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Politics and the Bible

The rise of the religious right in America since the late 1970s has given serious consideration to the role of religion in the politics of a nation built upon the separation of church and state. Politics and the BibleIt is therefore worth exploring what the relationship between religion and the Bible is exactly. Of course, there will always be those who can find Biblical support for any issue. For example, in the Antebellum South, Scripture was used to justify slavery. One of the most succinct statements regarding politics in the Bible is Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.”

If one were to stop with that particular verse, it is entirely possible to interpret the Bible as being pro-secular authority. Instead, St. Paul was noting how God ruled over even secular authorities, as “those that exist have been instituted by God.” However, Acts 5:29 seems to directly contradict Paul, where Peter declares, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Perhaps even more important, nowhere in the Bible is there any exhortation towards political behavior. The idea that is constantly raised is that faithful individuals should remain above earthly affairs. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” Jesus told the crowd. This about as close that the Bible gets to politics. Here, Jesus was advising earthly affairs, in this case taxes, to be submitted, but with the realization that there are more important values to follow.

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