Should Evangelicals Pull Back from Politics?

by David French

Patheos is hosting a discussion on whether faith leaders should “pull back” from engaging in politics. Pull back? That would imply that Evangelicals are strongly engaged in politics. We’re not.

In my submission I note that the church is far, far more engaged in (for example) anti-poverty programs than it is in political or social activism, and so long as our nation not only sanctions but helps fund the yearly slaughter of almost one million unborn children, we need to recalibrate our engagement to more appropriately reflect the scale of the injustice.

But our activism shouldn’t be contained to abortion:

What about economic issues? Aren’t they less black and white than abortion? Certainly they are less black and white, but they’re still critically important. For generations we’ve forsaken free-market solutions to poverty, embraced a multi-trillion dollar investment in welfare, and we’ve watched the American family fly apart for the poor and lower-middle class. As a result, our poverty problem has increasingly become a marriage problem, with married couples enjoying low poverty rates while single-mother households are swallowed up by economic insecurity. So should Christians merely accept the liberal elite’s welfare state and supplement it with soup kitchens of their own? Or can we also present a biblical witness about the importance of marriage and the value of working for one’s sustenance?

Spend much time in Evangelical circles, and you’ll find an almost-desperate desire for cultural acceptance and relevance (I know that’s not how we’re stereotyped, but the liberal elite know nothing about us). Part of that is the product of terrible theology — the well-meaning but misguided belief that the Gospel message won’t be accepted without repairing our “brand” — and part of it is just simple selfishness. After all, who doesn’t want to be loved by, well, everyone?

I’d invite you to read the whole thing. And, as always, your feedback is welcome.

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