Christian Politics: Do We Think about Justice?

A year ago, I actively began my journey out of conservative politics in order to view the world for myself. I left because much of conservative politics, I could only conclude, was filled with unChristian viewpoints. It is not that I saw the left as inherently better. While the right has many unChristian viewpoints, the left has many antiChristian viewpoints. So, I was left in the vague centrist positions which both sides view as traitorous in an election year.

In this debacle, I found myself observing both sides, attempting to understand them. And I think that this election brought to the forefront a fundamental issue with American Christianity. The issue is that we do not think in terms of Christianity, but rather left-versus-right politics. This issue appears most profoundly in the lack of interest in universal justice.

As I understand it, in Michigan there has been substantiated claims of ballet counting warfare. While the republicans went on break at a ballet counting building, the Democrats locked them out of the building and put up cardboard over the windows.

The reaction from the right has been utter rage. And well they should be if these claims are substantial. This action is a fundamental violation of justice. But the viewpoint of my democrat voting Christian friends? Complete ambivalence.

Not to let conservatives off the hook, I am equally discouraged at the state of their one sided justice. The issue of racism is not over. I know African American kids and adults who were told by white people in Christian contexts that they were bad “because you’re black.” Not only this, but the injustices committed against African Americans on a systemic level are at high levels. But the conservative response? Complete ambivalence.

No, more than ambivalence. A complete rejection of anyone who claims that racism is still an issue. Nay, still more. There is an active campaign to retain the statues of those men who turned traitor to the American Constitution and fought for the repugnant system of race-based slavery. There are massive efforts to expunge their lives of wrong doing and pretend like they were the godly heroes of old. This is not only ambivalence to injustice, but an outright attempt to redefine God’s justice in terms of American conservative ideology.

Christians from both camps seem more “conformed to this age,” than “transformed by the renewal of [their] mind[s].” The result is that Christians in matters of politics are unable to “approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God” (Rm 12:2). We do not pursue justice as God commanded Israel: “Justice, only justice you shall pursue” (Dt 16:20).

What is the correct voting position of the Christian? I don’t know. I voted third party because I couldn’t in good conscience vote for either candidate. But I understand the reasons that good, godly Christians voted for Trump or Biden.

What is the correct political attitude? A thorough rage at injustice, an ear to hear the cries of injustice, and a thorough love for all humanity. And the only way we can have this attitude is by drinking deeply of God’s justice. Only as we imbibe God’s sense of justice will we be able to properly carry it out in our earthly politics. “Justice, only justice you shall pursue.”

6 thoughts on “Christian Politics: Do We Think about Justice?

  1. From someone who lived outside America, I find “the Christian vote” a uniquely American thing. In my country of origin pre-2016, there is no “christian vote,” and people just choose according to their conscience who they deem is the lesser of evils among the candidates. They are all typical politicians and there is no perfect choice. Morality is rarely a factor in voting. 2016 changed that a little bit, but I hope to return to pre-2016 where politics does not create division in the church.

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    1. That’s interesting to hear. I’m just saddened that the “Christian vote” in America is often very unloving and uncaring because it only votes a certain way. People within these groups may be caring in and of themselves. And they usually are great people. But the politics… is a little out of sync with their beliefs.

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  2. Maybe the reason why things are this way is because no man or party, no matter how well meaning, can solve any of these issues. Whether it is COVID, the election, or any other form of injustice in society, we really need to study the millennial kingdom to grasp fully how impossible it is to solve these issues in a fallen world.

    For 1,000 years, Christ will reign as ruler of the earth. This will be the only time in recorded human history that we will have a truly just ruler. For the first time in history, the ruler will truly have the best interest of his subjects at heart. However, what will happen? There will be famine (used to judge those who rebel against the LORD). At the end of this reign, instead of following the LORD, they will side with the devil in an attempt to overthrow the Holy One of Israel. In short, during the only perfect government in history on this earth, there will clearly be rebellion against the ruler, there will be famine (and crop failures), and at the end of it, there will be an attempt to overthrow the government of the only truly just ruler that the world has ever known.

    If we see this in the future, maybe the answer to the question that this post asks is that until the New Heaven and New Earth come, it is simply not possible. However, I Corinthians 3 clearly does layout what we as believers should focus on in this earth. In that passage, we are told about Paul planting, Apollos watering, but God gives the increase. Instead of despairing at the fallen state of human affairs in governance, all we need to do is worry about what God has given us to do. Even if we fail, that is inconsequential, since it is God who gives the increase.

