POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Events occurring and how they relate/affect Anabaptist faith and culture.

Which statement most closely represents your views on Christian political involvement?

1) As "strangers and aliens" in this world, Christians should totally abstain from direct involvement in politics, recognizing that worldly power & coercion are inherently at odds with the goals & methods of the Kingdom of God.
18
55%
2) While direct involvement in politics (e.g. voting, volunteering) compromises a Christian's allegiances and non-resistant convictions, Christians should be willing to speak prophetically to power and the moral issues of the day.
9
27%
3) Christians should vote on issues and for candidates that reflect their values, but non-resistant Christians must not compromise by voting for positions that carry out corporal force on their behalf (e.g. President, sheriff).
0
No votes
4) As "salt & light" in a fallen world, a Christian's primary allegiance to Christ should be reflected in all areas of life, including sometimes at the voting booth, particularly when candidates or issues align with their convictions & values.
5
15%
5) Secular governments are ordained of God to keep order & punish evil. It is the Christian duty to help ensure that government remains just & reflective of our Christian values by voting and even political involvement.
0
No votes
6) God has given Christians a template for moral and just governance in Scripture, and Christians should not only vote, but seek positions influence and political position to help return society to its proper order before the Lord.
1
3%
 
Total votes: 33

Josh
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby Josh » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:05 am

JimFoxvog wrote:I thought this quote, attributed to a Mr. B on Instagram whom I know nothing about, has a thought-provoking take on relating to politics:
I want my friends to understand that "staying out of politics" or being "sick of politics" is privilege in action. Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don't want to get political, you don't want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.
It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka "get political"). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that's what privilege does.

Is this fair?

Is this helpful?


This has become the standard progressive Mennonite position, where political inactivity is actually something only the "privileged" can do and is in fact an act of racism, bigotry, and oppression. For those on the left who view the term "sin" in the Bible as basically mean "oppressing or being an oppressor", political inactivity is one of the few things they view as an actual sin.

Part of the calling of the Christian is to be subject to bigotry, attacks, deportation, and genocide. We are called to follow Jesus, even when it costs us our very lives. Choosing not to bear the sword might indeed mean we lose in a genocide, or choosing to abstain from engaging in political activism, violence, or serving in the military might mean we end up deported or have to leave our homes. (The Mennonites in Russia had to choose to either leave Russia, or serve in the military. Most of them chose the former.)
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mike
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby mike » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:26 am

Dan Z wrote:I would hope...although a potential abuse of non-engagement is passivity in the face of grave injustice. Caesar cannot be allowed to act with moral impunity.

That's why I think we who do conscientiously abstain from politics should always hold out the possibility that Caesar/Hitler/Stalin whomever may overstep his God-ordained role so egregiously that we may have no choice but to intervene for the voiceless and abused.


As I advocated in another thread, we must be about getting our hands dirty in the real work of the kingdom. I believe the danger lies not in political inactivity, but in lack of obeying the actual commands of Jesus.

I think it is possible to be politically "active" and feeling self-satisfied that one has done his/her part in advancing a cause, while neglecting the real activities that we as Christians are called to do. Reaching out to the stranger next to us, speaking the truth to our neighbor, ministering to the discouraged and downtrodden in our town.
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appleman2006
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby appleman2006 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:44 am

mike wrote:
Dan Z wrote:I would hope...although a potential abuse of non-engagement is passivity in the face of grave injustice. Caesar cannot be allowed to act with moral impunity.

That's why I think we who do conscientiously abstain from politics should always hold out the possibility that Caesar/Hitler/Stalin whomever may overstep his God-ordained role so egregiously that we may have no choice but to intervene for the voiceless and abused.


As I advocated in another thread, we must be about getting our hands dirty in the real work of the kingdom. I believe the danger lies not in political inactivity, but in lack of obeying the actual commands of Jesus.

I think it is possible to be politically "active" and feeling self-satisfied that one has done his/her part in advancing a cause, while neglecting the real activities that we as Christians are called to do. Reaching out to the stranger next to us, speaking the truth to our neighbor, ministering to the discouraged and downtrodden in our town.


I think this is especially true when we get a feel good attitude for advocating that the government do the work of the church with other people's money. At the very least we better make sure that we are doing our part with our time and money first.
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Bootstrap
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:35 am

mike wrote:As I advocated in another thread, we must be about getting our hands dirty in the real work of the kingdom. I believe the danger lies not in political inactivity, but in lack of obeying the actual commands of Jesus.

I think it is possible to be politically "active" and feeling self-satisfied that one has done his/her part in advancing a cause, while neglecting the real activities that we as Christians are called to do. Reaching out to the stranger next to us, speaking the truth to our neighbor, ministering to the discouraged and downtrodden in our town.


We certainly agree on this. These days, MN is the place that I'm most politically active. I've been working with refugees, but haven't yet gone so far as to sign a petition or put up a yard sign. I've worked in prison ministry, but haven't yet been politically active on that issue either. I was once quite politically active against abortion, and that process jaded me.

