I can't think of much in life that's not affected by politics. In this way, politics are much like faith. A person's faith, in the form of one's worldview, informs everything that one does. This includes politics. Faith (or a lack thereof) guides what one believes about politics, and how one should engage in political activity or dialogue. I would even go so far as to say that one can't separate one's worldview or faith from any aspect of one's life. We may think we can compartmenatlize like that, but in reality we can't. The classic example is our last president. President Clinton's defenders in the Monica Lewinsky days said he could separate his personal life from his professional life. That lie was quickly shown for what it was. His personal lie to his wife became a public, political lie to the nation. The personal became the political.
So if our faith informs our politics, and I'm talking about my politics, I need to start with my faith and what it says about politics. Some of this will be a bit surprising or controversial to some. So be it. I appreciate any questions or discussion.
So what does my faith say about politics? First, it says that politics should not be my highest priority, regardless of my interest in it. Jesus commanded us to make disciples and help the poor. He told us to leave the work of government to the government and to focus on the things of God. God is to be our priority above all things, including politics.
My faith also tells me that submission to authorities is demanded in all circumstances save one: when the politicians try to mandate I act contrary to scripture, I must obey God above government. However, even here I need to accept that there will be earthly consequences to my choice. Many a disciple went to his death (or her death as persecution against Christians increased over time) for obeying God over a conflicting law. The key is that in these cases, disciples died for disobeying man, not God. They submitted to their government in all things until told to disobey God.
This leads to some interesting conclusions, one of which relates to the very founding of this country. Scripture is filled with directions given to people living under persecution, yet not one of these directions is to overthrow or rebel against the government. In fact, the Word is clear that whatever our circumstances, we are to submit and be good witnesses. Even slaves were not commanded to seek freedom first (though that's not a bad thing to seek), but rather to instead use their position to serve God: that is what's paramount.
Which brings me to the American Revolution. Honestly, I see no justification for the American Revolution in scripture. Now, before you light the torches, let me say I'm glad that the U.S.A. exists. And I don't doubt the intentions of the Founding Fathers. But I think that starting a war that killed many people was a violation of scriptures like Romans 13. In a Roman empire that was much more unjust and oppressive than 1776 Britain, Jesus did not call for overthrow. Nor did Paul or Peter or any other NT authors. They called for submission to authority unless submission meant disobedience to God. And when such occassions arise, we're not to rebel, we're to simply obey God and let the civil chips fall where they may.
Now, this may lead you to think I'm all about meek submission even when my "rights" are being violated. To an extent, this is the case, but it is not the complete picture. I believe that where the government allows for an opportunity to offer a defense in the legal system, Christians should have no problem taking advantage of it, ala Paul working within the Roman legal system. The twist here comes from the structure of our nation, where I am (in theory) part of the governing authorities as an elector in a democratic republic. Some forms of protest in this country are, in fact, not rebellion but designed-in components of democracy. To the question of how my faith leads me to behave in a democracy (beyond submission to authorities and prioritizing the things of God above politics) will be the subject of the next post. Following that will be a post or two on the church/state question, after which I think I'll turn towards more specifics along the lines of why I'm an independent, political affiliations, and perhaps a Christian perspective on an issue or two. If there's anything else you'd like me to address - even if only to provide fodder for mockery - let me know.
By the way, for a little fun, here's a worldview quiz for you. I found it interesting the quiz didn't label me a funadmentalist!
| You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.|
What is Your World View? (updated)
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