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Separation of Government and Religion?


Some people say Christians should stay out of government issues (applying this, of course, only against religious conservatives, not against religious liberals). I agree that local churches should not endorse or finance candidates, but the issue goes much deeper.

Consider some practices that government officials currently debate: homosexuality, abortion, gambling, divorce, pornography, and contraceptives for unmarried teens. Who can deny that all these involve deep spiritual principles? Our Lord commands: "Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all..." - 1 Timothy 5:20. How can we obey our Lord if we remain silent about fundamental issues affecting morality and marriage?

Many faithful servants of God instructed government officials regarding such issues. Nathan rebuked David for adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12:1-15). John the Baptist spoke against Herod's improper marriage relationship (Matthew 14:1-4). Paul warned Felix about his immoral conduct (Acts 24:25). Modern Christians can imitate these examples by public statements, by letters to elected officials, and by our vote.

The apostle Paul often appealed to his rights as a Roman citizen as a means of protection from evil (Acts 25:10-12; 22:24-29; 23:12-33; 16:35-40). Why should American Christians not likewise seek to protect ourselves from evil by exercising our rights to vote and to write our representatives?

Many current government decisions have major impact on families. But God commands parents to protect their families and provide a wholesome upbringing for our children (1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 6:4). If my vote can help protect my family by providing a more wholesome environment in which to raise my children, why should I refuse to vote?

To claim that Christians should keep out of politics is to misstate the issue. Christians are not the ones who have left our sphere of interest. The problem is that politicians have made a full-scale invasion into the realm of religion and morals! In that realm Christians are not only permitted to act, they are obligated to act.


(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, June, 2004

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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

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