God is not American

Taking a look at God in politics

Abner Campos

I wish I could say that God is not involved in politics, considering that politics usually carry negative connotations. However, the more I asked people's opinions and chew on the thought, the more I imagine God using politics in His own ways.

Defining politics has the potential to be difficult; Google’s definition is “the activities within a government to achieve power”. But is there more to it than that?

How involved is God in politics? "Probably not as much as we would want Him to be," says Pastor Rich Carlson, Union’s vice president of spiritual life.

It might be best to avoid combing Biblical principles with how we want our government to serve our wants. Sam Dinzey, a freshman business and graphic design major says, "Politicians sometimes use God as a marketing tool to win people in their favor." I'd argue this happens more often than Sam gives it credit for.

However, it is difficult to deny that God isn't involved in government and its nations. God cares about people; so does that mean He's involved for people's sake?

After the North had a mysterious defeat over the South, Ellen White says an angel descended from heaven to intervene. She says, "The sudden falling back of the Northern troops is a mystery to all. They know not that God’s hand was in the matter" (1T 266). So it must be that God is present throughout governmental moments, despite His occasional silence. How do we know when government actions incorporate His involvement? Honestly, I don’t know if we can.

Was He involved with Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and the civil rights movement? Could He have played a part in bringing peace to India through the humble acts of Mahatma Gandhi? Did God help the United States on Doom’s Day to bring a final defeat to the Nazi’s? All these could be possible. I myself like to believe that God steps in at crucial moments; it’s scary to believe that, though, because there are times when we wish He would have stepped in sooner and kept six million Jews from being wiped out.

However, it’s dangerous to see God in favor of one nation over any other. “God bless America!” As if He didn’t bless other countries. Does God bless one country more than another? That’s hard to say. Gungor, a musical collective sings, “God is not a man / God is not a white man...God does not belong to Republicans / God is not a flag / Not even American / And God does not depend on a government.” It is very easy to confuse what is proper in our culture with what is proper in Jesus’ culture. Once one’s culture and Jesus’ culture cross paths, things get messy. But God is not trying to make us politically correct, because His government is higher and larger and stronger than any of ours.

In the book that bears his name, Daniel writes that God sets up kings and tears them down. Which is frightening to me because that means God is using His hand with politics and government.

Two things to close:

First, let us be extraordinarily careful with how we use God in our favor to make a point in political conversations. We walk a fine line when we do.

Second, may you know that whatever He is doing, it is to save His people. Not so much from bad taxes, capitalism, communism or gun laws that aren’t in our liking; God is saving us from this place, this planet, because no matter which government you’re under—this is not your home.  

Abner is a sophomore studying theology.