Politics and Presidential Elections in the Church: Taboo, Right, or Duty?

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In Fount of Peace Mennonite Brethren Church, the presidential elections were a subject that was brought up in different spaces and in different ways. Not campaigning politically for any candidate, but rather emphasizing the role that the church has in this process, and remembering that as Colombians, voting is not only a right, but also a duty that we should fulfill.

I was chatting about this topic with Katerine Jaramillo, a youth from the church, and she says, “The electoral movement for the presidency of the republic was developed with little motivation and participation by the Fount of Peace Mennonite Brethren Church. The majority were skeptical or undecided, and one of the church members publicly demonstrated that he or she felt demoralized in exercising the right to vote.”

While speaking with Katerine, we agreed it isn’t a secret that for many Christian churches, politics is a taboo topic. That church life shouldn’t be mixed with politics and that is it something that is separated from us as children of God. For Katerine, however, there exists another reason for the lack of participation. “To tell the truth, among faithful members there is an impartiality and a desire not to delve into political issues, thus losing objectivity and the importance of their intervention, so that shows disinterest and lack of political education, with some views that ‘politics have nothing to do with spiritual matters’.”

Some Christian churches have led their members to believe that politics shouldn’t be mixed with the church, and I have heard some people use Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” as justification for this position. Part of that, of the prejudice that people have, of that idea, of that teaching, or even that discord between members of the congregation, has led to not having much participation.

This is not an easy issue to deal with; each member has a different perspective, just as some faithfully support a candidate, and also there are those who want to exercise their right to vote but don’t know who to vote for. There are those who are impartial and try not to take one side or the other, and finally those who are disinterested in the topic.

“It should be clarified that some, although few, are very conscious of their commitment to participate despite negative comments.” Despite it being a difficult subject, it is a topic that is spoken about within the congregation, and is spoken about without fear, each one having his or her opinion about the candidates and politics.

If there is anything that church agrees on, it is that we all hope that God rules the heart of the candidate that is elected president. And before any man, we put our trust in God and daily ask Him to take control of the country.

By Simon Martinez and Katerina Jaramillo

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