Politics and Spirituality | Sojourners

Politics and Spirituality

America prides itself on the separation of church and state. We would not want to challenge or change that principle. But modern American life is afflicted with a fundamental separation between public affairs personal morality; between the word of man and the Word of the Lord; between power and compassion; between politics and spirituality. In practice, most Americans have learned to put their political life in one corner, and their religious life in another. When any of us consider the tactics and strategy of political action, the last place we look for guidance is to the church, or to Jesus of Nazareth. And those who give allegiance to Christ rarely emerge from their prayer meetings to march in picket lines or petition their Congress. If a problem is political, it is by definition a social and secular issue. If a problem is religious, it is by definition a personal and spiritual issue. Or so we would believe. But this dichotomy makes no sense; and it keeps us from analyzing and understanding what both politics and spirituality really involve.

Essentially, there is no difference between what is a political task and a spiritual one. The two are really the same. To pretend they are separate and different things results in amoral politics and irrelevant religiosity. And that is what we see around us most of the time.

We believe that our politics does not need any spiritual insight or guidance. If we are concerned about poverty, then the solutions we will look for will be political means of getting more money to the poor. We see that as a political task. It will involve getting a bill through the Congress, or getting a resolution passed by the City Council, or getting a grant approved by a bureaucrat, or some similar effort.

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