Christians and Politics (and Why They DO Mix)
Last week, many God-fearing Patriots cheered as they watched the video of Class President John Hardwick defy the attempts to stop traditional graduation prayer at his Kentucky high school.
For those familiar with the Book of Daniel, they remember that courageous Daniel was actually thrown into the lion’s den for an act rather similar to John Hardwick’s.
In recent years, we have been witnessing the bold ascension of the Post-modern (secular) movement, and its attempt to eradicate Christianity from government and the public square altogether. As a result, “separate of church and state!!” –is the cry we often hear from those who misunderstand the original intent of Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter to the Danbury Baptists, and by those who have themselves been bamboozled by the Left’s revision of America’s Christian heritage.
Surprisingly, many of these cries are even coming from Christians.
Yet, Believers may actually be astounded to find just how many Judeo-Christian precepts influenced our government’s very foundation and structure, and why it is so critical to tear down the secular misconception of Jefferson’s wall between church and state before it’s too late. At this point, a well-informed (and morally courageous) Christian like Class President John Hardwick can make all the difference in saving this nation…especially since our Republic is practically on her deathbed.
For a Christian, forgiveness of sins is the main essence of the Gospel. Yet, the Bible has another unique quality: a power that inspires transformation in the very individual it touches. And through these very individuals, it also has the power to transform entire societies. If you and I are truly Bible-believing Christians, this very power is within us. This means you and I have the power to make a positive impact not just only on our families; but also on our neighborhoods, our communities, and even on Washington D.C.
Matthew 5:16 tells us, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” This command can certainly be applied to doing good works when it comes to influencing our nation’s laws and policies. In fact, we can look to Scripture to find God’s faithful servants (such as: Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Esther) — actually influencing secular governments and pagan officials to advance laws and policies that are consistent with God’s principles.
Daniel even counseled King Nebuchadnezzar:
“Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (Daniel 4:27)
After all, how can rulers (especially pagan ones like “King Neb”) know what is right and wrong policy if they don’t have a “Daniel” to give them any moral guidance on what is good and evil?
And, if Christians do not begin to speak up about moral and ethical issues currently facing our nation, then who will? Where will the American public learn right from wrong? Hollywood movies? Mainstream media? Pop culture? Rap music?
In his book: “Politics According to the Bible,” Wayne Gruden explains:
If we are here to glorify God, we will glorify Him by obeying His command, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:39). But that means that I should seek the good of my neighbors in all parts of society.”
This means we should seek good policies that include:
- Protecting unborn children
- Protecting marriages and families
- Protecting citizens from criminals who want to harm them
- Protecting children from corrupt influences (i.e. pornography and pedophiles)
- Protecting God-given rights of law-abiding citizens
- Rewarding hard work and success
“Jesus’ command that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” means that I should seek good of my neighbors in every aspect of society, including seeking to bring about good governments and good laws.”
In his book: “How Christianity Changed the World,” historian Alvin Schmidt also points out how the spread of Christianity and Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for:
- Outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman empire (AD 374).
- Outlawing the brutal battles-to-death in which thousand of gladiators died (AD 404).
- Instituting prison reforms such as segregating male and female prisoners (by 361 AD).
- Stopping the practice of human sacrifice among the Irish, the Prussians, and the Lithuanians.
- Outlawing pedophilia.
- Granting property rights and other protections to women.
- Prohibiting the burning alive of widows in India (1829).
- Outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women’s feet in China.
In addition, Schmidt argues that several specific components of modern views of government also had a strong Christian influence in their origin and influence, including: individual human rights, individual freedom, the equality of individuals before the law, and even freedom of religion.
We can also turn to other Biblical principles to find what God actually says about civil government. Romans 13:4 teaches us that a government official is “God’s servant for your good.” This means that our government officials are actually designated by God to serve their fellow citizens. And because government is instituted by God to be a “servant for our good,” we are also commissioned by Him to abide by our nation’s laws.
