The Christian and the Election (article for Smith mountain eagle 10/3/12)
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses it’s saltiness… You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13,14
In just less than 4 weeks we will once again exercise our constitutional right and go to the polls to elect our next president. We have for months now been inundated with the propaganda about this year’s election. TV Commercials, mass mailers, robo-calls, yard signs are all evidence we are in the throws of another hotly contested political season. Undoubtedly we are all looking forward to putting this season behind us.
I have noticed it is NOT in vogue for pastors to speak about cultural issues in the pulpit or in other public arenas. We are quick to hear that we are to keep our faith separate from things such as politics. I believe this trend is not only inconsistent with authentic faith but also is in direct contradiction to the commands of Christ mentioned above, Furthermore, it makes the church irrelevant on the most pressing cultural issues. This is not the precedent laid down by our ancient church Fathers or those men who founded this country. It is my belief that our light is to shine in the darkness and be influential for good and righteousness in this world, even in the political arena.
Perhaps you have noticed from my participation in this column I do not shy away from talking about relevant cultural issues. I feel it not only my duty but a calling to refuse to be silenced about issues that effect my faith, my children and our nation’s future.
As we approach this election season I would like to share the 5 simple thoughts on ways Christians can be “salt and light” in an election.
1. Christians ought to vote! We are told in scripture to submit to those who are in authority over us. This mandate makes it critical and important that we as believers in Christ exercise our right to vote.
2. Christians ought to vote in a way that reflects their principles. There is often a disconnect between what is right and in accordance with scripture and what is politically espoused. We have a sacred duty to protect the unborn, defend the morality of marriage and in general allow our vote to be heard for truth and righteousness.
3. Christians ought to be active in politics and seeking political office. It is the long-standing tradition in this country that men and women of Christian faith run and be elected to political office. 52 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were active members of their congregation and several were current or former members of the clergy.
4. Churches should speak to relevant social/moral issues. The church led the fight against slavery. I am proud to be a part of a church tradition that was one of the first to break away from it’s denomination over the issue of slavery in the 1840’s. These and other issues in our country were fought and won often through the spoken word of the church.
5. Christians need to remember that politics is not the ultimate answer. Whoever is elected in November; We know that our hope is not found in a political figure but in our Savior, that our greatest weapon is not a political sword but prayer and that the ultimate victory will not be won on election night but on resurrection morn!
Go be some salt!