Thursday, March 26, 2015
Politics and the Christian Writer by Terry Burns
As writers we have special communication skills to offer. For those of us who are Christians we have an obligation to stand for our principles. As citizens we have an obligation to use our vote wisely and to try and have a say in how we are represented.
But as writers we have to apply caution. Wherever we fall in the political spectrum there are people who are important to our writing career who will be on the other end of that spectrum from us. If we antagonize them it can have a detrimental effect on our writing career. That doesn't mean we should be silent. For too long we have had people trying to convince us that "separation of church and state" means we are not allowed to talk about politics if we are Christians. That is rubbish, That concept (which is not even in the constitution) came from the writings of Thomas Jefferson and simply means that government was not to interfere with religion and never meant that people with religion gave up their voice.
So as Christian writers we have something to offer to our country, but as writers we have to be cautious how we use that ability. Let me say this is not intended to be a political debate and if posts are entered that take it that way I will remove them. But just so you know where I stand in that spectrum so you can evaluate my thoughts, I am a life-long independent and a conservative. I believe in a limited government and a frugal government. I try to evaluate the thoughts and the candidates from all parties and try to support those I feel best represent the values I support as a citizen and as a Christian.
That's the first principle to apply as a Christian writer. A good writer researches their topic well, whether fiction or non-fiction. We all know what a problem it can be to write something and have someone call our hand on it. The most dangerous thing to our system of government is a non-informed voter. If we intend to use our voice in the political process being as informed as possible is mandatory.
If we wish to not offend those who may be important to our writing career we must not be contentious. By this I don't mean "politically correct." I abhor political correctness. It is yet another means to silence the voice of the Christian writer in particular. There is no problem stating a political position that some important to us might differ with, that is a major part of the political process, but we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into the fray. By that I mean a clear stand on an issue we believe in, even responding in a limited way in rational debate, but never be drawn into name calling, personalities, all of the things a practicing Christian should not do. If the forum we are expressing our opinion in goes that way we should stay above that sort of thing.
Finally, as Christians I think we all believe that the Lord is in control. Anyone who is elected to office it is because He wants them there or allows them to be there. But in the process He most often works through His people. I believe we are intended to stand up and be counted as Christians in the political process and to use our vote properly. I believe we have writing skills to offer in the process, but should use the Biblical litmus test in the use of that writing. We shouldn't beat people over the head with our Christian beliefs, but if we do it properly people will always know where we are coming from.
PS I should point out that this is my personal opinion and I don't speak for the entire agency on this subject.