It’s almost here…the Iowa Caucuses that is. It’s been a long and arduous process, but soon the moment will come and go. For many Iowans, especially those in the Des Moines metro area, the moment cannot come too soon.
For all the talk about Iowa being “first in the nation,” the only ones that truly seem to relish this circus event are political pundits and media types. The rest of the state is probably split between being vaguely interested or extremely nauseated at all the hype.
Interestingly, what Iowans do seem interested in more than the caucus itself is its perception among the rest of the world. Among those that have recently incurred the ire of Iowans are Jon Huntsman and Stephen Bloom. It is ironic how sensitive Iowans are about negative views from outsiders. Iowans pride themselves in being above the fray but the fact that a few people don’t much like the state concerns them greatly.
That being said it is surprising that there is a tremendous lack of interest in the caucus. According to the Associated Press, only 17% of registered voters bothered to participate in the Republican and Democratic caucuses in 2008. Why are Iowans so apathetic? This is their moment to show the world what matters to them.
Christians in Iowa should be especially concerned. Not because religion should or shouldn’t be involved in politics. There are all kinds of arguments regarding the separation of church and state. However, Thomas Jefferson once said, “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty…students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.” This is not to say that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian. This is only to say that this nonbeliever saw value in understanding the principles outlined in the Bible.
So why would Thomas Jefferson make such an observation? He seemed to understand that morality mattered not only in culture, but in all facets of life. To this regard, Jefferson stated, “The practice of morality being necessary for the well-being of society, He has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.”
It can be argued that the economy is of utmost importance in deciding our next president. However, even our early ancestors understood that beyond their own financial and economic condition of the nation, morality mattered in terms of a civilized society. Can it be any wonder that morality was of great importance even at tumultuous times when our nation struggled at the outset with foreign relations and debt?
Aside from these obvious observations and the many reasons one could use to argue why Christians should be involved in the political process, they should only turn to Scripture as their ultimate Guidance. For example, Romans 13 gives guidance as to why submitting to government authorities is important. One sentence says it all, “The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
The question then is if God establishes all authorities, why should any conservative Christian be involved in elections at all? For any Christian, this shouldn’t be any more puzzling than a person’s decision to believe and the idea of predestination. Often Scripture shows how a person participates in what God is already involved in. And it is already established in how involved God is in government.
Another reason to be involved in elections is to consider the Christian’s role as being ambassadors for Jesus Christ. In Matthew 5, Jesus calls His followers “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” In both cases, it’s a directive for the Christian to be involved in pointing others to Christ and His righteousness. The Apostle Paul even says in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
In each verse discussed, a case can be made for the Christians’ involvement in the political process. A question to be asked is how can God use him/her to advance His purposes and causes? As it has been noted in regards to the Iowa Caucuses, Christians need to exercise their voice and vote in this process and participate in the county conventions and statewide conventions. It is at the party conventions that positions and policies are hammered out, and delegates selected for the national conventions.
The economy matters…but so do God’s purposes.