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Death of Religious Politics or Just the Beginning?

By Angela Wittman

I recently received an e-mail of an article written by Cal Thomas. The title of the article is "The Second Death of Religious Politics: Pat Robertson's resignation pulls the plug on a comatose religious-political body already dead." (Crosswalk.com News Channel). Being labeled a political activist of the Conservative Christian Right, I was most intrigued by the title and curious to see where Cal Thomas was headed with his opinion. I had read a few years back where it was reported that he had said that we (meaning Christians involved in politics) had lost the culture war.

I would like to give my response to several of the statements made in this article, since the conservative movement seems to be alive and well here in Illinois. ( Actually, I wasn't aware that there had been a first death of Religious Politics.)

Mr. Thomas states that "Religious politics failed the church because believers were told they could improve the morals of a nation through legislation and politics." He goes on to say that "it failed the state because time that might have been spent preaching a gospel redemption - that would have had the collateral benefit of elevating culture - was wasted in a futile attempt to reform the unconverted." My first response was to remind those critical of the "Religious Right" that if we do not preserve our freedom of speech, there will be no platform from which to preach the gospel of redemption to those perishing in their sins. We have a God-given command to tell others of our faith, our belief in the atoning sacrifice of Christ and His imputed righteousness to His elect. We are also so blessed to live in a nation where we still have freedom to speak the truth and gather together openly for Worship. Look around at the persecuted church. Aren't those being martyred for their faith mostly in nations that do not allow freedom of speech or religion? I think that if you examine scripture you will find that we are commanded to be good stewards of what God has given us. This also means things such as liberty and freedom - not only our material possessions.

Mr. Thomas also goes on to say that there never was a "coalition" of Christians, because Christians don't agree on all things, especially politics. As a county coordinator for Christian Coalition for the past seven years, I have not always agreed with everything the organization has done, but it has held elected officials accountable through the distribution of Voter's Guides and Congressional Scorecards. It also brought true believers together for the cause of Christ. We all knew that our main task was to get the gospel message to the general populace. Christ unites us - not politics.

The focus of Christian political activism is not to "marry" church and state as many critics have accused us of having. Our focus is to give Christians a voice in our government, elect those called to serve as public servants, protect our Constitution and God-given rights and alert those unaware of impending dangers to our freedoms. Our goal is to raise the "standard".

You can look around and see the effect the last 40 years of rebellion have had on our youth and society.

Woe to us, if as the Church of Jesus Christ, we do not hold legislators accountable and God's Word as the standard.

Is this the death of religious politics? I believe it is just the beginning.

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This article was originally published in 2002.

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