Can You Be A Christian & Have A Political Opinion?
I’m ready for this presidential election to be over, right now—TODAY! (I think I heard an “amen” somewhere!) I already know who I am going to vote for (most people do) and yet I am still going to have to watch these guys spend millions of dollars telling me how bad the other person is and saying things that an “expert” told them to say in order to appease a particular group of people.
It makes some people nervous that I am a pastor AND that I have a political opinion (a pretty strong one if you want to know the truth.) I’ve heard the argument that Christians are too political…and that if you are a Christian then you should not express your political opinion. (And, let’s be honest, this belief is commonly held by people who are typically not Christians and also have strong political opinions. Translation: If you are not just like me then you are not allowed to think. Hmmm…)
If you claim to be a Christian then you are also claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is about WAY more than getting our “get out of hell free” card…it’s about meeting Jesus and then walking with Him every single day, learning more and more about who He is, what He wants and allowing HIS values and HIS ways to become ours. As we do this it will significantly impact EVERY area of our lives…including our politics. Followers of Jesus are not called to some sort of religious privatization in regards to allowing Scripture to deeply impact their beliefs!
However, let me be very clear about a couple of things in regards to Christians and political opinions…
#1 - I do not believe the pulpit of a church should EVER be used to publicly endorse a political candidate. There really is no room for stone throwing here as this has taken place on both sides of the aisle. Politicians are necessary as they lead our country. We are commanded by God in the Scriptures to pray for them (which is sad…I think if you are bashing ANY politician but are unwilling to pray for them…and claim you are a Christian…then you are a hypocrite.) I do not believe it is a problem if a church recognizes a political candidate in a service and even prays for them; however, the church’s message IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST—PERIOD!!! And no matter what politicians promise or what they claim their intentions are…we must all face the fact that policies and legislation will not change the heart—only Jesus can do that.
As I said, as a pastor, a Christian and an American I have STRONG political opinions, and I will gladly share them with anyone who wishes to chat about the latest buzz in politics; however, the resounding belief I hold at the deepest level of who I am is that the world DESPERATELY needs Jesus, and that if Jesus Christ were known and followed that there would be no need for tons and tons of legislation as HE would bring about the change that would make the world a much better place.
#2 - Honestly, this one is the one I think we, as Christians, should focus on. It is ok to be a Christian…and it is ok to have political views as a Christian…and it is ok to share those views with others in conversations; however, when doing so…
Jesus said in John 13:34-35 that the world will know that we are Christians by our LOVE, not by our protest signs and political hate speech.
Translation: We do not have to be a rear end to people who do not share the same political views.
I believe the main problem that non-Christians have with Christians having a particular political view is because much of the time people that claim to be Christians are just so dang mean to people who don’t think, talk and act just like them (which is a SERIOUS sign of insecurity!)
I love watching political talks shows and have XM satellite radio in my car by which I listen to talk radio a whole lot; however, I’ve had to stop recently because the rhetoric (on both sides) is pretty disheartening.
And listen to me…BOTH SIDES, I don’t care if you are a fan of CNN or FOX News, take a look at your favorite political talk show that comes on after 8:00 on either one of those channels and imagine you are a person who does not hold the views of the host…and see if there is anything about his or her speech that would make you even consider their opinion. (We tend to elevate these hosts as heroes when they bash and beat down the other side…when, in the end, nothing is really gained by this type of talk.)
As I said last week in my post about Ben & Jerry’s, Chic fil A and political correctness...Jesus won the hearts of people over through conversation, not condemnation!!! We can have STRONG opinions about things…but only a secure person with strong opinions can accurately reflect the heart of Jesus in their attitude towards others who do not happen to vote just like them.
I just wish both sides could be more civil. I’m DONE watching talk shows and listening to talk radio until this thing is OVER…mainly because, if I allow it, the people that I commonly listen to would have me so worked up that at times I would be looking for someone to have a political argument with, thus taking my attention off of the GOSPEL and JESUS!!
So, Christians, PLEASE be involved in politics. Please vote!!! Please allow the Scriptures and not political correctness to dominate your worldview. BUT…PLEASE be nice as we are called to represent Christ in EVERYTHING we do, even with people whom we strongly disagree with.