Rights, privileges, and where God fits in politics

Guess what I did yesterday? I got to voice my opinion on who should be running the government of the state of Kansas…with a paper ballot. That’s one of the awesome things about living in a small town. You still get the paper ballot option, although there’s a touch screen. But not a whole lot of people trust it yet.

I’m so burnt out on the whole political scene right now. Just being honest, it was kind of a chore to go vote. But I come from a voting family. We vote. So I voted.

And I try to remember, whether I’m excited or just exhausted by it, that voting is something to be grateful for. One thing we all need to remember about our rights and privileges as citizens of the United States: If we take our rights for granted, one day they won’t be rights anymore.

Currently, we have the right to vote. We have the right to speak our minds about who should be in charge in government. Having the right to make that declaration means we can speak our mind without fear of repercussions (generally speaking).

But how many people ignore that right? How many people treat it like something that doesn’t matter?

There could come a day where our right to vote becomes a privilege. And privileges can be taken away. That’s why it’s important not to take advantage of it.

I’ve met people who don’t think faith has any part in politics. Most of the time, I understand what they’re saying. But at the same time, we need to consider how Jesus viewed politics. He didn’t ignore them. He had a definite opinion on how we were supposed to handle politics.

I Voted Sticker from this year's election

I Voted Sticker from this year’s election

Today’s verses are Matthew 22:15-21.

Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

If you talk to some people, they think He should have answered that the church has no place in politics! Or the opposite. Politics has no place in the church!

It’s a touchy subject. But just think about it for a minute. If God wants us to live whole, genuine, real lives, why do we try to compartmentalize them? We get so upset at people who are different at home or work than they are at church. So why is that different with your political beliefs and your faith? Shouldn’t your political beliefs agree with your faith? And vice versa?

No matter what your belief system or your political affiliation, you have to recognize that America is a unique and amazing country–a blessing, a gift, a privilege. Not perfect (oh, boy, not perfect). And we’ve struggled–are still struggling–with finding that balance between being free and being good. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. That doesn’t mean America isn’t worth it.

So come on, Christ-follower. Get back in the fight. And don’t fall back on the statement that God has no place in politics. I honestly believe if we brought God back into politics, maybe politicians would actually get something done.

Don’t take your freedom for granted. Not many others in the world have the same freedom we do. In many places of the world, people are punished or killed for speaking their minds.

Maybe there are no good candidates. I get that. Maybe you don’t agree with anyone’s positions. I get that too.

One of the awesome things about this country is that if you don’t agree, you can stand up. You can do something about it. If you don’t like any of the candidates running, maybe you should run instead. Have you ever thought about that?

We have radical freedom in this country. Unlimited opportunity by law, unlimited potential through faith.

Don’t waste it.