Originally by Scot McKnight from Jesus Creed on February 19, 2008, 10:19pm:

All at once, gathering on my desk of books, is a four-volume collection about public issues — and I could call this post the four evangelical horsemen riding into the American scene with ideas about how Jesus can help our politics. Here they are:

[Shane C]laiborne, along with Chris Haw, have written a brand new book called Jesus for President. When Publisher's Weekly calls this the "must-read election-year book for Christian Americans," it is worth getting some attention on the blog. The subtitle is politics for ordinary radicals and it's got all kinds of cool things … too many to name, but I have to mention one: instead of a normal listed bibliography, they've got pictures of books on a shelf with the titles and authors on the spines of the books. It's cool. Jesus is the Ultimate Radical and the authors push back against Constantinianism. Classic anabaptist, community life, be an alternative community … Shane Claiborne kind of stuff. I predict this will be a potent book for the next few months or longer.

Ronald J. Sider's newest book is called The Scandal of Evangelical Politics. His subtitle: Why are Christians missing the chance to really change the world? Sider's complaint is that evangelicals have not constructed a biblical framework for social engagement. This veteran counter-cultural evangelical statesman brings it all together in this book, and once again I think this book will make a big impact. What is the problem? Christians have compromised when entering the political fray. Everything we've ever had from Sider is found here: an even-handed vision of how Christians can engage society, politics and cultural in a way that is true to Jesus.

Tony Campolo has now brought out a citizen's guide to faith and politics: Red Letter Christians. 20 chapters; global issues and hot-button issues and economic issues and government issues. Once again, all addressed through the lens — and one is here reminded of McLaren's book Everything Must Change — of Jesus' teachings, those red letter verses in the Bible. Full of stories; aware of sociological studies; engaged with culture; this book is vintage Campolo. Tony tells his own story in this book about how he himself changed from being a nationalist to a Red Letter Christian.

Finally, Jim Wallis' new book, The Great Awakening, needs to be mentioned here to round off our four apocalyptic evangelical democrat horsemen. I didn't like Jim's last book, God's Politics, because it was too much of a scrapbook of where he'd been and what he'd said. The Great Awakening is a true book, in vintage Wallis line, but this one is about the revival of people with moral courage seek common ground to speak into the Western world with biblical prophetic courage. Like Campolo, he's addressing the serious issues of our day.


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe

  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.