Should Christians Participate in Politics

In Hong Kong, it has been politically tense with the debate over whether Hong Kongers should have a say in who get nominated in the proposed “universal suffrage” in 2017. Hong Kong people in general want to have universal suffrage, the rights to vote for their own Chief Executive Officer and their Legislative Counsellors. The pan-democratic legislative counsellors have been pushing for it for decades, and finally it’s pretty much assure that we would at least get to vote for our CEO in 2017, however, the discussion now rest upon who actually decide who will get nominated and voted for. 

From the situation right now, Beijing is saying that its self-appointed nomination committee will nominate candidates for the election with 50% approval. 

The general population in Hong Kong and especially the pan-democratic parties are afraid that we would end up with candidates that we don’t want to vote for anyway, and thus is proposing citizen nomination, and a lower percentage of votes from the nomination committee rather than the 50%. I think we are going for maybe 30% of the Beijing appointed nomination committee vote. 

To push for what the pan-democratic called “real” universal suffrage, three men, Rev. Chu Yiu-ming , HKU Law Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting , CUHK Sociology Professor Chan Kin-man,started the “Occupy Central with Peace and Love” movement. Which is basically a movement to literally hold rally and sit in at Central to ask for “real” universal suffrage. There is no seat in and rally yet, but they said there would be one if there wouldn’t be an election for Hong Kong CEO which abides by “international” standard.  

All three of them are Christians and they are asking others to follow them, if necessary, to participate in civil disobedient. 

My church is a very politically lukewarm congregation and its leaders interpret Romans 13 that we, Christians should obey all authorities. 

The debate over universal suffrage and being for and against the government is so strong that it does drift people apart at church, especially when a group preaches their stance. Currently, the leaders do promote the “obey all authority” and don’t complain and voice out stance. I find that to be outrageous, we, Christians, no matter what our views are, should discuss these things so I really welcomed the political issue talk at church even though I do find it to be rather late. 

After the talk there was a Q & A session and a well-respected older brother asked, “Would Jesus occupy Central if He was here?” The speaker said, “No.” 

Another asked, “Is it problematic to be politically indifferent?” 

“No, there is no problem.” 

I found these questions to be very interesting. The second one seems to be very self-assuring. I am not too satisfied with the answers however but I understand that the speaker was in a difficult spot, but I wish he was more comprehensive and complete in his answer. 


3 thoughts on “Should Christians Participate in Politics

  1. I’ve been away from the internet some, so I never replied to this, even though it’s an issue that hits close to home. Allow me my belated reply. I do interpret Romans 13 as we Christians should obey earthly authority, unless we are told to do or not do something that directly contradicts the Bible. Therefore, as much as I hate saying it, I think Christians should not be in the Occupy movement, even if we can support the sentiment.

    However, as Christians who are told to love our neighbors, we can and should discuss politics, heatedly even, because politics directly affects us and those around us. I mean, we’re Christians. We should be constantly seeking God, seeking how to live a life pleasing to Him, and seeking how to impact those around us for the glory of Christ. Even if you are not involved in politics, you need to be able to discuss it and explain why you are not involved.

    My two cents.

    • Thanks for your two cents. I think Christians like all people don’t want to be against the government. This is a controversial and tough topic. In most cases, yes, Christians like all people should follow and obey the government, especially if you voted and put that government in power in the first place, but there are times when one has to be against the government, as you said, doing something that is against the Bible. Beijing and the HK Gov’t at the moment is not openly killing anybody but it is using other means to diminish the rights of people in Hong Kong such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, etc. Just two days ago, there was attack on founder of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong. The headquarter of Apple Daily was also attacked by firebomb. A year ago, a former head editor of one of the most trusted newspapers in Hong Kong was hacked by attacked with knives while going to his local restaurant for breakfast. He is a Christian.
      These are some reasons why some people in Hong Kong joined the Occupying Movement. It does divide the church and wiser church leaders allow discussion and educate the churchgoers about political issues and how to have civil discussions about it, which is needed. People in the church have to respect different stances on the issue and remember that we are sons and daughters of God first as citizens of God foremost and citizens of earth second.

      • I have heard the arguments that the government is acting unbiblically because of the suppression of freedom of speech etc. It is also true the the gap between the wealthy and poor is increasing painfully. As Christians, we should seek do rectify these wrongs, but not by disobeying the government. Recall that Paul was writing during the Roman empire, and Christians then had much greater persecution than what we face. Still, Paul told them to submit to earthly authorities, even though he himself was in danger for his life. Personally I feel like HK gov’s current transgressions don’t quite measure up.

        As you said, we are first and foremost children of God. I am glad to remember that, and remember the respect and dignity and fearlessness that comes with it.

        Thank you for being willing to discuss. It is a delight talking with someone who can disagree without malice. I will also add that while I must choose not to participate in the Occupy Movement, I have never been more proud of Hong Kong. I feel like there is still hope.

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