Faith and Politics
There are approximately 450 days until the next presidential election. Thursday’s debate among Republican presidential hopefuls was the clearest indication yet that the long arc toward Election Day has begun. While it’s perhaps too early to decide for whom we will vote, now is the time to give some careful thought to the intersection of faith and politics. So, here are a few questions I think are worth pondering in the coming months:
- How should your faith impact how you choose a presidential candidate to vote for?
- Many Democratic and Republican candidates say that their faith guides which legislation and policies they will advocate for. Do you think that’s helpful, or should there be a clearer division between faith and politics? Why?
- Scripture, especially Jesus and the prophets, resound with a call to care for the poor and vulnerable. Should that call be reflected in the political process? Is that a call that applies primarily to spiritual communities and not government? Is there a “third way” that isn’t an either/or?
- What is your vision for our nation? What informs that vision? Does your faith inform it? Should it? Why?
Here’s my personal bias: it isn’t the candidate who invokes Jesus’ name most often and loudly that draws my attention. It’s the candidate that I believe will most consistently exercise political power in a way that further reveals God’s Kingdom here and in all of God’s creation. That is not a matter of being a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative. To be honest I don’t find those labels helpful. It’s a matter of struggling to be thoughtful and faithful in the political process, and praying for the Spirit’s discerning wisdom.
What an extraordinary privilege it is to have a vote in who will lead us. And what an extraordinary responsibility it is to prayerfully consider how our faith will inform our politics.
Does your faith inform your politics? If so, how?
Jeff Marian is lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN