Many Christians divorce their view of politics from their faith, this is a sad reflection upon the fact that many Christians don’t realize the claims of Jesus as Lord. Let me commence this discussion by looking at the issue of Patriotism.
Patriotism: So often we can be taken up with my country right or wrong attitudes. Sometimes our songs reflect this for example reflect this we sing unthinkingly songs such as “Rule Britannia” or ” And did those feet in ancient times” ( these are examples of UK songs) My question is should we as Christians be singing songs like this at all? To my mind song like this try to make a claim to national supremacy. This can hardly be compatible with the vision that we are given in the Bible of God’s love for all mankind. When we read the prophetic books of the Old Testament we gain a different perspective, the prophets hold Israel accountable for its sin. This is what I call Critical Patriotism, there can be no doubt that the prophets loved Israel but they loved it too much it to leave the nation in its sin. We soon learn from reading Prophets like Amos how much God hated injustice. A Christian will naturally love the country that they were born in but we can not exalt the nation above the purposes of God. As a British citizen there is so much that I love about this country but I am also called to look at my nation through the lenses of Biblical revelation, being married to an American has at times challenged my perspectives on this land which is good. Our uniqueness as nations is to be treasured as part of the rich tapestry of God’s creativity, any claim therefore to be superior to another nationality is invalid.
The State: The Bible shows us that the state is meant to uphold justice in all its relationships. Paul in Romans 13 shows that the State has the power of the sword to punish the wrong-doer, and to preserve law and order. It is because humankind is created in the image of God that the Christian will seek to preserve life and not destroy it. The high value that God puts on life means that the Christian will oppose any program or policy that leads to the killing of the weak whether this be in programs of abortion or euthanasia. But this opposition must always be carried out in a loving way. The Christian is pro-life because he maintains that every individual is created in the image of God, this means that every individual is precious in god’s sight, and he alone has the right to decide when a person should die.
Ancient Israel in many of institutions shows us that God is concerned for the poor and needy, it is interesting to note how wealth was redistributed in the year of the jubilee. Also the poor were to be provided for, laws for the poor to go gleaning are a good example. It is nor surprising therefore that some of us see the Biblical roots for the provision of free healthcare for all. The Bible is no friend of untrammeled capitalism or of Marxism, but rather provides a third way, which reflects the love and justice of God.
We are called to bring a fresh perspective to social ethics and social philosophy, one that is rooted in a biblical world view, a lot of work has been done by research centers such as the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge UK.
I realize that this post does not do justice to all the issues involved but it is an overview of a Christian perspective on these important issues.