But I also think that when I am active on these kinds of issues, I do feel the need to speak up sometimes. And I also think it's possible to vote without forgetting that voting is a small token. And I certainly do agree with political activists who are concerned about the number of babies aborted, the number of Americans unnecessarily in prison, unwillingness to pay for good policing in poor neighborhoods, etc. I don't think that kind of activism is my call, but I'm also not sure that it isn't a call for some of them.

Let me highlight this sentence:

I believe the danger lies not in political inactivity, but in lack of obeying the actual commands of Jesus.


Absolutely. We need to call each other on to help the poor and oppressed, adopt unwanted babies, live morally pure lives, live deeply into the call of the New Testament. Neither voting nor abstaining from voting can substitute for that.
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Bootstrap
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:47 am

appleman2006 wrote:I think this is especially true when we get a feel good attitude for advocating that the government do the work of the church with other people's money. At the very least we better make sure that we are doing our part with our time and money first.


I don't think the church is adequately doing the work of the church, and I absolutely agree that we should be doing our part with our time and money. If Christians ever eliminate the need for social spending, I'm sure our politicians will quickly agree to get out of that business. I don't expect that to happen any time soon.
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appleman2006
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby appleman2006 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:32 pm

Bootstrap wrote:
appleman2006 wrote:I think this is especially true when we get a feel good attitude for advocating that the government do the work of the church with other people's money. At the very least we better make sure that we are doing our part with our time and money first.


I don't think the church is adequately doing the work of the church, and I absolutely agree that we should be doing our part with our time and money. If Christians ever eliminate the need for social spending, I'm sure our politicians will quickly agree to get out of that business. I don't expect that to happen any time soon.


Obviously the church as it is today cannot do it all. But is it right for the church to demand the government to do the rest backed by the power of the gun. Is that not what we in essence are doing when we advocate for socialism?
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Bootstrap
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:49 pm

appleman2006 wrote:
Bootstrap wrote:I don't think the church is adequately doing the work of the church, and I absolutely agree that we should be doing our part with our time and money. If Christians ever eliminate the need for social spending, I'm sure our politicians will quickly agree to get out of that business. I don't expect that to happen any time soon.


Obviously the church as it is today cannot do it all. But is it right for the church to demand the government to do the rest backed by the power of the gun. Is that not what we in essence are doing when we advocate for socialism?


What loaded language!

If we left the State alone, it would tax us to help the poor just like all other prosperous governments do. And the most visible Christians in politics have no problem using the gun to shoot other people, they just don't like to pay taxes to help others. As long as their dollars buy real guns that shoot real people, it's not a problem.

If we discuss warfare, some people loudly say they have no advice to give the government. If we discuss anything the government does to help the poor and oppressed, the same people will say that's illegitimate use of the gun. Then the same people say they aren't taking sides on political issues. MN is by far the most political site I have anything to do with.

If you want to consistently avoid taking sides on politics, it's probably best to avoid adopting the language and cliches of any political faction or movement.
Last edited by Bootstrap on Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bootstrap
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:51 pm

One thing that distorts this whole discussion is that we are doing it in an online forum.

Suppose Mike, Appleman, Dan, and I were out in the park with the two refugee families I'm working with. My guess is that there wouldn't be a political debate. My guess is that there would be potato salad.
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mike
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby mike » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:45 pm

Bootstrap wrote:
appleman2006 wrote:I think this is especially true when we get a feel good attitude for advocating that the government do the work of the church with other people's money. At the very least we better make sure that we are doing our part with our time and money first.


I don't think the church is adequately doing the work of the church, and I absolutely agree that we should be doing our part with our time and money. If Christians ever eliminate the need for social spending, I'm sure our politicians will quickly agree to get out of that business. I don't expect that to happen any time soon.


I have made my view against protesting government policy on immigration fairly obvious, I think. However, I am also against protesting government policy on welfare programs. I may have some thoughts on abuse of the system and creating dependency, but I expect the government to act in its own best interest and even in the best interest of its citizens by providing for the poor. I don't advocate for it neither do I protest it. Depending on the moral code that we're applying to government (I still don't know what that code really is), it may even be the moral thing for a government to do - providing a safety net for its citizens.
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appleman2006
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Re: POLL: Relating to Power: The Christian and Politics

Postby appleman2006 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:49 pm

:D Sorry I was not pulling a gun on you Bootstrap. At least that was not my intention. I was simply asking what I see as a very serious problem for non resistant Christians. Do not misunderstand me. I pay my taxes, even taxes that go to areas that I totally disagree with such as for war or abortion. What I am not sure that I can do is tell the government that they in fact should take even more money when the very means that they use to do so is technically part of why I could not be a part of government.

I am not saying they do not have the right to do it. I am just saying that I no more see it my responsibility to tell them to use that right than I would to tell them to use the right they may have to go to war. Seriously I would tell you this over an egg salad sandwich with no animosity whatsoever and with a grin on my face. Those that know me well could verify that.
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