What does it mean to be “too political”?

Too Political

Photo by Kretyen

I get asked this a lot: “Shouldn’t we be engaged in politics to fight for our rights and defend our values in society?” I also get asked: “What does it mean to be ‘too political”?

How can we be political, but not TOO political?

These two questions seem to be in conflict. In other words, how can we be political but not too political? I hope to address these issues and questions here.

Too Political Defined

First, let’s define “too political”. From the book “unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity…and Why it Matters“, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, too political is defined as:
too involved in politics“, and “motivated primarily by political goals and as promoting a right-wing agenda“.

Christians Are Both Republicans AND Democrats

Politics could be culturally defined as what the “Republicans” (or conservatives) do verses what the “Democrats” (or liberals) do. A difficulty lies in the fact that Christians are neither Republican, conservative, Democrat, or liberal. We’re all of the above. So one thing to be sensitive too is not labeling Christians as either one or the other.

“Promoting a right-wing agenda” suggests incorrectly that Christians are all conservative republicans (aka Right Wingers). So, I think part of the negative stereotype revolves around a misunderstanding of a cohesive party affiliation. Would we be less political if we could accept that our brothers and sisters in Christ are on both sides of the debate?

Where Are We Too Political?

Here are some areas where Christians tend to get heavily involved in politics: Abortion/Right to life, death penalty, legalization of drugs, and gay marriage. All of those issues are fire storms waiting to happen. And they all have religious or faith implications.

Other issues that tend to be labeled as the domain of the Democrats or liberals are: Labor unions/protecting workers, minimum wage (fair minimum wage for everyone), environmental issues (safe guarding our plants, animals and habitats, being good stewards of our planet), human rights, etc. These are also issues that are rooted in our faith. They may be labeled as liberal positions, but they are Christian positions as well.

Why Are We Perceived as Too Political?

Christians are involved in both sets of issues. So the question lies in why we are perceived as TOO political. Is it unfair to label us as too political when other factions of our society are just as TOO political on those same issues? I think it is unfair. But there it is nonetheless.

I believe the solution rests in how we express our beliefs politically, and how willing we are to listen and attempt to understand the other side.

What’s the Solution?

What can we do and what should we do to reverse this negative stereotype? Should we retreat from politics? No!

I believe the solution rests in how we express our beliefs politically, and how willing we are to listen and attempt to understand the other side, and how willing we are to work together.

How well do we treat others in the political debate with respect and decency? Can we disagree on the issues and still love the persons involved in the discussions? When does it become more important to love the other person than it is to win the debate?

We’re just scratching the surface on this issue, and you can see there are many questions and answers to uncover. We’ll dive deeper into this topic over the coming months…

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White


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Comments

  1. Steven P. Bols says

    I will pray with sincere hope that this website reaches the many Christians in our country today who have a true desire to Love our LORD JESUS CHRIST, but fail miserably when it comes to politics, their views and loving the opposing side. Today it seems the country is divided and viewed as either an extreme right wing or extreme left wing. We as Christians have truly lost our way with regard to living as Christ lived and truly walking the walk. Hopefully before it is to late, the Christians in this Country will come together whether it be Republican or Democrat and live as we have been called to live by our LORD. When that happens only good will come and true unity will prevail. Thank you for your desire to wake up America. The understanding of how a true Christian should live, is life changing and will be world changing, when it is finally recognized. God speed Steven P. Bolos

  2. Anonymous says

    The way I look at it as a Follower of Christ and as a Conservative is Our country was founded on Christian values and there is nothing about seperation of church and state in any document. What is referred in some texts as Seperation of Church and state, which is well documented, is the founders did not want the government to set up a church much like in England. I don’t believe anyone should be forced to pray but I also don’t believe we should be stopped from praying or gathering even in a school, on the courthouse steps, or in the Halls of Congress. I also believe God put us in charge of the Earth and instructed us to take care of it. BUT because God is in total control, and there is no mother nature, this issue that man is changing God’s world by making it warmer is very difficult for me to believe. The Earth has gone through many cycles created only by God and this may or may not be a warming period. There are two choices. You can be saving babies or killing them and even if the baby is conceived through rape that is God’s child. Finally there is only one true leader and that is our Lord. I don’t want a government to direct every facet of my life. I have the Bible to direct me. The government is there to protect but not direct. I don’t need them to take more of the money God helps me earn to squander it. I can give it directly to widows, orphans, the needy, etc. My point for naming all of these issues is Conservatives are much closer aligned with my Christian belief than the Liberal view. I don’t hate gays, Muslim’s, or non believers, I do sin every day, and yes I believe in voting based on my Christian values. The point to my ramblings is I don’t understand how a Christian can vote for someone who pushes killing babies (I wont call it pro life or pro choice), want’s the government to ban prayer anywhere and the use of the word God, and is accepting of homosexuality which is clearly not just your normal sin but so great it is listed as one of the great sins in the bible (adultery is no different). We can talk about how all sins are equal but let’s save that for another day. It would be an interesting discussion if a Christian Liberal would help explain their thought process for voting. In the end we are all God’s children, every person no matter our sin, and we should all love as he loves us.

    • Anonymous says

      I was told by someone that Christians are not of this world and therefore to vote is not trusting the Lord, Jesus Christ. Is it then wrong for a Christian to vote in a national election? I would be very interested to hear this as I was viewed as ungodly because I always did vote.

  3. Larry says

    Dear Carol, There is no reason that Christians should not vote. Indeed, there are several reasons why Christians should vote! The first Scripture reference that came to mind when I saw your question was Romans 13:1-2, where it states, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves …” (NIV) So it’s a Biblical requirement that we cooperate with the laws of our government. Moreover, 1 Peter 2:13 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men …” (NIV) It’s not just a requirement that we cooperate with our government. It actually pleases God! In politics we often find hypocrites, liars, and manipulative people whose word is not reliable. Using that to justify a decision not to participate or to withdraw altogether is faulty thinking. Consider that all of the institutions of the world — be they governments, schools, places of business, or even churches — are run by humans. And these humans are evil through and through. (Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV) So if you were going to use that criteria to abstain from obeying or cooperating with your government, you’d also have to quit your job, stop going to church, keep your kids home from school, and never shop anywhere! The Bible is clear that Christ-followers are to obey the laws of their government. They are to submit to the authority of their government. And they are to cooperate with the initiatives of their government. In fact, the only exception is when to do so would violate a specific command of God – causing us to sin. (We can see examples of appropriate civil disobedience in Daniel 3:1-29 or Daniel 6:1-24.) When we see government gone wrong in any way, the Christ-like response would very rarely ever be rebellion and disobedience. Rather we can rebuke the government officials for their sin. We can pray for the government officials. And we can get involved in government in order to work to change things that we believe are unjust or unfair, etc. The one thing Christians could do wrong in voting would be to vote in ignorance. We owe it to the God that we serve to educate ourselves about the issues and the candidates, and to make informed, Spirit-led choices in the voting booth. You read that right. I said “Spirit-led.” We should pray over the voting choices and ask God to give us wisdom and discernment. We should ask God to show us what He sees on the election ballots, and ask Him to guide our thinking and our voting. So let’s get out there and honor God with our votes! See more Christian advice on our Dear Larry column at http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/christianity-blog/dear-larry/

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