Some time ago I shared that the election had caused me to dig a bit more in Christian political ethics to be better prepared for the swift changes on the ground politically. Now, more than ever, it seems a forceful, vocal Christian apologetic for basic ethics in democracy is needed. This is not about partisan ideas, but ensuring fair play and stable institutions that can balance the needs for security, civil liberties, and just structures in a free society.
I am happy to see the brazen attempt by Congress to gut the Ethics Office was stemmed off in a groundswell of popular support. But that alone will not stop people in power from doing injustice. Recently the House dusted off an old rule (the Holman Rule) in an attempt to reduce targeted civil servants’ salaries to $1/year. This thinly cloaked form of economic retribution for those who don’t toe partisan lines who are simply doing their job without regard to the whims of politics cannot stand scrutiny.
Christians have a responsibility to advocate for the last, the least, and the lost-not just preach to them or do good deeds for them. Thus, a follower of Jesus must be ready to do whatever lies in his or her power to oppose injustice, to speak up for righteousness, and-when the need arises-to be a gadfly that agitates unjust systems by means of peaceful civil disobedience. The NRA and the Tea Party, for example, have made significant inroads by adopting practices originally tested in the battle for civil rights in the 1960s. Flooding congressional offices with phone calls (even more than letters or emails!), consistently standing up publicly and saying “no” whenever legislation or policy ideas arise that oppose your core principles-these are historically proven methods of opposing unwanted change used by the left and the right.
No matter one’s party affiliation or ideas about best practices regarding domestic and foreign policy, we should all agree that liberty can only be secured people accept responsibility and abide by common ethical principles in the pursuit of a just, fair, safe, and free society. Elected officials need to see their office as a trust for the common good, not a position of power to benefit cronies and punish critics. Rules and laws must be good for everybody, not just a select few. The vote, not the dollar, should determine the will of the people. And conflicts of interest, cronyism, and nepotism should be stamped out whenever they rear their ugly head. So do your part-be a good citizen of heaven by being an active citizen of your country!