Monday, February 23, 2009

The role of faith in politics

This is an article I wrote before the election and before all conversations were about banks and bailouts... remember when we were talking about other issues?

The role of faith is preeminent in every sector of the way and the how we live our lives. God is either real or He's not real. He exists and desires to invade this world through us, or billions of people are terribly deluded. Faith should influence our politics, our relationships, our business, our education, and our charitable deeds.

God is either real or He's made up.

Faith should influence politics, but we should put little faith in politics. We need to put faith into action in our lives, not just the ballot box. Too many people of faith act like their ultimate expressions of faith happen on Sunday mornings among like minded worshipers and once a year - or once every four years - at the ballot box.

Christianity Today recently published great list of issues people of faith should be aware of when casting their votes: "What is [a candidate's] plan for Iraq? For the Middle East? What would [a candidate] do to stop the genocide in Darfur? How would [a candidate] expand religious freedom worldwide? What would [a candidate] do to reduce abortion and to protect innocent life in general? How would [a candidate] secure our borders against terrorists, reform our immigration laws, and permit more refugees to resettle here? How would [a candidate] promote equal economic opportunity for all while protecting the environment?"

There is more to being a person of faith than simply VOTING for a candidate that has the same political views or religious convictions, especially when candidates have learned to use your religious convictions to pander to you to promote themselves. For example, a voter that has a pro-life stance can vote for a candidate that has a pro-choice position that works to reduce abortions. But even more so, you and I can do much more that is pro-life than merely casting a ballot for a candidate that agrees with us on one issue. We can volunteer at a women's center. We can raise money for an abortion alternative organization. We can adopt a baby. It's more than a biblical world view, it's a biblical world "DO".

The Washington Political machine is a juggernaut. It doesn't matter how you exercise faith at the ballot box. The person you vote for can't get everything through without compromise, negotiation, and traded favors. You could do far more in your world, politically, by putting your faith and politics into action.

Grassroots activism gets so much more done than political wrangling and posturing. There is unbelievable bureaucracy and cash involved with just printing out the plan, rules and regulations to get the ball rolling for any initiative originating in Washington. But with a fraction of the money, churches and community groups can change and impact their own cities by doing. Don't expect government to get your faith done. God wants to make an impact on the world through individuals, not governments. You go do it.

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