“Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21
Is it right for Christians to be politically active? Indeed, is it Christian for us not to be active?
We may believe that in answering the Pharisees as He did, Christ was instructing them and the church of all ages that the Christian should not be an enemy to government but a friend. Implicit in Christ’s answer is the admonition not only to pay tribute money to Caesar, but to submit to the Caesars who have the rule over us, and the Caesars in our lives are the President, our Senators and our Representatives, the Governors and other state elected officials, plus all the local magistrates.
It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon us as Christians in this free land, where by God’s grace, we can still choose our rulers, that we exercise our right to vote. The radicals of the near and far left will most assuredly cast their votes in an effort to install their puppets in office. We need to be just as enthusiastic in backing men and women who stand for the things we believe to be best for our beloved country.
At the outset of this article, let me make it abundantly clear to all who read this that I do not believe that we can determine our destinies nor that of our country. Only God, who controls all things is able to direct the affairs of us all.
Having said this, let me also say that God does not expect us to sit on our hands and do nothing because we believe that He controls the future any more than He would expect us to refuse medical attention because we believe that He determines the prognosis of our illnesses. We go to the doctor for advice and treatment when we are sick, and we trust God to use the doctor as His instrument to accomplish His purpose. As God uses the doctors in His plans, so He also uses the Caesars of this modern age to accomplish His purpose for the world.
It is not only a privilege but a duty we Christians have to register and vote for those men and women who we believe can best represent our own views. And you can know their stand on the different issues, if you but take the time to study the things they have said, and in the case of incumbents, study their voting records on the bills that have already been passed. It may be too late for those bills, but you will get an idea as to whether the candidate has a tendency to vote in a liberal or a conservative way. It will often tell you whether he or she votes his or her conscience or simply votes in a way that is politically expedient for him or her. You will also be able to form a judgment as to whether or not the candidate has been bought by a union or some other special interest group when you study his or her record.
For too long, many otherwise committed Christians have ignored their divine mandate to properly render unto Caesar in this matter of voting. We may not be apathetic for that is ascriptural. We have been the sleeping giant of American politics who should seek Christian men and women to represent us to effect a morally accountable Congress.
The New International Version of the Bible translates Colossians 2:8 as follows: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
Humanism, which denies the authority of Christ, is spreading across our land like an infectious disease, which is influencing every area of America, and many of our elected officials are either humanists themselves or they support and are supported by those whose thinking is permeated with humanistic doctrine. As Christians, we need to clean house on Capitol Hill and turn the humanists out.
Humanism contradicts and undermines our most sacred Christian beliefs. They believe that man is responsible for what we are and what we will become. No deity will save us. We must and can save ourselves. We humans can put all things right in society because we, not God, have all the answers.
The Humanist Manifesto II written in 1973 and signed by one hundred fourteen individuals, including Harvard and Yale professors, clergymen, the president of Planned Parenthood, the founder of the National Organization of Women (the ERA activists) and many others of their like, states: “We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. We strive for the good life here and now”, and I quote further: “At the present juncture of history, commitment to all mankind is the highest commitment of which we are capable; humanism transcends the narrow allegiances of church, state, party, class or race in moving toward a wider version of human potentiality”.
Humanists believe that man is the savior of the world. We believe that Jesus Christ is our only salvation.
Because Humanism is finding strategic homes in the legislature, the courts (?) and in the educational system, we must fight on all fronts. We do this by becoming informed, by knowing who our elected officials are – what they stand for and how they vote on the issues, and then we vote the humanists out and we vote in Christian men and women. The Christians we vote in may not be P.R., but at least they’ll have Christian values.
Consider with me, for a moment, some of the concerns we should have about what is happening in this country and then reflect on your Christian duty.
The present administration has damaged a strong and proud country; in less than four years, it had managed to bring chaos to our economy and to our foreign policy; homosexuals are coming out of their closets finding some willing advocates for their “rights” amongst our elected officials; the IRS, under the Carter administration, is constantly harassing the private schools; the Congress passes or tries to pass legislative which would make a man’s right to work dependent upon joining a union; the 1980 Democratic platform calls for federal funding of abortion on demand; this administration has given birth to two monstrosities in the form of the Departments of Energy and Education, each of which put thousands of additional workers on the federal payroll, and I believe that time will prove these departments to be threats to our free society.
