Should Christians Spend Money on Politics?

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Some of my Christian friends give large sums of money to political candidates and causes. Should Christians spend so much money on politics, especially since it seems like trying to buy your way into power or to get your way?

It’s hard to deny that the amount of money spent on political campaigns in North America has gotten out of hand. Each election cycle sets new records for political spending, and we keep hearing of the influence of “dark money” on politics. Political advertising is so prevalent it numbs the mind. Much of it is negative and pushes (or crosses) the bounds of truthfulness.

Christians, just like everybody else, can mistake money-wielding for power. Sending in contributions—large or small—makes us feel as if we shifted the outcome. Little do we consider how we end up participating in the monstrous affront to stewardship that is the election system itself—a wasteful system that sadly still disenfranchises tens of thousands of people and frequently warps candidates and issues so they are barely recognizable. How many Americans are proud of the elections looming in a month’s time versus how many are dreading them, praying fervently that they will transpire with minimal problems and will give clear and hopeful results?

Christians should be judicious and thoughtful in their giving to political candidates and causes. Avoid like the plague those that use underhanded or misleading tactics. Christians should not hide their support or mask their giving so as to mislead about who is sponsoring legislation or underwriting a candidate. Above all, Christians should never equate money with political power and should support candidates and issues by other means when possible—advocacy, action, and encouragement. And it would be wonderful if Christians became strong advocates for fair, fully franchised elections.

About the Author

Rolf Bouma is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church who teaches religion, ethics, and ecology in the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan.

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