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Politics & Religion: Why We SHOULD Talk About Both!

Whether we're choosing table topics for our family during the holidays, or just making conversation at our local coffee shop, we've all been told to avoid two categories: Politics & Religion.

But WHY?

I would argue that the premise behind making these topics "taboo," is a falsehood. The premise is that both one's political and spiritual/religious beliefs are based on preferences, not facts. While this may be true for some, it should NEVER be true for Christ-followers. Furthermore, if Christians won't talk about their faith or discuss how biblical truths direct their votes, how can we possibly be the "salt" or "light" Jesus called us to be (Matt. 5:13-14, 16)?

Let me explain. A preference is something based strictly on opinion, feeling, tradition, etc. For example, I prefer Coke over Pepsi. There is no science behind this preference, it's just a matter of personal taste and experience. I might say that my father liked Coke or that my mother always bought Coke, not Pepsi so I became comfortable with it. Still, it would be a logical fallacy for me to say that "Coke is better than Pepsi" in a universal way, since for me, it is strictly a preference.

A fact or timeless principle is a different matter all together. Gravity, for instance, is a matter of fact. I can "prefer" to avoid gravity all I want, but if I leap from a 12 story building, I will plummet to my death no matter what my opinion or preferences regarding gravity might be. Preferences can change or be very personal. Facts don't change and are not based on personal opinion.

The problem in our culture is that we've confused these things so much so that people treat matters of faith and decisions about who to vote for, like preferences. We think that we choose a religion based on culture or the traditions of our parents, etc. "It doesn't matter anyway," we're told, "all religions are mystically the same." Time doesn't permit to address the lunacy of that statement, but suffice it to say that there's no logical way to make Hindu sects which accept millions of gods mysteriously identical to Christianity which embraces only ONE God, etc. Regardless, this preference-based idea treats our choice of religion as if we put the names of major faith traditions on a dartboard and opt for whatever sticks. Perish the thought!

The concept of choosing faith or voting based on facts and reason seems foreign to us. Politically, if our grandfathers and fathers were Democrats, (as is the case with most voters in New England), we assume that we must/should simply vote our preference of party affiliation. Choosing candidates based strictly on their platform of beliefs and principles is virtually unheard of. Some have joked for instance, that Jack the Ripper could win a Senate race in any New England state as long as he was a registered Democrat. In some parts of the country, the same could be said of Republicans. Christians who are to be lights in a dark world, must vote based on what candidates stand for and promise to do/implement, versus party affiliation or anything else for that matter.

I think it's time for Christians to boldly stand up for fact-based, principle-driven positions on both their faith and their voting selections. All faiths are NOT the same, so our belief in the gospel is based on biblical truths and facts such as the reality of the resurrection of Jesus and hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, etc. Furthermore, we MUST vote our consciences regarding candidates regardless of our family traditions/preferences or political party. If all bible-believing Christians had voted this way during our last presidential election, we would not be currently laboring under an administration committed to abortion on demand, anti-Israel/pro-Iranian policies, anti-Christian socialistic/communism, and more! Of course, this kind of decision-making at our polling places requires we also avoid being motivated by personality issues or other preferences. We must vote based on which candidate(s) support primary biblical values and will implement policies most closely aligned with those values.

Bottom line--let's stop avoiding politics and religion. At the very least we should let our conversations and actions in these areas be driven by truth. I believe this can have a radically positive impact on our world.

To that end,

Pastor Joel


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