During the political season, Facebook blows up with people opining whether or not this candidate--or that candidate--truly represents the historic "Christian values" of America. Some candidates seemingly void of Christian faith in their personal lives suddenly begin courting and catering to Christians, claiming that they will represent them in the political world. Then, like clockwork, the anti-everything Christian crowd skewers those candidates by pointing out that "real Christians" would never own casinos, sell liquor, declare bankruptcy, etc... Suddenly, everyone seems to be an expert on all things Christian.
America needs a modern C.S. Lewis to remind Christians living in America about the true nature of our politics:
A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease. — C.S. LewisLewis believed that like digestion, politics is not everything, nor is it nothing. It's important, but it's not life itself. Politics is a practice that is necessary to protect and promote the temporary life God has provided for us on earth. The important principle for Lewis was that Christians ought remember politics has its limits. Lewis believed that the best Christian political thought and action was accomplished not by pastors wanting a "Christian America" but by Christian businessmen in business and Christian doctors in medicine, and Christian citizens in society, practicing the craft of politics by applying the Golden Rule to the ugliness of politics.
“The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish." - [C.S. Lewis, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," in God in the Dock, 292].Lewis believed that the best way for Christians in any nation to view politics and politicians was through the lens of natural law, what Lewis called the Tao (pronounced Dow). Lewis believed that the Tao (Chinese for "The Way") was a set of "natural laws" impressed on the heart of every human being. The Tao leads people to treat others with respect and dignity, to protect and provide for the defenseless, to resist oppression, and to pursue justice. The manner in which this is done may vary, but the moral principle, or Tao, abides within all men and all religions.
I am reading The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis, and in the appendix of this classic work, there is a thorough description of Lewis' Tao. In politics, Lewis argued that you ought to listen to the words and carefully observe the behaviors of those candidates running for office, for in the end, those who live their lives by natural law will be the only effective leaders in a sick society that is anti-everything Christian.
Unfortunately, we live in a day when young people only know Tao as a nightclub in Las Vegas and have never considered it as the laxative for the clogged and polluted politics of our day. And even worse, we live in a time when pastors don't even know Tao is a nightclub, nor do they know that in the sick society in which we live, it's more important to practice Tao in the race for office than it is to say you are a Christian.
Don't take my word for it; listen to Lewis.