What about Political Activism?
Part 6

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Political activism is an important part of our patriotic duty, but as forerunners, our primary goal is not to change how the president thinks—or even the thinking of our political representatives. Rather, we seek to make a difference by changing the thinking of those with whom we already have influence, such as family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. We challenge them to reconsider what our nation is doing versus what it should be doing—and more importantly, what they themselves are doing versus what they should be doing.

While there is a place for politics in this conversation, we ought always to keep in mind that the political is merely symptomatic of our nation’s spiritual condition. Our politics reflect what we truly believe; therefore, our goal should not be to change people’s political views. What we truly seek to change should be people’s understanding of our moral responsibility before God.

Certainly, there remains a place for fighting political causes, especially when those causes are informed by a Christian worldview. In a Democratic Republic, we have a responsibility to be aware of what is happening in our government and to seek to influence it. If we entirely disengage, then we are neglecting our responsibility as citizens of this country, and we will be held culpable by God for failing to uphold righteousness and for allowing evil an opportunity to succeed at the national level. As Christians, we have a responsibility to resist evil wherever we have influence, which in our country includes the national conversation. The progression of the LGBTQ+ movement is illustrative of this.

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, many of God’s people determined not to push back against homosexuality—and particularly the issue of homosexual marriages. These Christians determined to emphasize the positive elements of the Christian message rather than the negative, believing that the national conversation about LGBTQ+ issues would eventually subside if we would only give the homosexual community the opportunity to be heard. After all, the majority of Americans were, at the time, still uncomfortable with the subject of homosexuality, regardless of their religious affiliation. As such, dramatic shifts in public policy seemed unlikely. This strategy could not have proven to be more mistaken.

What Christians witnessed was an unprecedented advancement of homosexual causes in America. Activists became emboldened, intimidating politicians who increasingly felt the lack of vocal support from those who opposed homosexuality. For all practical purposes, these activists received everything they sought, and then some. However, rather than be satisfied, like so many Christians had hoped, they chose to open a new cultural battlefront: Transgender rights.

In the beginning, these activists followed the same playbook while the church, together with most Americans, assumed the same passive posture. However, there was eventually a tipping point when the American public began pushing against proposed policies and laws. Incredibly, the response was an almost immediate relenting on the part of politicians and transgender activists.

The battle continued to rage, and still rages to this day, but those who supported transgender causes were compelled to change their tactics. More importantly, their cultural progress was substantially slowed. Often, politicians and political activists behave like young children who relentlessly push the boundaries of what is acceptable until they experience resistance. As such, there is a need for God’s people to fight political causes, but such battles often give rise to a dangerous mindset among God’s people.

There is a temptation to view legal victories as an adequate substitution for our responsibility to change the hearts and minds of individuals. Legal victories only help to preserve an environment that is conducive to sharing the gospel and upholding God’s moral standard. If we fail to take advantage of these opportunities, then legal victories are fairly meaningless because they will not change the hearts and minds of people—only their behavior. As such, we should not place a disproportionate emphasis on changing our nation’s laws when our highest priority is to bring people’s thinking into alignment with the principles taught in the Bible.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.