Virtual Voices

Religion in politics

Campaign 2012

The late Dr. D. James Kennedy was approached once by a fellow believer who questioned the pastor's call for Christians to enter government and transform secular culture: "Politics is such a dirty business, shouldn't we stay out to avoid temptations?" Dr. Kennedy answered with his own question: "Do think that you, the Church, and the nation will be better off if Christians abandon the governing of our society into the hands of atheists and moral relativists?" Politics needs the salt and light of Christ's message as much as any other area of our lives.

God made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that gave Israel the honor and responsibility to be His chosen people. The Lord was patient for centuries with His stubborn children-sending messengers to rebuke them for their evil deeds, sending enemies to discipline them when they refused to listen, sustaining them in trials, comforting them in exile, healing their wounds when they repented. Israel was promised every blessing and all they had to do was be God's priests among the nations.

Then God sent His Son to be among His people, but Christ was crucified, the gospel rejected, the Church persecuted. The temple was destroyed, the nation of the old covenant was scattered, the priesthood was taken away from the Jews, and the Christians became the new chosen people in the risen Christ. Now, every one of us is charged with the same mission as those who descended in flesh from Abraham through Isaac-to be "salt of the earth" and "light of the world."

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Many blame Rick Santorum's primary losses on his lack of focus. A recent commentary at WORLDmag.com noted that the public has perceived him as "unprepared for the office" because he had "took up the religion-in-politics topic." The argument is that people care more about current economic hardships than social issues and the role of faith in the public square, with many conservative commentators scolding candidates who get "distracted" with perennial issues like abortion and sexual immorality. I understand the argument on a pragmatic level, but I have to disagree that Santorum is getting fruitlessly entangled with a question from a political philosophy course.

If we want to find a solution to our current economic troubles, we need all professing Christians to focus on the main issue-just as the Founding Fathers of the nation did at the beginning. When Benjamin Franklin participated in the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he pronounced the following:

"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel."

Whether you are a butcher, a baker, or a policymaker, this is the attitude that every Christian leader should exhibit regardless of current political circumstances and cultural norms.

Jesus set an example for us to stand for the truth regardless of its repercussions. He wants us to be His disciples 24/7 and to boldly proclaim His Lordship over all aspects of our lives. The world around us is in darkness, and if we hide God's light because of peer pressure or for political gain, we become as useless as the priests in the temple on that first Easter Sunday.

Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.

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