Let’s Talk About Christians and Politics. by Rev. Wambui Njoroge, M.Sci.

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We say we are praying mostly for the government of USA, Kenya and Israel, but are we even sure or is this just comfortable rhetoric? In the Month of October 2019 alone, there were 2 events that fall in the political arena. I attended both: (1) Prayers for Salome Sandera who is vying for a City Seat in the City Government of Acworth, GA, Alderman District. By her own confession she is a born again Christian wife and mother.; (2) The second was Kenya Mashujaa Day organized by Eric Ericcson. Both were held in Marietta and Kennesaw respectively.  For Mashujaa day, Salome and Karen Gitau were guest speakers. Karen too is a born again Christian who even teaches Sunday School to children at Mt. Pyran Church of God. By the confession of her mouth she too is a born again Christian. So if we need to stand in prayer and in action, at least we have 2 Sisters in GA that we can count on. Yet these were the least attended events by believers who are always praying for governments. Four other of our ministers were there to support the prayer fellowship and that was great (Bishop Wamutitu,  Apostle Zephania, Apostle Kangangi who shared the venue and Pastor Peter who led Praise & Worship). Of course, I am aware that the candidates with their families have been canvassing to many individual events. I expected to see more people helping, not Sister Salome and Dr. Sandera serving tea and cleaning after the event. What kind of people have we become in Diaspora? But it also reminded me of the heart of a servant. Whoever is going to be great must become the servant of all. So this is my personal opinion. 

Like most of you reading this I have reservations when it comes to government. But during Prayers for Salome on Saturday October 12 a few of us sat and listened to Dr. Rev Joe Njoroge teach about why it is important for Christian to be involved in politics. The following are my notes which, I was taking as fast as I could write…wish I still remembered my shorthand to write verbatim. Professor Njoroge teaches Political Science (American Government) & Religion at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with The University System of Georgia. This is his 20th year with the USG. Also he has Authored a text book with a colleague entitled, “The Dynamics of Georgia Politics” 3rd Edition.  If you take his classes Online or on campus, it is a required reading text book.

Decisions and Policies: Christians should be involved in decisions and policies because they have great impact on all of us as believers. To demonstrate this fact he asked those present to take out wallets/ to find out how involved the government is in our lives. So we took out several things: Driver License, Social Security Card, Passport, Money and others that we had not carried should include: Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Divorce Papers, Death Certificates of loved ones, Adoption Papers, Vaccination Record for Schools, Mail addressed to your street number, Tax Filing Form 1040, 1099 for contracts and part time staff, self employment and also state sales receipts showing tax on each purchase. And though not included, Registration papers for Churches and ministries with the Secretary of State…The majority of our Children and Youth attend State/Federal supported schools including the curriculum.  It shows that from Birth, childhood, adolescents, adulthood and till the end of life the fact is government is involved in our lives. Like it or not, it is what it is. (We didn’t have time get into outward forces like Police Protection, Interstate System, Immigration, FDA making sure our foods and prescriptions are safe, Military and all that security we enjoy in the USA while we sleep and continue to work in safety). 

Politics is a Dirty Game: How can we then stay away from government? How can we continue to call it a dirty game?  is it really? Politics is a dirty game that is how most believers describe it and discourage many from running for various positions. When you do run either here or in Kenya, wanakutenga kabisa.  They refuse to support your compaign…they say we are praying for you but it is doubtful. If it was in here in South GA you would hear,  talk is just that “Put your money where your mouth is” and if it was the GOP or DNC, they will not allow you to even volunteer to knock on doors for a cause you don’t believe in. If you believe in their cause, they say you have to chip in at least $3. Yaani, even to complete a survey, sometimes it will not be submitted if you don’t chip in $3. So when you run for a political office Christians kind or ostracize believers, especially ministers and Bishops who have political aspirations. They call it abandoning the ministry.  Lakini wakishinda wako na marafiki tele. Wale Wakristo watakuita Mheshimiwa or Honorable so and so. That is so fake as some  will seize the moment and take a photo with Hon whoever. 

