The election season is in full swing. Voters around the country are casting ballots for who they want to be the next President. Now, more than ever, we need to determine for ourselves how our faith impacts politics.
So should you join the Moral Majority? Or should you disengage from politics? Or is there a different way?
Bruce Ashford and Chris Pappalardo want to help you answer that question. They stopped by The Eric Metaxas Show to talk faith, politics and their book One Nation Under God. You can listen to the audio or read the highlights below.
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Ashford on political anger.
“Instead of being characterized by anger and fear, we should be characterized by grace and joy. Anger is not wrong, but the Scriptures do say to be careful not to sin in your anger. It’s very easy to sin in our anger, and it’s very easy to be blinded politically when we’re angry. And I think anger has led to the ascendency of several of our political candidates, and that’s why I think’s it’s such a problem right now.”
It’s very easy to be blinded politically when we’re angry.
Ashford on Donald Trump.
“He has taken other candidates to school on how to communicate. He has a master narrative that America is in decline and that he will make America great again. He knows perhaps that mostly American voters are swayed by emotional connection rather than rational argument. So he doesn’t focus on rational argumentation. He speaks the language of the people in a way that some of the more wonkish of the candidates don’t.
Pappalardo on Christians’ political involvement.
“If Jesus really is Lord of all, then he’s Lord of politics as well.”
If Jesus really is Lord of all, then he’s Lord of politics as well.
Pappalardo on the false dilemma.
“It seems like we have two choices. We can go Pat Robertson, Moral Majority and all of that on one side. And we see it can get really nasty. We’re making alliances with political parties and candidates, and you’re like, ‘I’m not sure that’s legitimately Christian, but that’s where it is, that’s the option we have.’ If that’s the only engagement with politics we see, I understand a lot of young Christians saying, ‘I don’t want to play that game. That’s a mess. I know that God has a future for the church and the gospel, so I’ll just pour myself into it there.’
“But we want to say that’s a false dilemma. You don’t have to choose being angry and the Moral Majority or disengaging from politics altogether. You can shoot the middle where you say, ‘Look, let’s be passionate about this and try to learn from some of the mistakes of the previous generation while still respecting the fact that they were taking Jesus out into public, which we all ought to be doing.'”
Pappalardo on politics as an idol.
“Politics, like any idol, can work well for us if it’s in the right spot. But when it becomes an idol, it crushes us when it disappoints us. With all the eggs in that basket, we made some successes. Those were euphoric. But every failure became just devastating. It’s a case, like Bruce said earlier, of wanting to take our marbles and go home.
“What we’re saying is, let’s get in there. Let’s mix it up a little bit. But let’s do it starting from a position of confidence because we know that Christ is going to bring some sort of victory into this and is going to bear things out instead of a little bit more of the defensiveness…
“And also, let’s try to push back against the categories that politics wants to put on evangelicals. We’re not just a voting block to be manipulated one way or another…. We’d like to be a prophetic voice that pushes back against any and all candidates from a Christian perspective.”
We’re not just a voting block to be manipulated one way or another.
Ashford on the impact of religion.
“The Bible treats religion as a heartfelt matter in that it encompasses the whole of who we are and it affects us deeply. One of the problems we have is that some people take that and think [that] since it is heartfelt, it is private. It is precisely because our belief is heartfelt that it radiates outward into everything we do.”