The role of the church in politics?
What role can, and should, churches and individual Christians play in the political process, particularly as it relates to the presidential election?
The Christian Chronicle asked this question in a survey of ministers and members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
A sampling of the responses:
“Churches should not become active in the political process. Support for candidates or discussion of issues from the pulpit is activism. Encouraging everyone to get out and vote is not activism. Voting is basic to citizenship. Tax-exempt status may be at stake for activist churches.” — MIKE CLEMENS, Juneau, Alaska, church
“The first and most important thing that all Christians should do is pray. We should also strive to use God’s word to set the standards of living — and then be willing to share the truth with everyone around us — that is, we need to gently instruct those around us in the truth of God’s word and how it can enhance and improve our lives. We should vote with our faith as a guide on important issues.” — GREG MASSEY, South Burlington, Vt., church
“Churches should provide a place for dialogue between individuals. It should be a place where those who have in common Jesus as Lord can converse about touchy topics and walk away knowing that whatever happens, God is the one who is really in power.” — ANDREW BATTISTELLI, Storefront church, Pineville, La.
“Whether you like it or not, to be a citizen, with the freedoms we have, means responsibility to those freedoms. If we disagree with something, we need to vote to make our voices heard. One of the problems Christians have is not getting involved in the political process, even if it is on a small level, and then crying ‘sour grapes’ when a new law is passed that takes God out of our communities even further.” — LARA GIESBERS, North Main church, Mount Airy, N.C.
“I think that the gospel should influence how Christians view political issues, and Christians should be an influence in determining the national discussion. On the other hand, I think that we have other priorities, and our government and political parties should not be seen as the best or most important way of doing the work of God.” — CHAD BEWLEY, Caldwell, Idaho, church
“Christians should play a role in the political process. If God does have authority over the ones who are elected, then his will needs to be known as a part of the process.” — STEVE SHANER, Ottawa, Ill., church
“As individuals, we should vote, if we feel so inclined. We should work for candidates, if we feel so inclined. But ‘our citizenship is in heaven,’ and we should not get so involved that we lose sight of that.” — WAYNE NEWLAND, Greater Portland church, Portland, Maine
“This is the question with which I struggle most, and I increasingly tend to think that churches and Christians should avoid political processes.” — BARCLAY KEY, Macomb, Ill., church
“Christians should individually play any role they feel compelled to play in the political process outside of congregational processes and settings. Churches can and should teach regularly on moral/ethical subjects such as integrity, sanctity of life and prejudice. Churches must not use the assembly, Bible classes or corporate influence to persuade their members or their community to vote for or against a particular candidate or party.” — COLIN WEBB, Edmond, Okla., church
“Churches should encourage their members to be appropriately engaged with culture, including participating in the political process at the level they feel is fitting. However, I also believe that churches should remind their members that we are kingdom people who just happen to live in this particular democracy, that our responsibilities and levels of accountability are not merely American.” — RICK JOHNSON, Eastside church, Antioch, Calif.
“I don’t think churches should be in the political-influencing business whatsoever. When Christ came, he had personal relationships with people, not governments. … The Jews were waiting for an earthly kingdom to be set up, and that was not his agenda. He had the power to overthrow the government … and he did not. I certainly don’t believe he wants Christians doing that today, using his name … to become oppressive when it comes to government issues.” — MELANIE MORALES, Southwest church, Amarillo, Texas
Feedbackgenerally being a candidate does not make one coruptive . religion alone does not lead you to servive meaning that one has the chance to vote inorder to have good governmentmunyaradzi chayambukathey should voteharare, africa
zimbabweMarch, 11 2013Many Christians struggle with the church’s involvement in socio-political-economic issues. Yet Scripture and history clearly support the church’s place in these concerns. Daniel becomes a leader in Babylon, Amos and other prophets speak into political and social matters in Israel, Judah and the surrounding nations. Both John the Baptist and Jesus refer to the political concerns of their day. In both the Old and New Testament God’s representatives spoke out against abuse of political power and sought just use of power. This surely, is what the ministry believes “salt and light” means.Jones ChamangwanaReach out ministriesBalaka, Malawi
MalawiAugust, 20 2012Prior to electing president George W. Bush for the firts time, we received tremendous pressure from our denominational pentecostal church to vote for him….(unofficially)…from the pulpit, he only referred to political parties and what they standed for. We, like the rest of the Christian community nation-wide, we were told that voting Republican (George W. Bush) was in our best interest. How wrong our Christian leaders were! I for certain regret voting for the destruction of our domestic economy, going to war in Iraq and losing over 4,000 of our young American soldiers….and still counting.,April, 25 2008