North American evangelicals are generally more vocal politically than their counterparts across the pond. This is a funny old business, especially when one considers the separation of church and state in the USA and the presence of a national church with bishops in the house of Lords and the Queen as supreme governor in the UK. However, for good or for ill an American style ‘culture war’ has been spotted looming over our little Island at various points this year, when discussions regarding the place of Christianity in the public square, homosexual marriage and house of Lords reform have successfully served to distract politicians from the more pressing task of shifting the deficit.
One of the weaknesses of the North American church’s involvement in politics is that often a particular party becomes the party Christians are expected to vote for in certain communities. This is normally the Republican party in evangelical circles, although much has changed even in the last 10 years (I remember reading Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics: Where the right gets it wrong and the left doesn’t get it in 2006 and being encouraged to see that there’s more diversity than I had realised). British evangelicals often dangle off the other end of the spectrum, with an indifferent attitude that never even considers that there might be a party which is more in line with Christian values than another.
‘just because God does not (and cannot) unequivocally endorse either party is not the same thing as saying that it doesn’t matter which party we vote for. Some parties are more pleasing to God than others’.
Kruger is a North American addressing his own country’s situation, but it’s applicable to any democracy. I’m cautious about his brief comment on ‘the bible isn’t a scientific book’ being a ‘cliche’ (it may be, but I think that the general idea behind that phrase is important and different to the political issue – the former addresses modern scientific questions, the latter addresses timeless moral questions). Pedantry put aside, it’s a good article.