Recently, CNN ran a six-hour series called, "God's Warriors" featuring liberal CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. Two hours were devoted to conservative Christians and included interviews with a number of evangelical figures. One pastor interviewed was Minnesota pastor Greg Boyd of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul. Greg, who's fearful of Christian involvement in politics, said in the interview, "I am very concerned about the extent to which what's called the kingdom of the world, the politics of the world, is being fused with our faith. In some cases almost like a Taliban, Islamic state. Where, you know, it's like we want to run a Christian society and enforce Christian law. And my concern is that is very damaging for the church."
Interesting that he would compare Christian involvement to the Taliban and an Islamic state. I wonder just which initiatives of religious conservatives he has trouble with. Is it concern over efforts to protect unborn human life through reducing abortion? Or is it efforts to protect the notion of one man, one woman marriage. Do these raise the specter of Taliban state? Or maybe it's the efforts of some conservative Christians to reduce the level of pornography and obscene material which increasingly is seeping into the mainstream culture. Or in the schools, is it the opposition to sex education curricula which promote an anything-goes approach to sex with attendant how to's? Or maybe the effort to protect parental rights? Maybe these are Taliban-like. `
I wonder what Greg thinks about past efforts, generally led by concerned Christians, to eliminate slavery, protect child laborers, or the civil rights movement. Were these efforts to "run a Christian society and impose Christian law" and create a "Taliban, Islamic state"?
Frankly, I think Greg has a poor understanding of the nature and origin of law in a society and the role of the Christian in the public arena. Take the issue of the law. Here's what Joseph Story, a long-time member of the U.S. Supreme Court (1811-1845) and viewed as a father of American Jurisprudence said about the law. "One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law...There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations...I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society." He points to the inherent religious nature of the law; of course in the West that means Christianity.
As for Christian involvement in society, given our representative government, one has a duty to be engaged in the political process. How else can one fulfill Jesus' words to "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's".
Should Christians enter the political process with a haughty and arrogant attitude? Certainly not. Should Christians think that salvation lies in the political process and the laws that are passed. Certainly not. But Greg's comments leave me with the strong impression that Christians shouldn't be involved in the political process at all. Will controversy follow when one is involved? Without a doubt. Just ask William Wilberforce and his efforts to eliminate slavery in England in the 19th century or Martin Luther King and his efforts on behalf of civil rights in the 1960s.