Religion Should Influence Americans’ Political Activism

As the old maxim goes, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

And according to a recent Pew poll, the majority of Americans think churches should do exactly that as far as public policy is concerned. Nothing.

Most Americans believe churches should not get involved in politics. The Pew Research Center found that 63% of Americans say houses of worship should keep out of political matters. Only 36% said churches should express views on social or political questions.

This seems to stem from a few issues. First, the left has successfully recast some moral and social issues like the sanctity of life as “political.” Sadly, the net effect of this leaves many churches reluctant to tackle one of the defining issues of our day.

To be clear, I don’t believe churches should be wrapped up in partisan politics – but they should have a lot to say about pressing moral issues like life and biblical sexuality.

Another cause of this disconnect is the common idea among Americans that religion is a private matter and thus not fit for polite conversation. This point of view leads many to believe that churches should only focus on evangelization and leave more “worldly” things to others.

But I once heard a cultural commentator ask a good question: “How do you think preborn babies feel about that sentiment?”

It’s a revealing question because it uncovers the assumptions of some – namely, that religion should stay out of politics because it isn’t important, or because no real difference can be made. But neither of those assumptions are true!

It seems to me preborn babies would care a lot about how, and if, we vote because real change can be made.

The eminent philosopher Aristotle believed that man, by nature, is a political animal. Because of our ability to speak and reason, we will inevitably form families, communities and societies where questions of a political nature will need to be answered.

Why should our religious values play no role in how we order our government or run our societies?

Undoubtedly, they should!

Famously, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., intriguingly both a Christian minister and one of the most visible leaders of the civil rights movement, relied on his faith to inform his views on politics and policy.

In his famous I Have A Dream speech, which is overladen with religious content, King used religious arguments to contend for true racial equality.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” King said.

He went on to quote Isaiah 40:4-5: “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope.”

King argued that the reason segregation should end was because the laws implementing segregation were unjust and immoral. And both justice and morality flow directly from religion.

Churches are one of the primary sources of morality in our society. If they can have no say in our political discourse, our country will lose what should be one of the primary encouragers of just and moral laws in our nation.

Just like King did, we should use the values our faith instills in us to inform our view on the laws that govern us.

Our country was built on a foundation which assumed a moral and virtuous people. Religious citizens should get involved in the political process so that the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the preborn, will have laws that respect and cherish them.

Please let me know what you think in the comments section below.

To become more involved, get in touch with your Focus-affiliated Family Policy Council by clicking here.

And from the Daly home to yours – happy Thanksgiving!

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Jim Daly

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