Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Keeping politics in perspective

Compartmentalizing our faith is a serious error. If we truly believe in God, that conviction must necessarily affect every part of our lives - every decision we make. That has to include our behavior as citizens - our political involvement. Joe Carter offers "An Open Letter to the Religious Right." Read it all here. An excerpt:
One - As a matter of political liberty I believe it is important that we support such issues as prayer in schools and public displays of religious symbols. But I can't imagine that on the Day of Judgment I'll hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant - you have faithfully fought to keep the Ten Commandments in the courthouse." More likely we'll all be asked why we didn't spend more time concerned about our neighbors in Darfur or fighting the pandemic of AIDS. Perhaps we should rethink our priorities and put the first things first.

Two - Being Right doesn't mean we are always right. I know we claim we understand that but it would probably help if we acted like we believed it as well.

Three - We have ideological enemies (such as Islamo-fascists) and we have ideological opponents (such as secular liberals). While our ideological opponents want us to lose elections; our ideological enemies want us to lose our lives. That's a crucial distinction that we should always keep in mind. While we have to love them all, we shouldn't lump them all together.

In a classical statement of ecumenicity, St. Augustine once said, "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love." Those of us on the religious right should adopt a similar principle and clearly define the boundaries between what is essential and what is non-essential in matters of policy and politics.

Protecting the sanctity of innocent human life and defending the traditional definition of marriage are clearly essentials. Those matters are based on principles that can be clearly derived from the Bible. Other issues, however, are often less opaque. For example, can someone truly be on the "religious right" and not support the war in Iraq?

The fact that question can even be asked shows how we've muddied the waters. While I personally think that, on the whole, the war was morally justified and a necessary humanitarian intervention, I can respect those who disagree. Indeed, the alternate opinion may be as rooted in Biblical and conservative principles as, I believe, is my position. We should be very, very careful where we draw the lines of political heresy. [more]
An Open Letter to the Religious Right - the evangelical outpost

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