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Talking Religion and Politics without Getting Co-opted

Anybody but me notice that this is an election year? I have loved politics since I was a kid; one of my first and favorite books was a little Cold War classic called Being an American Can Be Fun.

But it's an odd thing. The church—where we're supposed to be fearless; where we're supposed to challenge people on sin, and be prophetic, and face martyrdom—the church is also the place where we're told, "Don't talk about politics!" Or at least we're told that in the kind of churches where I grew up. Other traditions are different. In the African-American church, for instance, for decades church was the one place where politics could be safely talked about; leaving a legacy that is reverberating pretty loudly this year.

Here's the problem: politics is an important sphere of human activity, and as such God is keenly interested in it. It was the Dutch theologian and politician (why don't we have more of those?) Abraham Kuyper who famously said, "There is not one inch of creation about ...

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