Skip to main content

Christian Values in Government

A friend of mine regularly posts anti-Christian statements on his Facebook feed.  I don’t always like his tone, but I find that I agree with his feelings more often then I wished.  Sometimes I want to reach out and let him know that we are not all like that, but I know that he is just venting emotion from being wounded by the church.  He recently posted something that got under my skin a little though.  I needed to spend some time thinking about it.

Basically, his point was that it is unethical or inappropriate for someone to push their Christian values onto him through the governmental process.
 
On the surface I kind of get that…separation of church and state right?

Well there is a problem: how are a Christian’s values less important than a non-Christian’s? Do we simply place our values to the side because of who we are?  Let the seculars declare the values and trust that theirs will be more fair?  The whole point of a democratic system is so that the majority of people who want something done can have it that way.  If there are more Christians the law will reflect Christian values, if more people are secular then the law would reflect secular values.

I know, the idea is that it should simply be the values that are only derived from the faith that should be set aside, but how do you really do that, and where else do values come from?

Values can come from our culture or society, our opinions, or our faith.

If we only focus on the values that our culture/society present then we cannot change or grow as a country.  Slavery was once the norm and our society said it was good.  If people had not fought against societal norms, it would still exist.

If we use our opinions as individuals then we will only look out for ourselves.  Someone who beats his wife may say that he believes he is doing right by teaching her a lesson.  If we believe that each person has their own truth then who are we to tell him he is wrong?

I am not ignorant to the fact that basing our values on our faith can have the same impact.  In fact, each of the examples above have been argued for from the scriptures. 


What I am saying is: where else do we get our values?  Is it not a balance of these three? In the tension of these three approaches we find progress as a nation.  Each approach has led to progress at some point.  I wonder if there is another option.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Looking Back?

"Remember Lot’s wife!  "   -  Luke 17:32 This is one of the shortest verses in the Bible.  Jesus was talking about the terrible circumstances that will be present when he comes back.  He was warning people that they would not see it coming.  People will be going about their business and then suddenly, without warning, chaos will take over.  People will need to flee, and he warns them not to go back for their possessions, for anything.  This is where he says "Remember Lot's wife!".  In desperation he pleads with them to remember the fate of this woman.  To his listeners it would bring to mind the story of Lot and his family fleeing the destruction of Sodom.  They too were warned not to go back for anything, not to even look back, but Lot's wife did look back.  And when she did, she turned into a pillar of salt.   Metaphorically speaking this is often what happens when we look back.  We get frozen in place and we cease moving forward.  I have a childhood frie