Monday, January 10, 2011

Faith: Personal or Political

Last week’s shootings of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords and the bombing of Coptic Christians in Egypt, highlight ongoing attempts to impose personal beliefs or views on the rest of the world.

While we condemn these ruthless, savage attacks, I fear more the motivation behind them to destroy freedom to believe as we choose. As Christians, we loathe attempts to silence our beliefs, but most of us do little about it.

Perhaps we feel safe in our western environment, but the Giffords’ shooting makes us all vulnerable, possibly to violence, but more likely, to political action that limits our freedom of belief. But we must recognize that any freedom to believe extends to other faiths.

Muslims, accustomed to laws that support their faith, loudly seek similar safeguards in their adopted western countries. We may oppose some of their demands, but they can teach us much about legitimate expression our faith needs.

In contrast, most Christians shun political involvement. We tend to interpret, “Render unto Caesar” and “render unto God,” as counsel to keep faith and politics separate. But serious faith leads to actions, and actions are always political.

Jesus became such a threat to the ruling establishment they crucified Him. The past week’s violent actions show the same determination of those who hate our freedom. They want to silence us, and most Christians willingly oblige.

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