The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
When citizens who have an evangelical faith engage in social life, they have the same rights as others who are agnostic, atheists or of any other belief.
We often read in the media that the “Christian lobby” and “the evangelical church” are moving away from its role of offering spiritual services and taking “religion into politics”.
Jesus’ phrase “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” is often used as if the meaning of this phrase were an order for Christians not to be active in the public arena.
Nothing further from the truth. What Jesus says is that they should participate, giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, playing their role as citizens.
(Another thing would be when the conscience of the citizen duty collides with the duty of the follower of Jesus, which has been very well addressed by Xesús Manuel Suárez in another article).
Here is a second lie: there are no unanimous positions among evangelical Christians regarding political issues.
It is true that there may be majority opinions, but for the simple reason that we have the same worldview about life, which comes from having the Bible as the ultimate reference of faith and behavior (something that originated modern democracies, freedom of conscience, the abolition of slavery, the ethics of work, that is, the authentic progressivism).
But to speak of “the presence of the evangelical church in politics” would be the same as talking about “agnostic lobbies” or “atheist caucus”.
The reality is that some want to deny evangelical or Protestant Christians their right and duty to participate in public life.
The public arena is the space in which all ways of understanding life reach points of agreement and consensus. It is not the place where a single monolithic ideology should be imposed on the entire population.
Even those who abstain from participating are participating in society with their passivity, which is another way of doing politics: others decide for me, for my children, for my society.
Of course, we do not believe that this passive form is the best way to be salt and light in society.
But when a citizen who has an evangelical faith engages in social life, he not only has the same right as one who is agnostic, atheist or of any other belief, but he is also fulfilling the mission that Jesus himself entrusted to him. Just as Joseph with Pharaoh, Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar, Esther and Mordecai with King Ahasuerus, and many others did before.
Let every believer freely and conscientiously choose his/her place, and let no one deny it. If needed, we shall help tear down those walls of intransigence that restrict our freedom as citizens and people of faith.