Friday Five — Faith and Politics

As posted by Sally at RevGalBlogPals:

Well it may or may not have escaped the notice of many that over in the UK we have been awaiting the results of the General Election…. it has been the most closely fought election for many years, and the result… a hung or balanced Parliament, with no outright winner… and it has got everybody talking…

So what do you think about the mix of faith and politics:

1. Jesus a political figure: discuss…

Politics is a human institution. You can be part of it with or without faith. While it was inevitable that Jesus impacted politics, I don't think he set out to be a political figure. He's a political figure for me when I consider matters that involve human welfare. My understanding of what we've traditionally called the Kingdom is that we are called to bring about a Commonwealth of Love, literally a sharing of love that will redress the balance where people are in want. I define want pretty loosely in this case, beyond the obvious material needs to peace and peace of mind, as well. 

2. Politics in the pulpit, yes or no and why?

Yes and no, because sometimes the political issue is in the category above. When we had a referendum attempting to overturn civil rights protections for LGBT people as passed by our legislature, I spoke about it in church, letting the congregation know why I was attending a rally and why I intended to vote to sustain those protections. I did it because my political opinion, in that case, came directly from my theological understanding.

I would not get into preaching about candidates. Though I do have opinions!

3.What are your thoughts on the place of prayer in public life…

When I've been called on to pray at a public event, I've done my best to create prayer that includes rather than excluding. Of course, for non-believers, any prayers feels excluding, so it's perhaps better not to pray at civic events. 

From the basement 0014.Is there a political figure, Christian or otherwise that you admire for their integrity?

My dad. He grew up at Monumental (later United) Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia, and while he did not talk about his faith much as an adult, it clearly formed his values, the same values that formed mine. He taught me to have the courage of my convictions, to speak truthfully and act bravely even when others disapproved or even threatened. He took unpopular positions in favor of Civil Rights, because he knew them to be right. His mother, who served on our hometown school board during integration, influenced him, and I am proud to have been taught by the examples of both.

(Here's a picture of the two of us, taken in one of those photo booths, then re-photographed with my phone! Judging by the lack of front teeth, I was about 6 years old, and he was newly elected to the U.S. Senate.)

5.What are your thoughts on tactical voting, e.g. would you vote for one individual/party just to keep another individual/ party form gaining power?

I've never been in that situation. When I heard about this tactic being used in the Texas primary in 2008, I thought it was dirty pool, really anathema to the principles by which I was raised. It's sort of the political equivalent of imprecatory prayer, isn't it? 

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One thought on “Friday Five — Faith and Politics

  1. angela

    I love that your dad stood up for civil rights. I think many/most pastors probably did–how could they read the Bible and not? Our former pastor actively sought ought people of all races to attend his church and successfully integrated a church on the coast of Virginia during a time when it sounded to me like Jim Crow laws were still in place…

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