Friday I more or less wrapped up the theory I take with me to politics, and now will start getting into more how I apply that theory to my political involvement. The next part of this series, therefore, will talk more about specific issues and political organizations. You've been warned.
As I noted in that last post, we need to prioritize our time/energy/support for political causes as none of us have infinite resources to spend backing everything with which we may agree. Of course I have to do this too. As noted in earlier parts of this series, my priorities, as a Christian, need to align with God first, then with the interests, gifts, talents, resources and abilities He's given me.
So how do I prioritize, as an example of how this theory plays out in "real life"? I start where God did in Genesis 1: Life. We have enumerated rights guaranteed by the Constitution (and, according to the Declaration of Independence, were granted by God Himself, ergo not up for debate - but that's a different matter.) However, not one of these rights means anything (anything!) if we can be deprived of life by others. What good is it to be able to speak or pray freely if I'm not even given the chance to live to enjoy those rights? It all starts with life. Without it, the remaining causes and rights mean nothing.
Without going into particulars (I'll post on life/death questions later in more detail), I will say that killing is not always wrong - but in matters of politics, I gravitate towards the life-supporting and life-affirming side of issues.
Following life, I prioritize issues of poverty (as God is very clear about helping the poor and vulnerable.) Next are social morality and environmental concerns, as stewardship matters, followed by matters of international affairs, economics and fiscal policy. Don't get me wrong; I'm not in favor of wasteful spending or "big government." I just don't find my strengths in that arena, and think others are better suited to argue there.
There are other issues that can probably come into play, and many "sub-issues" in each of these that would drop (or rise) in my priority list were I to detail out every tiny things. Each of us has different priorities, but Biblically speaking I see life, morality and poverty as more important than stewardship, economics and foreign policy. This doesn't mean I see the latter group as unimportant; indeed, they are all very important. But God has given others a much better platform, and greater talent, to argue for those items with passion.
Once I've decided which issues to support (and this is an ongoing process as it seems that new causes, issues and debates pop up perpetually), I get involved to the extent my resources allow. First and foremost, this means prayer. I'll concede here that I need desperately to get more consistent with praying for leaders, and over issues. I think that's an area many of us slip to the back burner in favor of day-to-day matters. But in our political activities, prayer for discernment and for self control is important. And not just for us, but for those with whom we disagree.
Starting next time, I'll start talking more about given issues, just to let you see how this process works out in my life. I'd be curious as to how you prioritize and act in your lives too. Feel free to post a comment or send an email.