As evangelicals emerge as a politically strong constituency, what should influence their political priorities?
Guilherme De Carvalho: Above all, a solid Christian social doctrine based on the Bible and in dialogue with the theological tradition. Topics such as the biblical creational order, including its elevated view of the human person, family, and work, need to be understood and contextualized for today’s culture. Christians should grapple with several questions: the nature of political authority, the political meaning of the Exodus, the social ethics of Torah, the biblical prophetism and the economy of grace in the New Testament. These issues should structure our agendas.
Unfortunately, evangelicals have not proactively set a biblical agenda. Instead, in the desperation for relevance, we haven’t acted in a principled way and have become religious mirrors to the secular political debate.
I don’t see a problem with evangelicals electing people who represent their worldview—that’s part of democracy. But I believe that they should prioritize candidates with a vision focused on the “common good,” not just on the protection of their own group. A “Christian” policy that only thinks about how to protect the interests of the Christian community would be the very denial of the Christian mission.
Iza Vicente: It’s not a simple question, because evangelicals can have different positions on the complexity of issues that are in the public arena. Despite this, I believe that defending religious freedom, along with strengthening democratic institutions and protecting the vulnerable, should be priorities of any evangelical in politics.
Ziel Machado: A commitment to the justice and to the ethics of the kingdom of God as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount, especially in the Beatitudes. Furthermore, a hopeful realism that recognizes the reality of sin in history but also knows the power of love, the work of redemption, and the expectations of a new heaven and a new earth.
Jacira Monteiro: Social well-being and shalom (harmonious peace). Evangelicals must have, as God has, a special concern for justice and actions that benefit the most vulnerable. Evangelicals should especially be concerned about those that no one in the other spectra of society cares about.
Ricardo Barbosa: Commitment to the common good. It is not about the private good of each one but about what is common to all, such as education, health, safety, work, housing, food, or the environment. Some issues have become far more politically prominent in recent decades, especially those of a moral nature, like gender ideology, drugs, abortion, family.