By Jacob Factor, News Editor
Politics has saturated much of today’s mainstream social media and news outlets.
It’s almost impossible to have no opinion on current issues, policies or lawmakers, but how does a Christian decide on these things?
Five OBU faculty gathered in Upper GC last Tuesday for a “Let’s Talk” discussion about this very question: not what stance to take on political topics, but how Christians should go about deciding these things.
Maliek Blade, assistant dean of students: diversity/multicultural, Scot Loyd, assistant professor of communication arts, Alan Bandy, Rowena R. Strickland Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek, Nicole Johnson, assistant professor of nursing, and Christopher McMillion, assistant professor of political science, answered questions prompted by SGA president Clayton Myers about Christians and politics. After the panelists gave their thoughts, a discussion time afforded students the opportunity to express their opinions in small groups.
The first question, “Should Christians be involved in politics?” spurred conversation on voting.
Loyd said we should exercise our freedom to vote. We shouldn’t take our freedom for granted, he said.
Arielle Chastain, a junior elementary education major, who attended the “Let’s Talk” event, said she agreed with Loyd. She said Chris-tians should look at voting as an obligation.
“White men were the only ones who could vote for a long time,” she said. “People worked their behinds off to make it so women, black people and minorities have the right to vote. We shouldn’t take advantage of that.”
Blade said he had a different opinion. It’s up to a person whether or not they want to be involved in politics that way, he said.
“I would say there is not any Biblical mandate that you should vote in the presidential election,” he said. “There might be some social pressure, but no Biblical command.”
Blade said many people look at elections as picking the lesser of two evils. No sin is lesser or greater than another, and the Bible says pick no evil.
McMillion added to Blade’s comment, saying if someone doesn’t vote because they don’t want to pick the lesser of two evils, they should get involved elsewhere politically.
“There’s a responsibility to ask yourself, ‘how else can I get involved?’ and in doing so, hopefully, create a situation where Christians have better options.”
The panel also brought up political parties.
Bandy said “love your neighbor” and “seek first the Kingdom of God” supersedes political parties.
“For us to align with a party is inherently flawed. It hinders our evangelism if we’re too closely aligned,” he said. “The Gospel transcends any human government.”
Later, Johnson touched on healthcare. She said she’s fortunate enough to afford healthcare, but she understands not everyone has that ability.
“As Christians, we should be concerned about that,” she said.“It was with Christ that we actually saw people receive care regardless of race, background or class.”
She said that’s the example Christians should set. Healthcare shouldn’t be solely a governmental issue, she said.
“With healthcare, it’s not always about business,” she said about when money comes into play. “Unfortunately, money sometimes dictates your access, and we have to figure out how to fix that.”
Another social issue talked about was immigration.
“One of the things I find most disturbing is the dehumanization of people,” Bandy said.
He said he understands it’s a complex issue, but regardless of the stance on a solution, a mere “keep them out” is unbiblical.
“I don’t care what country you come from, what language you speak, you’re a human being. Human beings are a priority.”