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Friday, May 13, 2011

The American Christian and Politics

CCMC Blog Contest 1st Place: 

The American Christian and Politics 
By Kirk Miller

Romans 13: 1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the highest powers. For there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 

Was America founded on Christian principles? This is a question that is much deliberated today, and in Christian circles we often run to our answer "yes" as if it will work as some sort of trump card, winning all debates about moral issues in politics. The problem is that it doesn't.
When the Articles of Confederation were tossed aside and the Constitution was being formed, our founding fathers established a Democratic Republic. Our founders established rights such as the right to bear arms and religious freedom. These rights allowed for capitalism and encouraged enterprise. Are any of these things inherently Christian? No. They are not. They are political ideologies. Our founding fathers may have been influenced by Christianity, may have been Christians, and/or may have had Christian values, but that doesn't make the political system Christian any more than Tony Dungy's (a Christian NFL coach) football playbook. Capitalism is no more Christian than Marxism, or vice versa. A republic is no more Christian than a dictatorship. 
But what about ethics? Was our nation founded on Christian principles in the realm of morals? It is rather debatable what our founding fathers believed about God, the Bible, or anything pertaining to morals. They very well may have had Christian morals (and I tend to think they must have at least been influenced by Christianity). Either way, it does not matter because those men are dead. Their legacy is a political system that was made for the people, by the people, a legacy that changes and evolves. What matters are the values that our nation holds now, for our founding fathers are no longer the government; we are. As the people, we are the deciding factor regarding the ethics of our nation. And I am sad to say that our nation is no longer formed on Christian values; Christianity is no longer our foundation. We see this in examples such as gay marriage, abortion, and many other ungodly "rights."
So, what is the current foundation of America? We all know that it is certainly not Christian. So, what do we do as Christians? What is our reaction in light of Romans 13?
In Romans 13 we are told to honor and obey our authorities because in doing so we obey the Sovereign who is in control of their reign, that is, God who allowed them to rule and set them up in power. As Americans, however, we are our own government. Therefore, not only are we to respect the established rule, but also, we have the God-given right to influence it. 
This being said, we should never pull out of government simply because it is not a Christian realm. Since God has given us these privileges, we should use them for His glory in influencing our country. The majority of our current government may not have a Christian foundation, but we do, and we should be just as much an influence as God wills us to be. Because God allows us to be the government, let us make it as glorifying to Him as we can. While we should be disgusted by the sin in our nation and fight in the political sphere to change laws, we should never by shocked at our nation's depravity as if it is "un-American." American and godly are not synonymous; America is depraved. Therefore, let us not be shocked at the downward spiral. 
Nonetheless, our lives as Christians are to be gospel-centered, and therefore our life in the political realm should be a reflection of those values. We are just as much the government as anyone else and we should use that God given right for Him. Our government is only as Christian as the Christians make it. 

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