Christians must be involved in politics. They cannot afford stand on the sidelines and have no say in governance and morality of society. How can they be guardians of justice if they’re stand on the sidelines?
I’m convinced that Christians can’t afford to be spectators as others of diverse convictions and beliefs create laws and systems that will define the society we live in. We must pray for leaders and everyone in public office.
Prayer is important, and so is involvement. In case you were wondering where I stand, there it is.
My qualm, however, has nothing to do with the question I’ve just addressed. It has to do with what Christian leaders do with their political views or opinions and their affiliations.
Some obvious questions are:
- Should they support particular political parties or figures?
- Should they state who they support?
- To what extent can they criticise those in politics and or public office?
There are other similar questions that are often raised. I’ll attempt to share my answers and thoughts as a constant struggle.
This is very broad word and can mean many things. For instance, this could mean being a member of a political party, contributing financially (and other resources) or enabling policies or ideologies, endorsing figures and their policies etc.
The list goes on but I hope this gives an idea of what I mean by that. (Despite my attempt at a definition of support, I’m likely to use it loosely).
I prefer some political parties or leaders to others. I have opinions about just about anything. If you’ve read my other blog you’ll know this.
I prefer some ‘leaders’ to to others, primarily because of what I see them do as leaders. It is also based on what I think immoral in the way they carry themselves as leaders and consistently ‘disturbing’ character traits.
So, I end up ’supporting’ a political party and or leader(s). I get impassioned by what I think is wrong; by who I see as being wrong. I take sides with those I see as being right and just.
A lot of people who’ve known me over the years are shocked I’m not as loud as I used to be. It is not that I have no opinions, it is that I wrestle with the extent to which I can share them, and also, with whom I share them.
Before I go on with this, let me say I think every Christian leader, by default, needs to not only hate injustice but also be a proponent for justice.
Does this place responsibility on Christian leaders to speak out against injustice? Despite complexities? I say yes.
The challenge is this: when we see (political, community) leaders and people in public office act unjustly and in an immoral way, do we speak out? To what extent?
Do we only address the issues? For instance, do we talk about the immorality and injustice and how things ought to be or do we call out the ‘pepertrators’? To what extent?
Can we call out the ‘perpertrators’ on injustice without alienating those we lead who may not see any wrong? No doubt, there are some people we lead who might not see what see as wrong or unjust.
There are others who get outraged, that we’re not speaking against some leaders or issues. I don’t think we need to be jumping on everything.
I prefer to leave most issues to Christians serving in the political arena. However, I also can’t be completely silent.
Looking at the Bible, I see characters such as Daniel and friends, Mordecai and others, who served in public office.
I also see prophets such as Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-15) and Jeremiah (Jer 1:5-10) mandated by God to speak against kings, their immorality and injustice. I see Jonah, speaking God’s message and impacting everyone, from the least, right up to the king (Jonah 3).
There’s definitely need for Christian leaders to play a role. Part of that ‘role’ is speaking out. Part of that is being exemplary.
Another part of it is being engaged and meeting need in the communities we, as Christians, have been placed in. This is not to say that other Christians do not have a role or responsibility.
This Leaves Me…
I’m still wrestling. There are Christian leaders ‘called’ specifically to the political arena and public office. But, because I’m not called into that space does it mean I cannot be outraged and speak out?
Outraged, I can be. Speaking out? When I speak out I create a rift in my relationships with other Christians. When I don’t I do the same, as some Christians expect Christian leaders to speak out.
I resort to speaking on issues. What should be and what shouldn’t be. However, this doesn’t help much. What about being outspoken on corrupt leaders? Should I call them out? Is it really my place?
Can I be neutral?
Wait, what does God want? What does He expect of me? Truth be told, I sometimes feel so strongly about things I mistake them for God’s leading.
So, the Christian leader, what does he / she do about matters of allegiance? To what extent can he / she speak out? Can he / she feel so strongly that he / she is wrong about God’s leading?
What if I’m don’t particularly feel called to speak out? Besides prayer and doing something to address injustice in my community what else can I do about injustice and immorality for leaders in public office?
Can I be outraged? May I?
(image, Parliament of South Africa by Michael Hebb)