The political season is here in America. Forget Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, the political season is my absolutely least favorite season. Now, as a Christian and American, one would assume I would be staunchly entrenched in the fetid stink of politics, as most seem to be, but I am quite apolitical — though, truth be told, I am part Christian Anarchist and Libertarian (which is simply a function of the truth government cannot coexist with Christianity, but insomuch as it will always exist if we are honest with ourselves [and we must deal with what is, not what ought to be], I would see it as limited as possible).
I will not name any particular candidate, but none who espouse a belief in Christianity lives up to it, regardless of party. There is vicious name calling, petty attacks, and general greed. When the sole Jewish candidate (though he seems to speak to a more Universalist spirituality) is more “Christian” than the “Christian” candidates, it is frightening. And no, that is not meant as a degradation of Judaism, which is itself the foundation of Christianity.
In the end, I feel like the reason all these “Christian” candidates cannot truly represent Christ is because the Kingdom of God is the Christian’s nation, not the earthly one in which we live. How often are our lives shaped by our nationalities, but it is all statolatry. We are Christians before we are ever Americans, or any other nationality for that matter. As such, we have priorities and calls that are disparate matters to state matters.
State matters consist in protecting the citizen but must also, as necessary to the state’s existence, oppress them as well. That statement demands two things be answered for: should the Christian demand protection and must the state oppress its citizens? Let me start with the first. Christians are called to suffer. And that is the least popular thing to tell an American Christian. We have sought our own protection at the cost of our faith. How can we be so insistent on our safety when all the apostles were martyred? When we are told by Jesus that if He was persecuted, that we too would be persecuted? Safety is never the priority for the Christian. Our first priority must always be living and speaking the gospel even if that comes at the cost of our life.
As for the state, it must oppress its citizens to exist. Think of it: a government, of any form and type, having no control over its citizens. That state would cease to exist at that very moment. All laws, all rules, all functions of the government cease the moment it no longer has control. And to that end, we form a military and police force to ensure control both within and without, laws to do so without physical force, or at least until the laws are broken. This control goes against the very nature of freedom. We were set free for the sake of freedom, not so that we might bow to politicians who have no Christian interest in mind.
Now, let me also note that this is not an active call to rebel against authorities. Quite to the contrary, we all called to submit to them. That does not, however, mean we are to take part in them.
Jesus sets the perfect example for us. He disobeyed the Pharisees and Sadducees and the Roman authorities, but it was for the sake of living the life God asks of us. He healed on the Sabbath, spoke against the commonly accepted religion, and circumvented the supremacy of Caesar (with one of the least noticed pranks in the Bible). He did all this without challenging the authorities for the time had not yet come for the establishment of a physical Kingdom, a thing which will never demand violence of us.
To sum up all the Christian should have to do with politics, Jesus must always be our highest authority, not the state. I could write on numerous issues, which I will most likely touch upon in the future (or have already), that shows the disparity between Christianity and the state. But suffice it to say for now that I do not believe politics is any place for the Christian.