". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


If We Care About Our Neighbors, We Should Care About Politics

March 29, 2024

For decades, the media and politicians have worked hard to discourage conservative Christians from being involved in politics by labeling us the “Religious Right” or “Christian nationalists.” Yet there are Christians who question our involvement in politics as well. They say, “Why should we care about politics? Our focus should be on sharing the gospel and serving others, not getting involved in politics.”

While our primary focus should be on following the Great Commission and helping those who are hurting, Jesus also said:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Self-Evident Truths

Americans have been blessed with protected freedoms since the founding of our nation —freedoms that people from all over the world admire. Yet, those freedoms are increasingly being questioned and threatened.

It’s important to understand exactly where our Founding Fathers believed our rights come from. The following are the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence:

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Many of the Founding Fathers were Christians with a biblical worldview; however, others were more liberal Christians or even Deists. Yet most, if not all, of them believed in a natural law (or absolute truth) that is written on every person’s heart by their Creator.

The Genius of the First Amendment: A Balance Between Church and State

Since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and our laws are supposed to abide by it, it is important to read what the Founders wrote in it regarding religion.

No National Religion

As the Library of Congress explains:

“Religion was addressed in the First Amendment in the following familiar words: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ In notes for his June 8, 1789 speech introducing the Bill of Rights, [James] Madison indicated his opposition to a ‘national’ religion. Most Americans agreed that the federal government must not pick out one religion and give it exclusive financial and legal support.”

The Free Exercise of Religion

While the Founders were very intentional about not establishing a national religion, at the same time they emphasized religion’s importance by saying that no law should prohibit citizens from freely exercising it.

The Founding Fathers believed that religion and morality are essential in order to have a free and ordered society (and to prevent a society from falling into the hands of a controlling, totalitarian government).

In President George Washington’s farewell address, he instructed his fellow citizens that “Religion and morality” were the “great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.” “National morality,” he added, could not exist “in exclusion of religious principle.” “Virtue or morality,” he concluded, as the products of religion, were “a necessary spring of popular government.”

Evidence of Natural Law

Christian author and philosopher C.S. Lewis brilliantly explained natural law that is shared by all people across all cultures at all times in his book, “Mere Christianity.” He also gave examples of this cross-cultural natural law in the appendix of his book, “The Abolition of Man.” These examples include beneficence (kindness and goodness); duties to parents, elders, ancestors, children, and posterity; justice; honesty and truthfulness; mercy; and honorableness.

Recent evidence of natural law was discovered by anthropologist David Gilmore in his book, “Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity.” Gilmore conducted a cross-cultural study of men which he surveyed throughout the world. He found a common code of masculinity: the good man provides, protects, and procreates (i.e. raises a family and builds the next generation). Even those men who are not Christians (who have the gift of special revelation) realize there are distinctive strengths to being masculine (provide, protect, and procreate) because they are made in God’s image and have general revelation or natural law.

Christians Should Be Involved in Politics Because We Should Advocate for What’s Good for Society

If politics is “concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy,” then why should those who believe in natural law not be allowed to participate in shaping governmental policy? If we’re not involved, then we leave a void for others who believe in moral relativism, postmodernism, critical theory, and other worldviews to fill.

Ultimately, political debate reflects a society’s values and determines a country’s laws. Is morality relative or is there absolute truth? Are nuclear families formed by one-man-one-woman marriage essential building blocks for a stable society? Or is a large, powerful national government more beneficial? Is all human life created by God and therefore ought be protected by law, or is human life’s value based upon age, race, nationality, religion, location, productivity, “self-awareness,” or a mother’s intentionality? Should parents have primary authority over their children’s education, or should the government override their authority?

While Christians don’t have the answers to all public policy questions, God does provide clarity through the law written on all humans’ hearts and through His Word. As the Founding Fathers made clear, we should never impose one national religion. However, as we follow Jesus’s command to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbors (fellow human beings) as ourselves, we should participate in public debate and be involved in politics for the good of society.