Faith & Politics: Conversations Leading to Action

By: Diva Morgan Hicks
September 16, 2016

During the 2012 election season, my pastor said, “You’ll find Christians on both sides of every political argument” in one of his sermons addressing Jesus and politics. Those words were freeing and challenging to me. Was this an invitation to initiate conversation about politics through the lens of faith?

I’ll never forget June 27, 2013.

It was my first date with my now husband, John.

We went to a local Italian restaurant and sat outside on the patio that was lined with white, twinkling Christmas lights. The sun was setting just over the Atlanta city skyline and it was a perfect atmosphere for a first date.

And then, before drinks were ordered or food was served I asked, “What do you think God has to say about poverty and abortion?” By the look on his face, I don’t think he had ever been asked that question on a first date or any date!

Many people think that talking about faith and politics is taboo, but not me.

According to a new Pew Report, many Americans hear about political issues from pastors or clergy leading their congregations. I am proof of this study.

During the 2012 election season, my pastor said, “You’ll find Christians on both sides of every political argument” in one of his sermons addressing Jesus and politics. Those words were freeing and challenging to me. Was this an invitation to initiate conversation about politics through the lens of faith?

Yes.

So why are people, especially Christians, so timid to discuss these topics in relationship with one another? Why are you afraid?

For me, it was the fear of pushback or not being “on the right side” of the conversation. I also think that people can easily compartmentalize their religious and political views. And while some political issues might be easier to faithfully respond to, others are empty of the voices and actions of Christian leaders.

But how many issues do we neglect to voice our opinions about or look at from a Christian perspective? Regardless of the political issue, it is necessary and sometimes urgent that Christians engage in both conversation and action around these topics to create a more hopeful future for our communities.”

As I traveled around the country this year listening to the stories of Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, Dr. Luther Smith, Dr. Emilie Townes and Christian Peele among other leaders, the idea of exploring the intersection of faith and politics became a consistent theme.

These pastors, scholars and rising Christian leaders shared how the work they do is not limited to the pulpit or the classroom.

It simply is part of their call as a Christian leader to participate in these challenging conversations, be present within our communities and lead change for good within our society. Whether hosting community gatherings to address social issues, building relationships with state officials, participating in the advocacy of non-profits healing our communities or generating conversation and action through congregations and classrooms, these faith leaders are committed to instilling hope within our communities.

With the election season upon us, I want to encourage you as a Christian leader to engage in conversations that lead to action. It’s not about being right or wrong. Instead it’s about discussing these issues through the lens of faith, learning from one another, engaging in action and creating the hope-filled future we desire to see.

On Tuesday, September 27th FTE will host a conversation on faith and politics in Washington, D.C., to address questions, share challenges, exchange ideas and explore how you might impact your community. I invite you to begin or continue exploring the intersection of faith and politics by either registering to participate in this conversation with diverse Christian leaders in person or online at fteleaders.org/livestream.


Photo: Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon

Tags: Inside FTE, Thinking Out Loud


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