Christians have duty to take political action

Christians should get more involved in politics.

At the moment, the reputation of Christians in public life is disastrous. Religious people are often seen as fanatical fundamentalists, leading massive hate campaigns complete with picket signs and boycotts.

This projection is not representative of most Christians. Yes, there are those who use religion as a weapon, perceiving a divine backing of their actions though they intend only to attack and insult.

But once you look past these outliers, you discover the true Christians in politics. They are people who hold immense amounts of political power or influence while still recognizing a higher power. They don’t use their religion as a weapon, but they also don’t shove their convictions under the rug on the way to work.

Christians in politics recognize God’s transcendence over the matters of this world while not discounting the importance of glorifying him by pursuing virtue and justice. When we do this successfully (though never perfectly), we bring the “service” back to public service.

A Christian that engages in firestorm attacks, offensive insults or unfounded accusations reflects poorly on the whole faith community. We have a duty to glorify God by striving to maintain kindness and understanding in all of our actions.

“We need Christians in politics who believe in conversation and reasoned discourse,” Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr said. “What we don’t need, regardless of faith journey, is people who simply yell at one another or shout the other side down. To my mind, that’s not a very Christ-like attitude.”

Starr has had an admirable career in public service while remaining a committed Christian. He says we “absolutely” need more Christians in politics, as long as they remain “respectful, kind and compassionate to those with whom they disagree.”

Admittedly, that’s hard to do sometimes. But Starr reminds us of some guiding principles.

“We need to take seriously the admonition to turn the other cheek. We also need to control our emotions, and we need to be determined to smile a bit more. Keep our voices down, smile and advance an attitude of caring and respect.”

Think you can do those things? Then we’d love to have you in the political world.

Danny Huizinga is a junior Business Fellow from Chicago. He is a guest columnist for The Lariat.