Republished, with permission, from Voice magazine, Jul/Aug 2013.
Americans have the privilege of living in a country with a great heritage and great opportunities. Our country has never been perfect, so it’s right for us to pray with the patriotic song line, “America, America, God mend thine every flaw.” But is there more that we should do about those flaws than pray? And if so, what shape should our public engagement look like? In particular, what about a Christian’s involvement in politics and social campaigning? Is there a way for us to put feet to our prayers that doesn’t put our feet on the wrong path?
This is a divisive issue among Christians. On one side are those who advocate a militant political approach to our nation’s moral ills. Frankly, I’m uncomfortable with some of today’s prominent forms of Christian political activism. There’s a real danger for the Church and Christians to become overly politicized. Sometimes Christians embroiled in public arena battles seem to lose sight of what the good fight of faith is really about. On the other hand are those who advocate a withdrawal from all engagement, seeing it as a rival to true Christian ministry. In some cases this includes prohibitions against voting of any kind. While I view my calling as an ambassador of Christ of far greater importance than my being a citizen of a great country, I believe there is such a thing as Christian citizenship, a way to meaningfully engage in the concerns of public life without getting our gospel priorities out of order.