The Apolitical Gospel

I was in a discussion group at my church the other week. The topic was “Christianity in the American Political Culture”. I made the following statements, which I thought might be controversial, but which seemed to me to be obvious.

The first statement was that God isn’t particularly interested in democracy as a form of government. The manner in which we govern ourselves isn’t as relevant to God as the character of the nation which is being governed. That is, God is concerned about the righteousness of a nation, not how its leaders are elected.

The second statement was that although we hear a great deal about America’s Christian HeritageTM, we are in the end a people who rebelled against our rulers (Britain) and threatened to kill them if they wanted their land back.

Now, I thought the second statement would be somewhat controversial, given the embrace we Conservative Evangelical Christians (whatever that means) have given to this idea that we live in a Christian nation. However, isn’t the former statement completely obvious and an absolute given? Or have we brainwashed ourselves into thinking that democracy is one of the Ten Commandments?

What really disappointed me, though, is that some of the others in the meeting started immediately trying to pinpoint my political stance. And apparently, by the things I said, I was identified as a Democrat. One guy said to me, “I can see we see things differently. I’m a Republican.” Now, of course it’s not evil to be considered a Democrat (or a Republican), but what could I possibly have said that would lead anyone to make this conclusion?

Since when are the concepts I mentioned above party platform issues? This is absolutely ridiculous, but it seems we have been brainwashed into thinking …. what? If you believe God signed the Declaration of Independence, then you’re a Republican? If you think God doesn’t care about democracy, you’re a Democrat?

God save us from those who believe God has chosen sides in our political debate.

5 thoughts on “The Apolitical Gospel”

  1. Wait till Brownback runs for President. He will frame his candidacy along these lines: If you are against abortion, if you think gay marriage is a bad idea, if you do not enjoy being taxed, then you are a Christian. If you are a Christian, you must vote for me because I, too, am a Christian.

    There is, in Conservative Evangelical Christianity ™®, no room for anything but Republican thought. Only liberal “psuedo-Christians” from other denominations like the UCC would ever be Democrats.

    I don’t think I’m overstating this, and I truly believe that it will either become increasingly divisive in 2008, or we’ll all just kind of agree to not say anything about it.

    India is also a democracy. Is it being blessed by God?

  2. “The first statement was that God isn’t particularly interested in democracy as a form of government. The manner in which we govern ourselves isn’t as relevant to God as the character of the nation which is being governed.” For the most part I agree with skipper.
    I may begin to split hairs… but here I go. I think God is very interested in which form of governance. And that He is not particularly fond of “democracy”. In the OT God condemned the practice of people doing that which was right in their own eyes – majority rules. A democracy is essentially a majority rules affair.
    He gave us a Theocracy, we miserably rejected this.
    He codified His laws into the 10 commandments, but also many, many, more specific laws, rules, and processes to be followed. Established kings, judges, prophets to communicate and carry out His laws and adjudicate among the people. Hence a nation of laws and order.

    Now to America today. Unfortunately we are evolving through many devious actions into something that we were never intended to be, a “Democracy:. We were never established as a democracy. In fact many of our founding fathers vehemently rallied against any suggestion that we follow that path. The US was established as a Representative Republic, with a Constituional form of governance. A nation ruled by law. HUGELY different than a Democracy. At the time of our founding all democracies were well known to lead to despotism. ( Within a Rep Republic there is room for many views democrat, republican Indep etc)
    All this to say that there are some forms of human government more likely to allow for its citizens to align their lives with the purposes of Gods kingdom.
    Yes we are brainwashed. And djayt, yes to all you wrote, except India.
    THe labeling described by skipper is sad. Nothing you said could have identified your political stance, but more your worldview. What I ascertain from your worldview is that you are concerned with issues of principle. But labels are much easier and we dont really have to think.

  3. I think you have it, mutant. In the OT, God established two forms of government: dictatorship under Moses, and monarchy under Saul. Neither is remotely close to a democracy.

    I think you might be splitting hairs between a democracy and a republic. Both have laws; the difference is in how laws are made (majority vote vs. elected representatives). However, I agree that the character of a nation is found in the type of laws it passes: do these laws defend the weak, limit the strong, protect the foreigner? These are the kinds of laws God seems to favor.

    Both djayt and mutant have brought me down today. The former, with his prediction of Brownback (or some other Conservative Evangelical ChristianTM), and the latter, with his comment on labels. I can’t disagree with either, unfortunately. Combine that with the rain we’ve had, and I’ll be depressed all day.

  4. Be glad you don’t live in Seattle, where the politics are worse, and the rain is worse, too.

    My son will be old enough to vote next year, and I hope he’s interested, motivated, and optimistic about the opportunity. He is not, however, going to get those things from me.

    Some people from KC area churches are going to Mississippi next week to help victims of disasters both natural and man-made. They are not going as Democrats or Republicans.

    Politicians are the ones who have done nothing, or what they have done has been done ineffectively. Christians are the ones going to clean up. That sounds about right to me.

    I think OT forms of government were just that- Old Testament- history. The Children of Israel chose to be governed by God in a way that the children of Pennsylvania Avenue never have.

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