“A People that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” Reader’s Digest
In our society, we have a constitutional clause that affirms the separation of church and state. The intent of that amendment forbade the establishment of a religion by the state; it was conceived to establish freedom of religion. In theory, it would divorce religious considerations from the political decision process. The writers must be looking down and shaking their heads in disgust over how it has been so misused.
It’s significant to note that in Biblical days, the Jews used the power of the state against the new Christians. And later in history, the Christians used the power of the state against not only the Jews, but other religions as well. They simply tried to do to others what had been done to them. Sounds like the Golden Rule turned upside down, yet it seems to be the more common approach in recent times. In today’s world, we again see the power of the state used by people who believe that all religions are oppressive to them and have used the power of the state against Christians, Jews, Moslems and all others. James Thon once said, “Too often we seek justice only for just us.” That seems to be what’s happening now; a small vocal minority has successfully eliminated school prayer, attacked the display of the Ten Commandments, and many other items related to religion.
Considering this as well as the historical events, should we, as Christians work to regain the control and be as influential as in the past? Should we now use the power of the state against those who disagree with us? Some would say yes, and coalitions have been formed to make it happen.
But if you feel that this is equally wrong, should we as Christians simply quit the political arena completely? Should we let it take its own course without any input on our part? I would contend that this is not the answer either. Christians have, as history has shown, influenced the political arena and our society in many ways – laws against child labor and abuse, elimination of slavery, labor laws, and so on; ways we wouldn’t want to lose.
It would appear that the real answer lies somewhere in between. It is not our way to force our convictions on any one, yet we all have some idea of what our society should be like. It seems obvious that we, as Christians, should work toward our goals in such a manner that we do not destroy those who disagree with us. On what basis do you make political decisions (vote)? Consider some of the following options offered by Dr. Justo Gonzales in his book, Journey through the Bible, Volume 13:
I decide on the basis of my own self-interest
I decide on the basis of the party I support
I decide on the basis of what is best for the nation.
I decide on the basis of what is best for the most disadvantaged
I decide on the basis of the greatest good for the greatest number.
I could list more, but this is probably enough to encompass most voters. It is interesting to note that all the statements begin with “I.”
Perhaps you have thought to yourself that since I’m only one vote in millions, what I do, how I vote, doesn’t make any difference. I would hasten to say that it would be wrong to think you don’t make a difference. States are sometimes won and lost by only a few hundred votes. In a county like Houston County, where the voter registration is fairly small, it would take only a few votes to swing a decision.
In a few short weeks we will be voting for many people from local representation up to the President of the United States. Voting is not only a privilege, but also a responsibility, and yes, even an obligation; one we should take seriously and exercise thoughtfully. I urge you to study the candidates, pray about it, and vote with knowledge, not emotion. We, as Christians, can make a difference.