I want to start by saying that I really hate politics. I vote, pay my taxes, understand the need for government; but politics makes me ill. More so than usual lately.
Should Christians be aligned with any party or even any one cause? Does the Bible suggest any course for policy?
While the Bible does support the necessity of government. It doesn’t endorse or condemn any specific system of government. Christianity is always portrayed, as it was in the 1st century, as outside of the government and really outside of this world. This does not mean that there should be no attempt to improve our lives and the way the world works. It just makes the statement that you cannot fix what is wrong with the world. A fix will require a complete restart, and God will do that on His schedule.
One trend that I observe in America, and probably in other places as well, is that we expect the fix for social ills to come from the government; even when we consider government to be completely incompetent. For example, alcoholism was a big problem early in the 1900’s. People expected Prohibition to fix it. It didn’t.
As we consider the problems our society and world faces, we need to also consider from where the fix needs to come. Laws are not always the answer, at least not by themselves. Sometimes they are fixed family by family and person by person.
So what are our biggest problems as a nation? Does the Bible add any guidance? Is policy or leadership the answer, even in part? Here is a list of issues with biblical connections. They are presented in no particular order, because the solution for each and the impact of each can be debated
Unemployment and Dependency on Government
The nation was doing pretty well and Covid-19 knocked the legs out. Government needs to be there to support people through a tough spot like this. It was overwhelmed by the volume of need, but I still expect things will slowly get back to normal. The Bible teaches a concern for the poor, but also preaches the necessity to work. Dependency is not the answer.
A larger problem with employment looms on the horizon. Oddly, Covid exposed the foolishness of exporting much of the supply chain overseas. This needs to be reeled back in. The looming problem isn’t globalism, it is Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence will soon prove to be both blessing and curse. AI will render humans, even some specially skilled humans, obsolete. If the economy is viewed as simply an engine of profit versus a means of providing for all of its people, then we will have a large pool of people with nothing to contribute, and consequently trouble. Guaranteed income, which has been one proposed solution, robs a person of purpose. Already families with a culture of government dependence suffer from having no societal purpose. The solution? An attitude change among corporate leadership and investors, possible laws if attitudes don’t change, investment in people skills not just profit machines.
Worldviews are diverging in America. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are guarantees that people may have and express different worldviews. The Bible obviously promotes one worldview, but it is something that cannot be legislated. The Holy Spirit must make you believe. These non-biblical worldviews are not just benign alternatives. They have consequences. The Church must be heard on these divisions, not silent. What aspects of worldview are divisive? Here is a partial list:
- We are evolved and purposeless, thereby diminishing the value of human life
- The nuclear family is not necessary, leading to further degradation of children’s lives and many other ills.
- Constitutional rights are extended not to humans but rather to “persons”, allowing rights to be taken away from the unborn, possibly the disabled, the elderly, and whoever those in power wish to marginalize.
- Our bodies are irrelevant. Leading to sexual practices that produce children without proper parents, the spread of disease, confusion about gender, confusion about sexuality and a progression toward acceptance of sexuality that especially victimizes women and children.
Laws can and must protect freedom of speech, while curtailing hate speech. Hate speech is not disagreeing with someone. Hate speech is espousing violence. Liberal elites wish to promote the list above and censure those who disagree with them. Laws and protests cannot fix this divide. News channels for entertainment make it worse. Only civil discourse, prayer, and wise leadership that will draw in most everybody will help.
Similarly, laws governing the protection of individuals, especially the unborn, are necessary; but do not solve the problem. Like Prohibition those seeking an abortion or euthanasia will simply go around the law. To truly stop these things from happening you must change a person’s worldview.
Respect for Human Life
Throughout our history as a country we have been very hypocritical about the “all men are created equal” clause in our constitution. What allowed us to marginalize certain groups like American Indians, Blacks, Chinese and others was an implicit (if not explicit) belief that somehow these groups were less human and therefore less entitled to their rights. The will to correct this wrong was often washed away by the fact that extending these people their rights would rob those who held the power from money, power or convenience. Treat Indians like people and white people lose land. Treat Black or Chinese people like humans and you lose labor, and so on.
