I recently had the chance to be part of an exciting panel on “Millennials and the Future of Political Engagement” at Values Voters Summit. The panel featured young evangelical thinkers like Matthew Anderson of Mere Orthodoxy; Andrew Walker, Kentucky policy analyst; and Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration. Chris Marlink, Jeremy Renner look-alike, moderated the 40-minute discussion.
This from Chris Marlink of the Family Research Council:
I had the pleasure of playing something like the intellectual equivalent of John Stockton to a panel of young, evangelical Karl Malones. Our discussion on the millennial generation and the future of political engagement was wide ranging and included everything from the history of Church and state, to the offering mercy in the so called “culture war.”
Unfortunately, the audio recording of panel discussion isn’t great, so in addition to the recording, you’ll find this helpful transcript of the panelists’s remarks. Listen to the panel audio here.
Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy posted a great article on the panel which sheds some additional light.
Here’s hoping that this panel, and efforts like it, helps drive young evangelicals to think well about political philosophy, to vote, and to vote according to a robust whole-life ethic that prioritizes dignity, life, and the holistic flourishing of the American polis. There is a great deal of bad thinking on offer among evangelicals about politics; in fact, I think there are few areas in which our collective thought is more muddled than this one. Yes, politics can be corrupt; no, elections do not determine our eternal destiny; yes, politicians regularly fail to deliver on their promises.
But Matthew 5:13-16 and 25:40, Mark 12:12-17, and Romans 13:1 all, in different ways, call us to participate as much as we can in the civic life of our countries. That means voting, involving ourselves in our society, realizing that real human lives are affected by political decisions, acting on your convictions, contending for the weak among us, generally supporting the government insofar as we can, supporting candidates who come closest to our own beliefs, and basically caring.
Young evangelicals: please do not buy the media myth that you’re disinterested, disconnected, and unneeded today. Push away from apathy and fear. Be like Wilberforce, Lyman Beecher, Jonathan Edwards Jr., Abraham Kuyper, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and act on your faith in the public square. Motivated by Christ and the gospel, be salt and light in the broader culture.