The Radical Iconoclastic Imperative for Christian Politics
I grew up under the impression that Christians should vote Liberal... or Country Party. It was a surprise to find others thought differently! There is a perception that the church votes conservative... it's what good Christians do. I think it is not what Good Christians should do. It is our calling to be radical and to be iconoclastic following the footsteps of the Christ.
To give perspective, there is an old saying that the man who is not a radical at 21 has no heart and soul. And if he is not a capitalist at 40 then he is a fool. Not so, I think. We live in a capitalist system. Just how much one can drop out in the face of real life is questionable. But even if we must needs be part of a capitalist society, and work within it, a person who has become a happy and comfortable capitalist has indeed lost their heart and soul. At its roots the way capitalism is practiced today is about economic, and therefore social, winners and losers, not about compassion. A Christian cannot subscribe to that.
But a Christian may all the same believe and act on the belief, that one capitalist politician or party is better than another. It is not for whom we vote, but why, that is important. We may come to different conclusions as to how to act on our calling to justice, too. But the vital question is what is informing that action. Are we perceiving through the filter of the comfortable status quo or the radical iconoclasm of the Christ?
Conservative politics is about conserving. It is about maintaining the status quo. It is about maintaining the social standing and advantage of the winners of society. It is not about developing, refining and redefining Christian justice and ethics. It is not interested in re-inventing itself and questioning itself according to the way of Christ. It is about conserving what already is.
Christianity is about growing and seeing the world and society around us in new ways. It is about breaking the idols of society and moving closer to a way of compassion and justice that involves all people. A truly Christian politics must always be radical and moving back to the roots of the faith. It must always be iconoclastic, breaking the icons and idols of the status quo and seeking greater justice, truth and freedom. Or, put simply, it is not Christian.
Posted December 2001
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