This is a touchy and somewhat controversial subject, but I wouldn’t feel right without addressing it this week. Some teachings (not so sure “doctrines” are strictly correct, but maybe I’m splitting hairs) in WCG waxed and waned. Most of these are minimized or even thrown out by some COG splinters.
One thing that has seemed more or less consistent with WCG in the splinters has been that of political involvement. What is not consistent, though, is the teaching itself in some regards. In short, the message seems to be, “Get dirty if you wish, but not too dirty.”
I ran across the article, “Whose side is God on? A outsider’s perspective on American Christianity” on Gershom’s Journal. I think it is worth a read. It points out the danger of thinking that God is on your side in whatever political involvement you may be engrossed in. That is exemplified in no more stark terms than in warfare, which is an example often cited by the COG.
There are 2 inconsistencies I have seen within the Church, though:
1. The allowance for participating in local issues. For example, you may be for or against a school levy, and so you feel obliged to vote in regards to that issue. I’m sorry, but that just does not make sense. If God’s will is good enough on a national level, then why don’t we trust Him on a local level?
2. In spite of official teaching, there are those who unofficially argue in favor of or against certain issues. I’m not talking about the obvious ones, either. And, I do mean heated discussions.
I don’t remember what the last heated discussion was about, but let’s just take the example of health care, which is on everyone’s mind. Philosophically speaking, I’m neither for nor against socialistic medicine. The taxes might be another matter, but even a sensible system could work that out. Therein lies the problem, in fact: coming up with a sensible system. My take on it is that health care will be totally screwed up if the government takes it over. It is also my opinion that health care will be totally screwed up if the government does nothing about it. In fact, I believe that health care will be screwed up if government backs out of it entirely. It just doesn’t matter.
Likewise, I’ve always thought that voting by party was a pretty stupid way to vote. Over time, it has become more and more evident that most Republican politicians are hypocrites. It has also become more and more evident over time that most Democratic politicians are hypocrites. If anything, it has become more blatant over time.
At the bottom of it all, as God and religion have been slowly pushed off the public stage, politics has filled the vacuum. The problem, of course, is that politics is morally bankrupt. Politics involves winning at all costs. As a result, more and more of our politicians have turned out to be morally bankrupt as well.
And so, my question in all of this to those who believe Christians have a moral responsibility to be involved in politics: How can you support and even vote for a person or party that is morally bankrupt?
You know, it is easy to say, “Well, this candidate is pro-choice, so I cannot vote for them. I will vote for the other candidate.” However, in practice, it rarely boils down to one issue. What if your pro-life candidate is against the death penalty, for gay marriage and/or wants to hike taxes during a recession? Doesn’t make it so easy, right? Doesn’t make it so black and white, does it?
And, even if a given candidate seems to talk the talk and walk the walk about values, there’s no guarantee that they will once in office. For all you know, they may make up all sorts of stuff about WMDs being in enemy hands and start a war that throws off the entire power balance of the Middle East, which then threatens security through the entire world.
So, is political involvement a sin?
Let me put it this way: Anything that you look to for deliverance other than God makes an idol out of that thing.
The bottom line question is whether we Christians are supposed to make this a better world or not. Some view it as a social obligation to enforce the laws of the Kingdom (usually biased towards specific laws while ignoring others, BTW). “Social justice” and “moral responsibility” are often thrown around to urge people to contribute to a certain party or to get out and vote.
However, Christ said, “Thy Kingdom come.” Christ disappointed many followers because He made it clear that He did not come to cause a revolution against the Roman Empire. Rather, we are called out of this world (Jn 15:18-19). We are separated, even though we are in the world (17:14-16).
No, Christ looked forward to another Kingdom. Jesus pointed to a Kingdom that was also separate from this world (18:36), but will one day rule it.
So, even though we still have an obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves, to feed the poor and hungry, to take care of widows and orphans, our involvement in the world needs to stop at the point that we are becoming part of a corrupt system. Our endorsement should not be applied to the world’s way of doing things.
At first, this may seem like a strange comparison, but when you think about it, it should make sense once it sinks in:
For more information on political involvement, please read “Politicians Are People Too“.