The Danger of Making Politics Primary
I know there is real potential for danger when we try to think through whether or not Christians should be involved in politics. The primary danger is, of course, politicizing the gospel by identifying Christianity with one particular political party or program. Sadly, this has happened on both sides of the aisle up there in our nation’s capital. There was a time when being Christian meant voting Democratic. There was also a time (more recently) when being Christian meant voting Republican. There are still churches in which both of those viewpoints are espoused.
I want to be as clear as I can on this point. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. You can be a Christian and vote for a Democrat. You can be a Christian and vote for a Republican. We must never fall into what C.S. Lewis called “the gospel of God and…”, that is, adding your particular pet project to the gospel, trying to make them one and the same.
In this fallen world, no one political program or party or platform can claim to be a complete expression of the will of God. We cannot legislate God’s kingdom into existence. We must never allow legislation or lobbying to replace our primary calling to pray, worship, evangelize and lead people into a growing and healthy relationship with Jesus.
There. I said it. I still think Christian involvement is necessary. However, it’s not primary. It should be pursued with wisdom and discernment and heaping helpings of humility. We must learn to listen to those whose political viewpoint differs from ours. We must never think political discussions are the one place where we can check our Christian civility at the door. And we must never give up on the power of prayer. As Mother Teresa said, “To work without prayer is to achieve only what is humanly possible, and [our] desire is to be involved in divine possibilities.”