It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I look at the example of Jesus, I see a man who stood in solidarity with the most oppressed, most ostracized, most exiled people of his time. He sat with the woman at the well; he touched lepers; he took on the Pharisees and Sadduccees publicly and with spirit. He stood for what was right in many ways, at all times.
Of course, Jesus knew what was right. I do not always know.
Yet, when I see people like Ella Baker or Aung San Suu Kyi or Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi take action to change the lives of oppressed people, when I see them putting their own safety and comfort at risk for others, I cannot help but see Jesus in that. They inspire me, not just because of what they did but because of the way they remind me of what I hear Jesus calling me to do.
I can do only what I believe to be right. For me, this means speaking publicly, adapting my lifestyle, and using my money and my time to bring most justice, more opportunity, more equality. I try my best to align myself with the poor, with the voiceless, with the children. I try to speak and act in a way that feels true to God’s teaching about justice and mercy.
I am not always right.
When it comes to politics, I am active, not because politics are the answer but because they sometimes do make change. Political will ended apartheid, got women the vote, and brought the Civil Rights Act to fruition. Political will also legalized slavery, imprisoned Japanese Americans, and massacred Native Americans all over the United States.
Politics is not God; politics will not save or end the world. I participate, not because I believe the “right” president or supervisor will “fix” everything but because I believe that these systems can be used to heal or to destroy. I want to try and do my best to see that we are on the side of healing, as best I can see it with my limited, scratched up vision.
For me, this means voting for people who seem to speak for the poor, who seem to act with a heart for the oppressed, who seem to see justice and mercy as the most important things. I am passionate . . . but
I am not always right.
Why do you or don’t you participate in politics? How does your faith influence your actions in this regard?
This post is part of the Faith and Politics Synchroblog that Shawn Smucker and I are co-hosting. If you’d like to participate, here’s what you need to do.
1. Write your blog post about this topic sometime this week – September 10-14.
4. Share your post via Twitter using the tag – #faithandpolitics
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.