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Monday, September 3, 2012

Christians and Politics: Lord Help!

Things are heating up in the 2012 Presidential Campaign between President Obama and Governor Romney. Attack ads from both candidates aimed at the other are all over the radio and television. The amount of money spent on these advertisements is enough to feed a third world country for years to come. Frankly, this over-spending sickens me. It is nearly impossible to tune into the news and get an unbiased, fact-based, spin-free take on each candidate’s social, economic, and military policies. The volatility, angst, and demonizing that fuels this campaign is, at first glance, hopelessly unredeemable. However, upon closer inspection, this emotionally charged political context is a field perfectly ripe for the Church and the optimistic hope she extends. So my advice is not to disengage from the political pessimism, but to engage it with values reflecting the kingdom of God. Here are a few things for followers of Christ to keep in mind as November nears:

·         Be known more for your allegiance to Christ than your political affiliation. There are some Christians among us who are known in their workplace and neighborhood, even their church, more for their Democratic ideals or Republican vision than for their Christian faith. Our number one commitment is to the often counter-cultural values of Christ’s kingdom not to the politics of our party. Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, certain policies of your party clearly do not always align with Christ. We gain credibility and Christ gets exalted when we admit this. If I asked someone in your office, neighborhood, or extended family to tell me what makes you tick, would they mention the Prince of Peace or your political party?

·         Always avoid political hate-speech. I have heard preachers from the pulpit call certain politicians the anti-Christ. More often, I have observed long-time Christians talking about Hillary Clinton or George Bush with venomous hatred in their voices and words. It may be okay for a reporter on Fox or CNN to use hate-speech, but when used by a Christ-follower it diminishes their witness to the world concerning the God of love. I am not at all suggesting that in the name of love we never speak out against the social and economic injustices of a politician or a party. I am suggesting that our naming of injustice should never turn into childish name-calling.

·         Don’t be a lemming. A lemming is defined as “a person who unthinkingly joins a mass movement.” Forgive me for the potential offensiveness of this imagery, but I tire of watching Christians simply take their political cues from others without critically and prayerfully thinking through the issues. While I sometimes appreciate the political commentary of people like James Dobson, the late Chuck Colson, Tony Campolo, and Shane Claiborne, it would be inauthentic and perhaps foolish to buy into their political convictions cart blanche without thinking through and developing our own. Perhaps your wrestling through the political issues with the help of Scripture and prayer will lead you to some different, and maybe even better convictions.         

As always I welcome your thoughts, even and especially if they conflict with my own.




Anonymous said...

As usual, incredibly well said. Still missing you in the Poconos, Pastor Lenny.

The Felloni Family

Lenny Luchetti said...

Miss you guys too. It's good to see your family on FB. Say hello to my buddy Charlie. Peace.

Ken Schenck said...

Your post is more uplifting than mine ;-)

Jared Holsing said...

Great post. Thanks for speaking into this area. I especially liked your tip of the hat to thinkers from across the spectrum. (Would you venture to wade into platform/policy/values issues?)

Jay DePoy said...

The more I read the Sermon on the Mount, the less interested I am in American politics.

I pledge allegiance to the Slaughtered Lamb.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Jared, I would venture into the issues if you'd like to discuss them here or via email. Christians should be among the most informed on the issues.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Jay, I pledge the same allegiance. The Christian should be known most for our allegiance to Christ not our political party or an American ideal. I'm afraid that lots of what we have bought into as a Church is more in tune with American Churchianity than Biblical Christianity.

Keith Drury said...


Christer said...

so what do you think about the and the movement that pastor and Dr. Jim Garlow is promoting. I see a church that is afraid to take stance because we are afraid of being put on a side of any fence i.e. have an opinion. When we have this opinion we are lableled and for some reasons we are afraid of being labeled. I tend to agree with Dr. Garlow and I do not really understand why we can't evaulate political climate, ideas, and candiates through the eyes of biblical imperative from the pulpit today. The question I also have is in regards to the Johnson amendment that makes churches tax exempt status conditonal. Would it be so bad to lose the tax exempt status but gain in Christ instead by speaking up our biblical values? (Let's give ceasar what is ceasars') It feels like we have been bribed to keep silenced and don't consider this a loss that has impact to the effectiveness of the church and followers would be more aware if we taught comparing culture to Christ's mandate and teachings.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I actually agree that the pastor should address social issues, but in a biblical and redemptive way. Sometimes we are more concerned with truth than grace or with grace than truth. We need both. Sometimes in an effort to speak out in truth we leave redemptive grace on the sidelines. We need to speak the truth in love, in a manner that doesn't needlessly alienate the very people we are called to reach for Christ.
As to tax exempt status...if the word of God addresses certain issues that might put our tax exempt status in jeapordy, then we must preach the word of God. Of course, this should be a church decision not just a pastor's decision. The pastor will have to work through this with the board so that it is a communal, collective decision.


Hello Lenny... just discovered your blog... and am really appreciating it. Blast from the Past... Heather Wright (Sydney, Australia)

Lenny Luchetti said...

Heather, great to hear from you. Amy and I remember fondly our days with you and Graham in Australia. Hope you're both doing well.