In pushing for the Department of Education at cabinet level, the President was paying off the National Education Association for putting him in office. He had promised this second largest union in the country, (The Teamsters Union is the largest), that if they would support him and help elect him to the presidency, he would see to it that they got what they’d been aiming for the past many years. They delivered the votes and elected the President and he delivered the cabinet level department to them.
The NEA’s stated goal is to collect enough votes in Congress to reorder the priorities of the United States by swelling the federal share of the nation’s education spending to a third of the total budget. They want a central national vote for establishing educational policy. When they get that voice, the responsibility of the states and localities viz educational policy will be seriously eroded, eventually resulting in a nationalized education system much the same as that which now exists in Russia, East Germany and other totalitarian states.
You may be tempted to say: “How does that matter to me? My children go to the Christian school, and what’s that got to do with voting anyway?” With declining public school enrollment and with three new Christian schools springing up each day in America, because parents are fed up with the humanism and values clarification being taught in the public schools, rest assured that public educators and the federal government will come up with policies that could badger the private and religious schools right out of existence. Since bureaucrats always create domains to rule, you can expect to see new moves toward federal intrusion into and control over all levels of private education. The bureaucracy is the Department of Education and the bureaucrats are the department’s secretary, assistant secretary of non-public education and all the employees under their supervision.
Let’s look at Values Clarification and then ask yourself how you’d like your children to be subjected to it, remembering that though we are still free to have our own schools now, we do not know how long that freedom will remain a reality for us, and that we may someday have to send our children to public schools.
From a letter written to me by James Warner, President and National Director of the Christian Defense League, and organization which stands ready to help Christians who are having difficulties with bureaucrats, (IRS, state and local public agencies, etc.) and which has, for the past four years, been leading the battle across this nation to stop school systems from introducing pornography into their curriculum under the guise of sex education (which doesn’t belong in the school in the first place), I learn that in certain areas of New York City and other regions of the country they are promoting Values Clarification. This means that they give children a series of tests to find out what they believe and what their parents believe. If they find the children were raised in good Christian homes and have Christian moral values then they begin to educate the children along the lines which will change their thinking. They attempt to brainwash the children and turn them against their parents and their values. This is a deliberate program of Communist International to demoralize and eventually destroy America by destroying America’s youth.
Again, you may say, “Well, that doesn’t affect my children. They go to a Christian school.” Just remember that your children may go to a Christian school, but all children do not go to Christian schools and children have a way of growing up and becoming adults – adults who may someday become Caesars and rule over you and yours. We Protestant Reformed people are not living on an island. We must consider the fact that though we are not of the world, we are still in the world until Christ delivers us from it.
Let’s consider some other reasons why we should vote in an effort to put legislators in office who will change some of the devastating policies the present administration has wrought.
We have become the victims of the irresponsible spending of our tax monies for ill-advised programs which has precipitated a disastrous state of the U.S. Economy, double digit inflation, a $700 billion dollar national debt, a foreign policy that makes us the laughing stock of the world, because our President used tough rhetoric in response to Soviet aggression, but which everyone knows our military forces are unable to enforce due to the fact that we are militarily weak, because we have a Congress beholden to the pacifists, who put them in office, and which consistently votes against the defense budget necessary for making the U.S. formidable enough to deter a would-be aggressor. In short, they have abandoned a strong national defense – a necessary bulwark of freedom for America and the world.
We need to elect men and women who believe in this country and are willing to fight for what is inherently right regardless of the political consequences to themselves – people who are not afraid to take positions because they are controversial.
