Jesus actually answered this question. He was given a trick question, “Should we pay taxes?” Jesus replied, “Give to God what belongs to God, and to Caesar (or politics) what belongs to politics.”
Loyalty to God is a higher value than loyalty to any political party or person. The Christian Bible speaks of the duty of government to protect, and of the duty of Christians to pray for their leaders. It also affirms that our citizenship is in heaven — two important claims on our lives.
What we believe about God and politics is very much shaped by where and when we live. Living in America, as opposed to under a dictatorship, shapes our worldview. George Burns said, “Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair.”
Our faith should inform every aspect of our lives. Faith based upon Scripture, reason, experiences and core values make up our worldview. The major themes of Scripture guide our faith, including grace, justice and freedom.
In the West, we often compartmentalize our lives, and often resist allowing faith to influence all areas of our life. We pray for God’s will, but in addition we are given the intellect to investigate and make informed decisions for our children and grandchildren.
What matters most is that we are obedient to God’s word, not what “party” we claim. Did we offer God’s free gift of salvation, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and give a cup of water to the thirsty?
Peter Hawker, First United Methodist Church, Anniston
An American value system
The current political environment begs the question, “How should my faith inform my politics?” Hebrews 11:1 defines faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Limited understanding of the diversity of political structures on a global scale keeps many individuals in our Western culture focused on the two-party infrastructures that comprise our government.
The unseen force of faith joined with hope, not only for our nation, but for the nations of the world, is limitless and releases a great expectancy of good when Luke 10:27 is demonstrated: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.”
James 1:27 expounds upon this thought: “What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine … is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.”
The great hope and belief that these two thought processes are the foundational beliefs of our nation gives credence to the idealism that prevails that this, our great nation of the United States of America, still has a value system that is for the people and of the people. Jesus, the Truth of Hebrews 6:19, is: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
Beverly Mattox, Word Alive International Outreach