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    1. He’s back from the dead! Glad to hear from you. What happened? I know I went “liberal” or whatever, but I thought our 10+ year friendship was better than that. Hey, I’ll get to this in a bit. I need to put my boys to bed first.

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    2. Ok, first, I wasn’t arguing for some kind of utopian vision that Christians bring in. I was arguing that Christians show a profound lack of justice when the injustices are committed to opposing political parties. Second, yes we are to spread the Gospel. But is that all we’re supposed to do? Did not God command us, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). Did our Lord not say to love our neighbor? Did he not chide the Pharisees “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you pay a tenth of mint and dill and cumin, and neglect the more important matters of the law—justice and mercy and faithfulness! It was necessary to do these things while not neglecting those” (Mt 23:23). See, yes it is our duty to share the Gospel but is also our duty to fight for justice when/where we can. Your argument about end times seen in this light, then, is a bit of a red herring, although I agree with your points. Yes, in the millennium there will not be perfection. But that has little or nothing to do with whether we should push for justice here and now. As I see it, the idea that all we need to do is evangelize is a bit of a cop out. It is the minimum amount of work necessary for Christians while we enjoy our middle-class comforts. I’m not saying your wrong. Only, it’s not the only thing we need to do here and now.

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      1. Thank you for being willing to have a discussion (a good bit more civil than last time we interacted.)

        I think the response to this would be along the lines of realizing that we will always have injustice in this world, just like we will always have the poor. In addition, the reality that the most perfect ruler will be rejected shows us that even if we do the correct thing according to scripture, there is a very, very good chance the world will reject us. Therefore, seeing how the world is reacting as you outlined in your blog post should be no surprise to us. It is perfectly in line with what we should expect.

        This reality doesn’t mean that we should give up on doing what is right. We should do our best to help people when we can, but at the same time realize that certain things are well beyond our control. Regardless of the person, we need to treat them with respect and honor. We might want to treat the college professor, the famed artisan, or the successful businessman with respect, but that is much too easy. We need to treat the janitor or the sanitation engineer as an equal.

        This is where both sides in our political system not only fail but also have no chance of succeeding. Both sides are more preoccupied with fundraising from those who are wealthy, talking about helping the middle class, and giving benefits to those who can’t afford basic necessities, but they never seem to getting around to realizing that we need to step aside from class generalizations and treat individuals well. Both sides see the forest but do not realize that it is comprised of many individual trees. As we can see, in a country with 331 million people, this is flat out impossible to do for any political party.

        My grandfather never completed more than 8th grade. He was a very simple man, but was gifted as a machinist who worked at Black and Decker. He was a very frugal individual, who saved as much as possible. He lived in a ranch house (much like the one that my future wife and I will be moving into next month.) In short, looking at his lack of education and his blue collar job status, most people would think that he was a nobody, and I have no doubt that some treated him as such. However, I have no memory of him ever complaining of it, or of how anyone viewed him as a person.

        I have more respect for him than any academic, businessman, politician, or public figure. He taught me about consistency (holding a single job for several decades.) He taught me about duty and respect (he fought in World War II in the Battle of Peleliu, suffering a broken left arm, broken left leg, and was blinded in his left eye.). He was awarded a purple heart, and I had the privilege of playing taps at his funeral. He was entitled to a 20 gun salute, but due to paperwork issues, we were not able to have those present in Baltimore at his funeral.

        In short, it doesn’t matter who we meet: we need to treat them well, and if we can assist when they are being mistreated or taken advantage of, we should intervene when possible. However, there are limits to what we can do. In those cases, we do what we can, and then leave the rest up to God. In some ways, praying is the greatest thing that we can do, because we are talking to the One who can do anything. At the end of the day, just like with my grandfather, we might be surprised with who they are and what type of resources that they have (my grandfather actually passed away a millionaire.)

        I didn’t mean to take up this much space, but I do agree with you, we do need to do something. However, we as individuals can only be responsible for what we do, and not what society chooses to do. When we can do something that has an impact, we should do that, as well as pray for the LORD to intervene on behalf of that individual. At the same time, we need to be braced for the reality that the world resembles Psalm 2, not Psalm 1. Therefore if we try to do what is right according to the Bible, the world will not like us for it.

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