It’s not easy to find well-balanced (accessible) statements on the role of Christians in government, especially of the representative form in the USA. Part of the problem is that we simply have no explicit parallels in Scripture to believers living in democracy.
What does responsible citizenship look like for Christians when they are part of “We the people….”?
This morning, I read a very helpful article that looked at this question from the perspective of civil disobedience. Written by Mark Coppenger, (professor of Christian apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), the article answers the question, “When should Christians engage in civil disobedience?
I appreciated how Coppenger summarized Christian engagement:
“As we make our case for liberty, we need to show our logic, expose the illogicality of our foes, link arms with co-belligerents, exhibit dignity in the face of indignities, and make it very clear that there are limits to our flexibility.”
Following this prescription will require humble and mature wisdom. One of our aims is to help people understand the very wise words of David B. Hart:
“We are free not merely because we can choose, but only when we choose well. For to choose poorly, through folly or malice, in a way that thwarts our nature and distorts our proper form, is to enslave ourselves to the transitory, the irrational, the purposeless, the (to be precise) subhuman” (David B. Hart).
The words of Alexis de Tocqueville are equally compelling:
“The very dynamism of modern democracy has contributed to profound short-term thinking that devolved into forms of self-serving individualism. Increasingly unable to discern how our liberated actions impacted others—neither recognizing our debts to the past nor our obligations to the future—we see ourselves as wholly free agents shorn of history or future.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)
For other helpful discussions on this topic: We Dare Not Defend Our Rights and Should Christians Really be Standing up for their Rights?