Political Power: Dr. J as he said his students call him because they have a tough time pronouncing two consonants following each other NJ…, simply defined politics as: Who Gets What, When, and How. Now that was easy. Following this reasoning then, Politics is about resources that are available. In any nation, including USA, we have limited resources but the demand is unlimited. As a result there is competition for these resources and it is inevitable for there to be conflict. This is the area where the use of unethical or immoral means might occur, or does occur. The role of government, therefore, is to make authoritative decisions regarding who gets what. Government does not naturally occur. It is created by society. As a result, in society we select official decision makers, who are vested with authority and power to make authoritative decisions on behalf of the citizens. Do you see now why it is important for Christians to participate in government? Imagine who is making our decisions as Christians? Do they have our best interests in their heads and hearts? How can we ensure there is consideration for our family, faith and values when these decisions are made?

Legitimate Right: Those who are vested with authority and power to make decisions,  therefore, have legitimate right. They are our representatives in a democracy, which USA is the best approximation. Then we as citizens we vet and vote for a few individuals who are sent to the seat of the government to represent the rest of us. Because of the rigor in which this selection is made, only a few people make it to the seat of the government. Once they are seated, how they use the authority and power vested in them by the majority matters. They get into the government system (read about how systems and how they interact for yourself). It is here where they can be used to bring about the greatest changes that affect all of us in the community of faith and community at large. Don’t forget that the positions they take are paid by tax payers money.

Men and Women in the Seat of the Government: It takes courage to get into government. The good men and women when in government contribute to a Just Rule. But what happens if they are corrupt? Have you heard the phrase, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely? These words were written in a letter by the 19th Century British Politician Lord Acton. The letter was sent to an Anglican Bishop in the 1800s. The phrase conveys the meaning that; as a person’s power increases, their moral sense diminishes. An example is given of Roman Emperors who declared themselves gods, or Napolean Bonaparte who declared himself an emperor. It is important for citizens to make sure by voting the right people, that no one greedy person has unlimited power. From these examples, it is important for Christian to participate in politics. Christians provide a moral compass for such a time like this. Now you can understand why it is near impossible to reach your friends on the telephone who got rich, famous, and powerful in any arena, even in the faith community. As their power and authority increases, it gets in their heads. Perhaps only Jesus our Masters teacher and his disciples escaped this phenomenon.

Scripture: Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked men rules, the people groan.” And one time in July at a Kenya Summit,  a Kenya politician was asked how come politicians are corrupt? Her answer resonates with me. There are no corrupt politicians without corrupt citizens. Another question was: Why do politicians switch parties? Answer:  You sign up with the party that you believe has a great likelihood of winning an election. So politicians just like marathon runners, are running to win. Next time we get together to pray for the government, remember to consider supporting men and women who love the Lord and have a calling to participate in policy making. 

Got Georgia On My Mind: Kennesaw has Karen Gitau and Acworth has Salome Sadera.

 Early voting ends on Friday November 1. Then on Tuesday November 5, if you are eligible to vote, I suggest you:

PRAY: For the candidates, for wisdom and protection, for the cities (Jeremiah 29:7). Pray for the peace of the city where you live…

DO: Plan to Drive there and encourage others – families, friends, mothers and fathers, neighbiors and your work associates.

GO: Vote your conscience.

By the way the local positions for City Council are non partisan. So no one needs to worry about switching parties and fighting with friends over party politics. In these local politics you don’t necessarily have to take sides. I like this aspect.  Am just saying there is no excuse not to vote your conscience.

Voting: Don’t just say you are voting on your knees. It is a democracy not a theocracy. This time only real ballot/votes stand to be counted. GA has made the process easier than the last 2 years and it takes less time. Well there is time for Christians to pray and prayer is our first line of defense. And there is time to go and do the right thing. Back to the Mothers running in North Georgia – To recognize their bold statements in declaring and running for a political office in their counties, on Mashujaa Day both Women received Awards for “Brave Heart Mom” Should they win, then they will have a lot of friends…Thanks to the few believers who showed up for prayer and even fewer who showed up for Mashujaa Day.  Due to conflict of interest I cannot be allowed take Professor Joe classes. I feel like I just did. Judging myself, I have passed with an “A”  So I am equally grateful he took time to expound on this important issue. Next time that is in 4 years we will do better. There is always room for improvement. 

That my fellow Christians is the reason why we need men and women of integrity in government. Get more righteous people to participate in politics.

With Best Wishes for all candidates running for government seats on November 5.

Email/revwambuifavored@gmail.com

Rev Wambui Njoroge

Senior Columnist

Kenyan Parents In USA

BOARD MEMBER C.O.D.U.

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