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Religion and politics

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Introduction

Both liberals and conservatives have become quite adept at mixing religion and politics in our current society. One also continues to observe an ongoing practice of civil religion demonstrated by presidents and office-seekers on both the left and right. Generally, the leftist merger of religion and politics has received greater social acceptability because it has been cloaked in such rights' causes as civil rights, women's rights, or economic rights (the social distribution of wealth). The advocating of these rights issues have provided an appearance of transcending religion, keeping the left relatively free from criticism of any church and state overlap. Christian Conservatives, however, have found it more difficult to reasonably combine faith and politics because they have more overtly recognized that their political positions are grounded on faith assumptions. This has resulted in numerous attacks by both non-Christians and Christians alike against the conservative attempt to merge religion and politics. Three arguments have been used most frequently against the conservative mixture of religion and politics. In what follows each of these arguments is stated and then refuted. The first argument is that politics is too worldly. The essence of the argument is that politics is part of this world's system, and Christ clearly taught His followers to "love not the world," and to flee from worldly activities. ...read more.

Middle

It does not mean to keep these areas fro m redemption. It does not mean to remove oneself from all activities in the world. Politics can, thus, be godly or worldly, depending upon the mindset and the character one brings to it. The second argument used against Christian political involvement is that it is morally wrong to infringe or force one's personal views on society at large. This is the argument that Christians hear, through many subtle means, from non-Christians. In our postmodern culture, tolerance has emerged as the most treasured virtue. Tolerance supposedly demonstrates the highest expression of compassion, caring, unity, and, ultimately, love for one's fellow humans. In a pluralistic society with a wide diversity of viewpoints, a person must not promote beliefs that are by nature exclusive (like Christianity) because this would demonstrate intolerance, disrespect, or even hate for those in disagreement. Love and unity must be preserved at all costs. Thus, Christians cannot bring values derived from their faith into the public domain as part of public policy for that would be harmful and offensive to others, and, ultimately, immoral to do so. This argument could formally read as follows: Premise 1: Tolerance is the supreme contemporary virtue. If you do not practice tolerance then you do not love; to be intolerant is to hate. ...read more.

Conclusion

This original understanding of the Constitution has evolved into the contemporary reinterpretation where it now means we must have a secular state where God is kept entirely out of the political and social arena. The original intention was that the church and state would be two distinct and separate institutions but both under God. Nowhere does the First Amendment prohibit people with religious convictions from applying faith precepts to the legislative activities of the state. There is no violation of the First Amendment when Christian apply biblical principles to public policy issues. Clearly, these three popular arguments used against conservative Christians in order to keep them from political activity are not valid. Furthermore, in the Bible there is much political activity by God's servants. The judges and kings ruled under God. The prophets and Moses were quite political. Daniel served in the civil governments of Babylon and Persia. Joseph governed in Egypt. The Apostles spoke of following God's rules rather than men's. In conclusion, to be obedient to Christ requires political activity. Jesus is quite clear about the need to overcome social injustices. If Christ tells us to confront the forces of evil, but society tells us not to, and even makes a law against bringing religion into politics, then who should we follow, the state or Christ? In the broadest sense, we are called to political activity because we are responsible to apply Christian principles and standards to all areas of our society, and politics is one of these areas. ...read more.

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