Should Christians be Apolitical?

David French writes an open letter to young evangelicals who think that being truly Christian means being the opposite of those obnoxious, uptight, right-wingers:

In other words, Christians are overwhelmingly focused with their money and their time on the poor, not on culture war issues.  Then why are Christians portrayed differently?  Because the media is obsessed with the sexual revolution and demonizes dissent.  If news outlets focus on Christians only when engaged on culture war issues and ignores the much more extensive work we do for the poor in Africa, in Asia, and at home, then it’s no wonder the wider world sees us as politically-obsessed.  Anyone who believes that Christians are in control of their own public image does not understand how public perceptions are created in this country.  No one is in total control of their own image and reputation.  Not even the President — and shame on me for not realizing that in my days of naive rage. 


As we fight the culture war, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re not going to agree with each other, and sometimes I still get deeply frustrated at my own side.  But I no longer believe the lie that there is a path for Christians through this culture that everyone will love — or even most people will love.  I no longer believe the lie that American Christians are “too political” and if we only spoke less about abortion we’d be more respected (the mainline denominations have taken that path for two generations, and they continue to lose members and cultural influence).

If there’s anything I want to accomplish with this blog, it’s to encourage young Christians not to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to reject traditional church teachings and sprint to the political left in order to find “true” Christianity. Or “real” or “radical” or “transformative” Christianity, or whatever word liberal Christians are using to describe their brand of Christianity, which is much better than the kind practiced by their parents and other old, repressed people.

There is no kind of Christianity that’s going to make everybody suddenly forget all their differences and dance around the maypole together. As long as you proclaim the name of Christ, you will have enemies in the world–cultural, political, and every other kind of enemy you can have. Compromising your beliefs in the name of ending the culture war won’t gain you anything.

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