Politics And Religion: Choosing When To Carry Your Cross
Many times over you have heard banter that politics has no place in the pulpit, the church, or religion in general.
Such a sentiment may sound good at dinner parties or when trying to win friends, but nothing could be further from what one sees should a person actually open the Scriptures.
Basically every single Old Testament prophet had to stand toe to toe with the current king ruling the land and confront him with social injustices, morality run amuck, and blatant disregard for God's principles relating to humanity and governance.
Try telling Dietrich Bonhoffer that politics has no place in the pulpit. You'd first have to exhume his body and see it come back to life, because he died at the hand of Hitler for opposing his regime.
Try telling that to Youcef Nadarkhani, an evangelical pastor who, as you read this, is sitting in some Iranian dungeon right now for refusing to back down against Islam and all it stands to do to eradicate anything it opposes.
In my country, at this very moment, I see political debate all around me. Ironically, I see the vast majority of those in debate claiming the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord.
Not long ago I went to see a friend of mine at his home. He's a pastor. He had an Obama sign in his yard. Funny thing is ... I know this guy well. I love him with all my heart and he loves me. There's not one thing about Obama that my pastor friend has in common with our current president other than they both share the same skin color. My pastor friend cannot stand for abortion; he cannot tolerate same sex marriage; he cannot and will not agree with socialism. Yet he votes along the party line no matter what. It doesn't line up with what he preaches personally, but it does line up with what he feels ethnically.
If you profess to be a follower of Christ, there's something you must grasp. There's something you must let permeate your soul like water to a sponge. You must understand that if you follow Jesus of the cross, then you are bound to His rule over your life. In doing so, you are not allowed the privilege of only taking up your cross when it works out best for your wallet, your social agenda, or your sexual preferences.
If you follow Jesus, then Jesus leads. Period. No negotiations. It's in following Him that you realize you cannot support any nation, any government, or any candidate that openly and overtly works against everything the Scriptures stand for and holds dear. It doesn't matter what color, or what party, that leader comes from at all. Party and color have nothing to do with it. Being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and His mandates for life is what I will be judged for, and if that doesn't win me favor with my party, then so be it. If that causes some to call me radical, then so be it. If that causes some to unsubscribe from my writing because it's overtly political on rare occasion, then so be it ... for I am going to be judged by a Holy God, not pop culture. Pop culture doesn't even know my name, but my God, by His own admission, knows every single hair on my head. You can bet He is paying attention to my every move. If I carry His name, then carry it I must, no matter the cost.
Read the last book of the Bible, my brother, and you see a day coming. A day like Bonhoffer faced. You see a day that Youcef Nadarkhani stares into at this very hour. Jesus was not speaking metaphorically when He said, "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake." (Luke 21:12)
If you are a follower of Christ, you have an obligation to be His representative everywhere, all the time. Everywhere. And everywhere touches everything. Including, among what should be the least of these, something as simple as your ballot.
Jason Cruise, founder of MISSION, is a writer, speaker, and video producer in the outdoor industry. www.TheMissionVision.net