We must vote for legislators who oppose the passage of legislation which would allow avowed homosexuals to teach in public and eventually private schools. At present, one Congressman has more than fifty co-sponsors, including presidential candidate, John B. Anderson (remember that when you go to the polls in November), for a “gay rights amendment to the Civil Rights Act, which would give homosexuals a protected status and special consideration under law. We need to vote against such legislators and vote for congressmen like the one who has introduced a counter bill which would deny any special consideration for those who practice homosexuality, a sin for which God destroyed an entire city
Christians should support candidates who oppose an amendment to the constitution (ERA) whose broad unspecific language could be interpreted in such a way as to actually limit our freedom. It is unnecessary, because serious sex discrimination in the area of unequal pay for equal work, discriminations in promotions, etc., are already illegal under existing federal and state laws and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Some of the deplorable goals of the Equal Rights Amendment are: to undermine the institution of marriage by legalizing homosexual marriage and allowing homosexual couples to adopt children; to draft women into the armed forces and require them to go into armed combat, and to live in mixed quarters; to compel the states to set up taxpayer financed childcare centers for all children, regardless of needs, and to prohibit privacy based on sex in public school restrooms, hospitals, public places, etc. These are just a few of the undesirable and often anti-family effects of the ERA, should it be ratified in three more states.
Let’s put men and women in office who will vote against using our tax dollars to bail out New York City and Chrysler Corporation; men and women who condemn the Supreme Court’s legislation of abortion on demand; legislators who will vote for sensible tax cuts for us middle and upper middle class taxpayers who are the ones that foot the bills; legislators who will vote against the billions of dollar’s worth of foreign aid, such as the recent hand out to the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and let’s put a new man in the White House – one who has said he will abolish the massive new bureaucratic departments our present chief executive gave us after he had promised, as a candidate in 1976, that he would reduce government if only we’d elect him.
If this dissertation sounds like a political lecture, it is meant to, for it was written with the hope that a little light might be shed on the issues which the electorate is confronted with, together with reasons why Christians should get involved in the political process which we’ll deal with those issues in the coming months. When you know the issues and vote for those you feel are best able to represent your views, when the bills come to the floor of Congress for a vote, you are participating in the political process.
Since I agreed to write this paper, I have approached many of my Christian friends of all denominational stripe with questions and comments about some of the issues discussed above. I was appalled at how uninformed our people are and how complacent their attitudes seem to be. It was not unusual to find that wives very often leave the voting to their husband, either because that was the way their parents handled the voting procedure for the family, or because they said they didn’t know enough about it. Many were just plain apathetic and said their vote wouldn’t make any difference. Do you realize that one or two votes in a precinct has nominated congressmen or governors in the past? The Department of Education passed the House of Representatives by a 210-106 vote last fall. So, please don’t assume that your vote is worthless. To me, the most frustrating comment I heard was: “Well, I don’t like any of the candidates, so I’m going to stay home and not vote for anyone in November.” You may not be overjoyed with the choices you have this fall, but you do have a choice, so learn what you can about the candidates and vote for the ones who you believe will best represent your views. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule; but the slothful shall be under tribute.” Proverbs 12:24.
Christians are not second class citizens!
When we have Christ as our Lord and Master, we are not relieved of our duties or excluded from our rights as citizens of this nation. Paul wrote that we take on dual citizenship. We are citizens of a kingdom not of this world, Yet, God has ordained that we invoke authority to insure our physical liberty and to protect our public safety. Thus, while some may be only concerned with civil liberty, Christians are obliged to seek both spiritual and physical freedom, and it follows that Christians then have a responsibility to participate in the selection of those who will represent them in civil government.
When Christians neglect their governmental responsibilities, those who deny God will fill the public void and invade the private domain. Edmund Burke, the Christian statesman, said that the penalty the godly pay for doing nothing is to be ruled by the ungodly. “It is true that you cannot legislate evil out of the world, but by an impartial, rigorous justice you can make it too costly to practice…and by wise and Christian legislation you may limit its reach and remove its temptations…and for this, in its most perfect measure, and to our utmost ability, the God of righteousness holds every man responsible.”*
Were we to look at the lot of those believers who live under governments where liberty is denied, I’m sure we’d agree that Christians do indeed have a concern and a responsibility in civil matters.
If you, dear reader, are one of those who believes your vote to be unimportant or superfluous; if you have felt that you’d not vote because you’re not happy with the options, or if you’ve just thought you didn’t know enough about this political stuff, I hope I have contaminated your confused thinking with the virus of common sense, and that you’ll make it a point to become informed and go to the polls and vote, each time there is an election from now on. Become knowledgeable on the issues and the candidates, pray for guidance, cast your vote, and trust God to direct the results to His glory.
*excerpt from Letter from Plymouth Rock, April 1980