In this season of political overreaction, paranoid secularist radicals compare evangelicals to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. At the other extreme, triumphalist Christians seem giddy with power they may not truly possess.

In short, there are now abundant opportunities to point fingers at the ignorance and faults of others. But the eyes of the world are on us. Our neighbors across the street and across the ocean are asking, "Who are these evangelical Christians? What do they want? What are their priorities?" If we fault-find and do not answer the hard questions, we're making a big mistake.

Judgment begins at the house of God, according to the apostle Peter. So who are we and what are our priorities?

The answers have little to do with Inauguration Day for President Bush. The invisible, present kingdom of God is no more fully here now than it was before the election. God and his people have no more power today than on November 1. All power is God's.

Some Christians conclude, then, that political engagement is unimportant. But the same God who reminds us that he is ultimately in control also commands us to be active in all spheres of life, including politics. But we must always place our allegiance to justice, righteousness, and holiness above any political affiliation.

And for that reason, calls by some conservative Christians for political "payback" are misplaced.

"We're not a special interest group," Charles Colson explains. "We vote our conscience and what we believe is in the best general interest: That's called common grace."

Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright puts it a different way: "We do not seek our own advancement or political power; we want to see virtue respected so the people may rejoice. Our newly exercised ...

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