A matter of faith not politics

Put yourself first before other people. Put yourself first before other nations. Put yourself first before the environment. Decry those who oppose with belittling labels ‘weak’, ‘soft’ ‘liberal’.

The above represents a widely held popular political stance. It is also a stance which receives a wide support including from evangelical Christians. The way in which the above, which is so clearly the opposite the teaching of the prophets and the gospels is defended is various. One approach is to argue that faith and politics have nothing to do with one another and so Sunday worship and political affiliations have no connection. So any debate is fought out on the same non religious terms as everyone else: usually nationalism and economics. Another is to argue that rulers have a God given right to rule and that the above demonstrates strong leadership. The rules for this it is said are different from the rules of personal morality which is all that Jesus was interested in. This means that of course you will try and be kind to your neighbour, turning the other cheek, but will expect the law to keep them in place and of course we should spend as much on arms as is necessary to defend ‘our’ country.

Each of the above positions are matters of faith. Even the one that claims that faith and politics do not mix is actually a theological perspective that comes from ones faith and understanding of the bible. A differing position that argues that Christians should seek for a politics and forms of governance that have a more egalitarian and caring approach towards others and other nations with a sense of wider responsibility because this better represents the Christian ethic in the public square is also a matter of faith.

What does this mean. It means that our political choices are matters of faith and the decisions we make are as much about the nature of the faith we are choosing to own as the politics we are choosing to adopt.

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