John Steward of Jesus
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Christians and political power

October 30, 1980

Recently, "New Right" Christians are attempting to re-assert the use of political power to force Christian morality as expressed in actions of individuals. Topics of concern are homosexuality, drugs, divorce, pornography, etc. Logically they should include swearing, idol worship, sabbath observance, etc.

"Liberal” Christians have been and are attempting to use political power to force Christian morality relative to groups, or at least  relative to the treasuries of groups with "Christian" intentions, and often relative to the public treasury. These attempts plead on the basis of justice, peace, care for the poor and underprivileged, etc.

The error in both cases is that an attempt is made to force morality through government power. This is impossible in fact, and counterproductive when tried.

The government and its force must be used only to permit individuals, and groups they choose to form, to respond obediently and creatively to the call of the Gospel and the call to a life of discipleship. Any attempt to force this obedience seeks to be wiser than the Creator, who gives men the freedom to live in such a way, if they choose, that they will go to hell and suffer the consequences of such living.