia virtue) be a bad thing? I'm not trying to "poke the bear," I just think your point is important enough to the discussion to fill out past an allegory.
Some Christians are radical enough to have people stoned in the streets like in the old testament times. I don't want these people making Sharia type laws.

Really though we are not under the old laws anymore. Jesus answered the question of stoning with let him without sin cast the first stone. A lot of people forget that.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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I think if you follow the philosophy ad absurdum both ways, on the one side you see something like a Christian version of totalitarian Sharia law and on the other you see something like the portion of the Church in Germany that sat back and watched terrible things done in the name of holy submission.


This is a really great post. But the primary point of difficulty is that Peter wasn't in a Democracy. In theory, citizens of a democracy all bare some portion of the burden of rule. As Christians in a democracy is it even possible for us to be active citizens (voting and engaging in political dialog, or even running for office) without allowing overlap between Faith and Governance?
This is a good point. At some point, we have to be honest enough to say that we either separate religion from the State or we accept that the two are at least always minimally intertwined. If we are goverened by our faith, then it becomes impossible to separate that from our governance and participation in a democratic rule. In order to preserve the whole separation, the only ones that could conceivably participate would be those that have no faith at all. At least that's how it seems to me.
 
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Nov 18, 2011
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As Christians in a democracy is it even possible for us to be active citizens (voting and engaging in political dialog, or even running for office) without allowing overlap between Faith and Governance?
If we are goverened by our faith, then it becomes impossible to separate that from our governance and participation in a democratic rule. In order to preserve the whole separation, the only ones that could conceivably participate would be those that have no faith at all. At least that's how it seems to me.
IMO: Although Joseph, the son of Jacob, did not run for office, it was assigned to him....

He knows what to refuse...
 
Jun 26, 2014
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If God wanted us to be forced to not sin he would not have given us free will.
That's true.

But let's take a specific example: abortion. As a libertarian, I support that a woman owns her body and that an abortion is a medical decision on the part of her and her provider. As a Christian as well as just a mostly moral guy, I find abortion to be an abhorrent act and on par with murder. How does one exactly reconcile such beliefs when they participate in a democratic process? I'm not trying to be difficult here mind you. I think these are questions that a lot of Christians wrestle with and the church hasn't done the best job of providing a clear answer (though it may not be the church's job...)
 
May 31, 2014
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Some sins must be dealt with. Murder is one of them. Abortion is murder. It isn't almost murder, it is murder.

I understand the argument about a woman's body but that doesn't give her the right to murder the child just to avoid the inconvenience of a natural process.
 

aha

Nov 18, 2011
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387
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In theory, citizens of a democracy all bare some portion of the burden of rule. As Christians in a democracy is it even possible for us to be active citizens (voting and engaging in political dialog, or even running for office) without allowing overlap between Faith and Governance?
Am not sure though, but as person in the secular, I would consider running for office a worldly pursuit, in the same manner as securing food, shelter and clothing, ….. we do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God....


Colossians 3:12-17
New King James Version (NKJV)
Character of the New Man
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
 
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Jun 1, 2014
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That's true.

But let's take a specific example: abortion. As a libertarian, I support that a woman owns her body and that an abortion is a medical decision on the part of her and her provider. As a Christian as well as just a mostly moral guy, I find abortion to be an abhorrent act and on par with murder. How does one exactly reconcile such beliefs when they participate in a democratic process? I'm not trying to be difficult here mind you. I think these are questions that a lot of Christians wrestle with and the church hasn't done the best job of providing a clear answer (though it may not be the church's job...)
Some sins must be dealt with. Murder is one of them. Abortion is murder. It isn't almost murder, it is murder.

I understand the argument about a woman's body but that doesn't give her the right to murder the child just to avoid the inconvenience of a natural process.
Yes. This is exactly where the rubber meets the road. What do you mean by "dealt with." How do you deal with it? Voting? Picketing? Public advocacy? Rebellion? Every public and political action will have both positive and negative effects to be weighed. They will, to varying degrees, convince or force some to comply with your point of view (what constitutes murder) and they will, also to varying degrees, galvanize opposition.
 
May 31, 2014
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Dealt with means a variety of things that include voting and sometimes physical action.

If I saw someone being murdered I would try to stop it physically.
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Government and religion should be separate or you get Sharia law.
Dealt with means a variety of things that include voting and sometimes physical action.

If I saw someone being murdered I would try to stop it physically.
This for me is where this breaks down and becomes less clear.

If church and state are to be separated, then when you participate in the democratic process, you must acknowledge the laws as they are written. In the event of abortion, it is not legally or technically considered to be murder. That said, if you advocate against it, or try to use the process to stop it, then you are inserting religion into the process by proxy. So how are these ideals reconciled with our beliefs?
 
Jun 26, 2014
17
8
3
38
Government and religion should be separate or you get Sharia law.
Dealt with means a variety of things that include voting and sometimes physical action.

If I saw someone being murdered I would try to stop it physically.
This for me is where this breaks down and becomes less clear.

If church and state are to be separated, then when you participate in the democratic process, you must acknowledge the laws as they are written. In the event of abortion, it is not legally or technically considered to be murder. That said, if you advocate against it, or try to use the process to stop it, then you are inserting religion into the process by proxy. So how are these ideals reconciled with our beliefs?
 
Jun 26, 2014
17
8
3
38
Government and religion should be separate or you get Sharia law.
Dealt with means a variety of things that include voting and sometimes physical action.

If I saw someone being murdered I would try to stop it physically.
This for me is where this breaks down and becomes less clear.

If church and state are to be separated, then when you participate in the democratic process, you must acknowledge the laws as they are written. In the event of abortion, it is not legally or technically considered to be murder. That said, if you advocate against it, or try to use the process to stop it, then you are inserting religion into the process by proxy. So how are these ideals reconciled with our beliefs?
 
  • Like
Reactions: DavidG