Ron Sider on Christian Political Engagement

I recently read Ron Sider’s excellent The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World.  If you have not read it yet, you should.  If you have the time, I would strongly encourage you to read it before voting next week.   Sider’s book is not meant to be a voting guide, but as I read it I could not help but think about the things that I should consider when I choose a candidate.  They are:

The state is a gift from God.  It is meant to promote justice and the common good.  It should be limited to the extent that it does not interfere with institutions such as the family and the church.

Christians should support human rights such as the right to life, the right to religious liberty, the right to freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, the right to vote, the right to food,  the right to private property, the right to health care, the right to education, and the right to work.  When it comes to protecting human rights, the needs of the poor takes priority over the wants of the rich, and the freedom of the dominated takes priority over the liberty of the powerful.

Christians should promote democracy and market economies without claiming that the Bible endorses either and without overlooking the weaknesses of both.

As defenders of life, Christians should oppose abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, starvation, smoking, and capital punishment.

The church, not the state, has the responsibility to cultivate strong and wholesome marriages.

Christians should promote peace over war

Christians should care for the creation.

International affairs must be conducted with humility.

Again, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Sider’s book to see how he unpacks these ideas.

  • Clay Knick

    John,

    This out in a second edition with this title: “Just Politics.” It came out in September. Thanks for this.

  • John C. Gardner

    Ron Sider reminds us, as a predecessor John Wesley, that we need acts of piety and acts of mercy. We need to be responsible stewards of the cosmos and also maintain Christian virtues and ethics. Wesley himself was anti-slavery, provided assistance to the poor, and preached Scriptural holiness across England.

    • Voice of Sanity

      Really! Evangelicals and other Christians are seriously considering voting for Mitt Romney? Does anyone research the basic beliefs of those who are running for office? The Mormon religion believes that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are brothers (the first brothers and sons of God). Are you really willing to vote for someone who places Lucifer and Jesus Christ on the same plane? There is no disputing this basic tenet of Mormonism. What next? Maybe Mitt believes that when his earthly journey is ended, he will return as the god of this planet in a nother realm? I am amazed at the lack of information upon which people of faith make a decision of who they want for leader of the free world. While Obama appears to be nominally Christian, Romney is a Mormon. That minister who dubbed him a member of a cult was on target. Get smart, America. Read the Book of Mormon and investigate their basic beliefs.


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