I recently read a great post, More Love, Less Politics by Keith Giles at subversive1. I very much agree with what Keith is saying. His post triggered (please forgive the pun) a connection in my mind that I found rather scary.
The basic problem that Keith addresses is that Christians want to legislate morality through the government rather than bring about change through expressing the love of Christ. I think we all know folks who are entrenched in the battle against gay marriage or in some states the fight against casinos or in some towns the fight against strip clubs.
Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. – George Washington
I wonder if we really think about what the government is when we decide we want to use it to enforce morality. The government is a body of force that exercises power through the threat of violence and harm. Don’t pay your taxes? You get a fine. Don’t pay the fine? Go to jail. Resist those trying to send you to jail? You will be physically harmed and forced into chains and into a prison cell. We obey the government because it exercises force over us, the threat of violence or harm is ever present when we consider whether or not to follow the government’s laws.
What does this mean for the Christian involved in politics? If we want to use the government to enforce morality and the government’s strength is in the threat of violence and harm then what we really want is to enforce morality at the threat of violence and harm. Is this the message that we have been called to preach? Is this the Gospel? Is this love? I think we should seriously consider the tool we seek to use to enforce morality. We are pointing a gun at those who live in sin.