Can anyone keep their religion out of their politics? The answer lies in how much they adhere to their religion.
Every religion has sacred writings. Christianity has the Bible, Islam has the Quran, Hindus and Buddhists have The Sutras, and so on.
Since these texts are considered sacred by the people following these particular faiths, these writings are the final authority for their specific religion. If there is a question about doctrine or behavior, these books have the answers.
My disclaimer, I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and without error. Therefore, if the Bible is the Word of God and without error, then what I think about God, the doctrines of my church, and how I live my life should be guided by the Bible.
The above paragraph would be the same regardless of what religion I follow; only the faith and sacred text’s names would change.
The point I am trying to make is – regardless of what religion you are, there is a sacred book(s) that you believe your god has ordained as your guideline in every aspect of life.
Going back to the original question, “Can anyone keep their religion out of their politics?” If our sacred texts are the guidelines of all our beliefs and actions throughout life, how can a person keep them separate? They cannot.
Suppose we believe the texts are sacred – written by God, without error, and the absolute authority in life. How can we separate them from anything we do? We cannot, and “anything” includes politics.
Some political topics the Bible talks about:
Some will argue that a fetus is not life. Well, from the moment of conception, the baby begins to grow. The child grows even before he/she has a heartbeat. Science tells us that nothing without life can grow. Scientific conclusion – life begins at conception.
Back to the Bible, we read John the Baptist leaping with joy while inside his mother’s womb at the news that Jesus would soon be born (Luke 1:44). Inside the womb, John had emotion. Dead objects do not have emotion.
The prophet Jeremiah explains how God knew him while he was still in his mother’s womb. God not only knew him but had a plan for Jeremiah’s life, all before birth.
Taxes – Jesus received the question, “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”
Jesus’ final answer is in Matthew 22:21, “Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
If you notice, Jesus separated the church and government coffers. Pay your taxes, pay your tithe. Keep the money separate. The church should not receive Caesar’s cash, and Caesar should not receive the church’s funds.
The Role of Government – The role of government in the Bible is much less complex than the role government takes in today’s world. According to the Scripture, the government’s role is to provide protection from enemy invasion and punish evildoers (Romans 13:3-4). That pretty much eliminates everything except the military and a justice department (police, courts, jails, and so on).
Over the past century, the government has taken over many roles of the church. The church has much to do in the spiritual realm. Still, there are physical chores God wants the church involved in – the taking care of widows and orphans, providing food for the poor, among others. An unrealized surrender of responsibilities has taken place. Today, many feel it is the government’s job to provide for the poor, and the church helps out where it can.
It seems interesting that Christians will not cheat on their spouse because the Bible says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” We do not practice thievery because the Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Yet, when it comes to politics, we try to leave the Bible out of our decision-making process.
The Bible is so essential and trustworthy that we commit our eternal state and our everyday decisions of right and wrong to it. Why then do we try to keep it out of our political discussions and choices?
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With houses of worship currently closed or restricted across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com