In fact, as a Constitutional Republic, U.S. citizens have often taken great comfort in that fact that we are governed by the Rule of Law (“Law is King” where the law is our compass, and everyone is subject to the same laws- including our leaders) as opposed to being governed by the Whims of Man (“Man is King” where human feelings and impulses are rulers over us-including the feeling of arrogance that drives so many (especially politicians) to act as if they ABOVE the laws of the land).
Our Rule of Law is much like our nation’s moral conscience, an alarm that tells us what is right and wrong for everyone within our nation’s borders. This is because many of our laws are rooted in religious and moral convictions (i.e. “thou shall not steal” and “thou shall not kill”…etc.). There is tremendous security in our Rule of Law as a U.S. citizen.
1 Peter 2:14 also teaches us that government officials are sent to punish those who do evil and praise those who do good. Therefore, we should view the activities of government (when it rewards good and punishes evil) as something that is “good,” according to God’s word.
But, how can officials restrain “evil” and reward “good” if they no longer have any guidance on what is “good” and what is “evil”? What happens when the government no longer sees itself as accountable to God? What happens when officials begin creating mandates that force citizens to actually disobey God? What happens when government officials start targeting law-abiding citizens (instead of actual criminals) by bombarding these “good” citizens with: excessive regulations, abusive taxation, and intimidating government agency audits? When the STATE cannot discern between what is truly “good” and what is truly “evil,” it can easily become the devil.
Which brings us to the American Revolution and why our Founders declared the necessity to rebel against the British. In “Politics According to the Bible,” Wayne Gruden explains:
“The reason that a number of early Americans thought it was justified to rebel against the British monarchy is that it is morally right for a lower government official to protect the citizens in his care from a higher official who is committing crimes against these citizens.”
According to Greg Forster, a scholar with expertise in the history of government theory:
“One common argument among Christian writers was that a “tyrannical” government is “not really a government at all but a criminal gang masquerading as a government, and therefore not entitled to the obedience that governments (properly so called) can claim.”
Therefore, our Founding Fathers thought of themselves as doing something that was morally right and even necessary, for they were protecting the citizens in their care from the evil attacks of King George III of England, who repeatedly acted as a “tyrant.”
In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders declared:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a descent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
They were proclaiming that God Himself gave our nation the right to become independent from a tyrannical government. After declaring that God gave the authorization for the very existence of the United States, they stated:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”Here, they stated that the entire purpose of government is to protect the rights that are given to the people by God.
In “Politics According to the Bible,” Wayne Gruden also explains:
“Independence from Britain did not come cheaply. In the War of Independence, approximately 4,500 Americans died. Later wars were even more costly….
These hundreds of thousands of men (and many women as well) sacrificed their lives to protect their nation and preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. Is it right that we simply enjoy these freedoms while giving to our nation nothing in return?”
A significant portion of the ruling power in the U.S. is entrusted to us citizens through the ballot box. To be able to vote is to have share of ruling power. Therefore, all citizens who are old enough to vote have a responsibility to know what God expects of our government. That’s why it is critical to know what kind of government God is seeking.
As we have discovered, we can learn this from the Bible. As we have learned, God instituted government to be a “servant for our good”. But, how will our leaders know this if there aren’t any “Daniels” to remind them?
Kentucky Class President John Hardwick is certainly a modern-day “Daniel,” bold enough to pierce the secular myth of the wall between church and state. His very act of courage showed us all how to stand up for our First Amendment Right: free exercise of religion. In addition, he reminded us all that there is a God who endowed us with this very right, and that we are each accountable to Him (yes, even those in Washington).
As Christians, we do not have to be afraid to let our light shine before others, especially when it comes to influencing our nation’s laws and policies. In fact, Christians should be on the politically forefront reminding government officials they are accountable to God:
- To be servants for our good
- To restrain evil doing
- To reward good behavior
- To actually know the difference between good and evil
- To protect the very rights that God has given us.
In fact, how will anyone in our nation know these basic principles if we don’t “Daniel-up” and guide them?