February 8, 2020 | from Townhall
“Politics” includes much more than television debates and campaign ads. The word comes from the Greek word “polis,” or city-state. Politics is about how people organize their lives together in community. Understood from this perspective, politics is intimately connected to the concept of loving one’s neighbor.
Christians need to realize the outsized significance of government and the role it plays in loving their neighbors. Can Christians really care for their neighbors if they don’t engage in politics, the arena where society’s basic rights and freedoms are shaped? The United States wields unrivaled influence in promoting religious liberty and human rights (or not) around the world. How can American Christians love the people of the nations without having a vested interest in their own government’s approach to these issues? By voting, Americans determine who will represent their country abroad and whose values will be exported.
Second, Christians must also consider their obligation to vote. Paul explains in Romans 13 that government is ordained by God and authorized to wield the sword for the administration of justice. That includes representative democracies like the United States, where citizens exercise the first office of government by voting. Thus, God has assigned American citizens a role in promoting justice through the agents we elect.
Third, during election season Christians must decide between particular candidates to support. Christians should never conflate the message of the church with a political party. We must reject the tendency to baptize a political party and adopt their platform wholesale. However, while policy positions on key issues matter, it is also imperative to recognize the phenomenon of America’s two-party system and the need to navigate this reality.
America’s two major political parties are increasingly divided on several issues, including abortion, marriage and sexuality, and religious liberty. Although neither political party perfectly represents evangelical Christians, party platforms do allow us to make considered judgements about whom to support at election time. Politicians increasingly vote in line with their party’s platform—averaging 80 percent over the last 30 years. Thus, for Christians, insofar as a platform addresses issues informed by biblical morality, it is easier to make an informed decision about which party to support based on the platforms.
As November 2020 approaches, Christian voters will be inundated with messages about how to engage the political process. By approaching the campaign from a framework grounded in biblical reflection, Christians can faithfully navigate… and make God-honoring, thoughtful decisions on Election Day.
(Excerpt from Townhall. Article by David Closson.)