This false belief is now used on the unborn. What should be the criteria for rights under the constitution? You should be a human. There is no scientific or religious standard that would deny that we are human (and not just parts of a human) from conception. This is very inconvenient. So another category was created: personhood. Oddly, enough personhood is arbitrarily defined. The unborn are often regarded as humans but not persons, so there rights are subjugated to the right of a woman to not carry a baby to term.
The Bible doesn’t have much information about the unborn, but what it has affirms that we are knowable as persons, human and consequently sinful from conception.
Respect for life also applies at the other end of a lifespan. Because of the unique nature of what we are, we are not to play God with the end of our lives. Euthenasia oversteps our role and rights.
This is not particularly true with capital punishment. Scripture does give the right to government to take life for crime. This goes with the heavy burden of knowing the true criminal.
A Growing Separation of the Haves and Have Nots
If you allow such a separation to grow unchecked, eventually it results in revolution and collapse. People tend to act selfishly, so expecting people to do the right thing is unlikely to work. Pure capitalism works well in harnessing people’s self interest. It creates a profitable economy. Self interest is also eventually its downfall.
The Bible shows a great concern for the poor, and a serious warning over the power of money over human beings. Progressive taxation, investment in the bottom rather than trickle-down economics and other checks on individual and corporate greed are necessary, because we won’t do it ourselves. It is a function of the government.
Immigration and Drugs
The Bible speaks of care for the foreigner among you, and a general respect for humans whether or not they have a legal status in your country. Oddly, our own sins fuel the current immigration problem. The demand for illegal drugs creates criminal suppliers. Criminal suppliers create violent environments. Violent environments create refugees. How to break this cycle is not exactly clear. Legalization of everything produces a larger class of drug dependent ruined lives with ruined children. People stupidly believe that legal equals harmless. Clearly we have to get ahead of this problem somehow. Disregard for the refugee is not a godly answer.
Natural Disasters and Preparedness
Covid -19 is a form of natural disaster. We didn’t handle it well as a government, nor are we doing a great job as a society. Famine, floods, pestilence, earthquakes, meteor strikes and the like are all warned about in Scripture. So what do you do? You should expect them. If God’s people behave as God’s people should then super-natural disaster is averted because we are like “salt” (see Matthew 5:15). That still leaves disaster that is an expected part of the curse. For this government cannot cut corners in preparedness and sit dumb-founded when it happens. For our current disaster we all need to be smart. This isn’t a political conspiracy. Things are not fake because you can’t see them. You may be free, but that doesn’t mean free to do whatever you want. For a society to survive certain disasters we have to work together no matter how inconvenient.
Energy and Global Warming
Within our lifetimes energy resources will become seriously challenged. This is hard to believe with Covid suppressed gas prices, but it is true. Democracies are especially poor at dealing with slow developing, long-term problems like this one. Everything has to be urgent to gain consensus and political will. The Bible says nothing about this except that stewardship of earth is still our business and not going to be easy.
My personal opinion is that these problems will not be solved by government. It will be industry, technology and everybody being individually efficient that will make the difference.
Etc., Etc., Etc.
There are still more problems including health care, race relations, gun violence, national debt, terrorism and foreign policy. To be a political leader is a job bigger than any one person.
The Bible calls for compassion and regard for human life. These should guide any answer. It also calls for good stewardship money and of your own health.
Does this list suggest how to vote? Sadly, it is a mixed bag among the candidates and parties. Again, it becomes a choice of lesser of two evils. Do I feel that government can fix our problems? Nope.
All we can do is to take personal responsibility as much as possible. Pray, and plead for help from God that we do not deserve. God is merciful. Speak civilly with people and share the understanding that Bible gives. Love unconditionally and patiently. Understand that Christianity and political party do not align themselves. Vote knowing you will get a mixed bag.