Plain Politics

| July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sometimes Plain News gets a letter to the editor that says something like the following: “Dear Plain News: Thank you for the recent article, but I am concerned that Plain News may be catering too much to the liberal side of politics.”

Other times, Plain News gets a letter to the editor that states something like this: “Dear Plain News: Thank you for the recent article, but I sense that that article has too much conservative political bias.”

So, which is it? Is Plain News liberal or conservative? Republican-leaning or Democrat-catering? Neither? Both?
Let us tell you where we stand on some issues, and you decide if we are political liberals or conservatives. The following positions are held by all current writers and editors of Plain News articles and reports:

  • Abortion is sin.
  • Not receiving and aiding foreigners is sin.
  • Negligently destroying the environment is sin.
  • Marriage is between one man and one woman for life.
  • Nationalism is typically rooted in selfishness and often leads to unnecessary conflicts around the world.
  • Trying to change one’s gender is sin.
  • Racism is sin.
  • If marijuana is used, it should be used for medicinal purposes only.
  • Jesus should be King of everyone’s life.
  • The rich should help the poor, and their lifestyles should not be drastically different from those of the poor around them.
  • Individuals should be able to make their own health choices, while showing respect for others who make different health choices.
  • People should drive at reasonable and prudent speeds based on government guidance, and they should not need police and fines to keep them in line.
  • Those who endanger the lives of others deserve punishment by civil government

So, which are we? Democrats? Republicans? Green Party? Libertarian Party? Kanye West’s Birthday Party? (And, yes, that last one is a new political party being formed by West, a famous rap musician.)

As can be noted, we at Plain News are hopelessly lost in trying to find a political party that supports our views. “Of course,” you may say, “no party is going to support the idea of Jesus being King of everyone.” Not so! Kanye West has openly promoted that idea! Are we then running after his Birthday Party? Of course not.

So, what if we would decide to cast the lot among the Plain News writers and editors and pick someone whom we could support with the perfect platform. One of us would run for President of the United States. Another would run for Vice-President. And a third would take the next open seat on the Supreme Court if we could get a President elected.

Hopefully, you would still avoid politics like the plague, even if the above option was on the ballot. We at Plain News do not vote, nor do we promote any party or platform as the answer to the problems in the U.S. And we will not begin to promote political involvement, even if the perfect candidate should arise. So, how is it that readers can come to the conclusion that a certain article or writer is a “Republican supporter” or a “Democrat supporter”?

Dividing soul and spirit

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” To be honest, to try to explain the difference between the soul of man and the spirit of man may be more than what we at Plain News are capable of, especially in a short article like this one. Bones and marrow, yes, maybe we could pull that one off; but soul and spirit?

We are going to try, though, to divide between when one article is too political, and when another very similar article is not political. Bear with us as we sharpen our swords for the task.

Who agrees with who?

First of all, all of the workers at Plain News are in unanimous agreement that—referencing the above list—abortion is a terrible sin that should not be once seen in a society. So, does that statement make us Republicans, most of whom would agree with that statement? In other words, are we agreeing with the Republican platform? Or, are the Republicans in agreement with a position that we hold?

If we agree with and support the Republican platform, then we become political partisans. But if we simply hold a position regardless of what any political party says, we are not involving ourselves in politics, even if we would write a scathing article about the evil of abortion in society.

The same would apply to the other positions that we hold. We support the idea that foreigners are to be treated kindly and are to be helped as they come into our communities. Exodus 22:21 tells us, “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (The word stranger would perhaps be better translated as foreigner in current English.) Kindness to foreigners was considered a fundamental character trait of God’s people in the Old Testament, a standard of righteousness that Jesus strengthened, not weakened. Matthew 25:31-43 tells what will happen to those who do not take in strangers (foreigners). You know the teaching, and you know that you do not want to “go away into everlasting punishment” for refusing to help strangers (foreigners).

So, does this make us Democrats? Or is it simply that Democrats happen to support a position that we hold? Again, if we are taking this position because Democrats support these ideas, we are simply political adherents. But if we hold this position regardless of political platforms, we are not guilty of political involvement, even if we would write an article that opposes keeping out foreigners.

How do we move men?

We at Plain News hold positions that we feel are biblical, then we write and edit articles to promote these views, be they about abortion (like a Republican might), aiding foreigners (like a Democrat might), responsibly taking care of the environment (like a Green Party person might), making our own health choices (like a Libertarian might), or calling people to accept Jesus as their King (like a Birthday Party person might). But this is the point where the politics can start or end. If, after we have preached/taught men what we see as the righteousness of God, where do we go from there?

In the kingdom of God, we teach/preach, then we leave men to make their decision. No force is used. God does not, and will not, force men into His kingdom. If we enter the kingdom, it is by our own free choice, out of love to Him.

Politics, on the other hand, also tries to persuade men, just like we do. It may be through articles, books, TV ads, podcasts, or other means. But it does not stop there. From that point, politicians also seek power/force to make everyone conform to their viewpoint. In representative democracies, either people run for an office, or they vote for someone who will make laws and rules that will force others to conform to their view. A Republican, for example, may make a law that limits abortion. A Democrat will try to make immigration easier, and a Green Party adherent will try to make a new National Park somewhere.

Once these people have managed to somehow get enough power to make the laws conform to their view, they then begin to force others to toe the line they have created. It may be with fines or jail sentences, or in rougher political climates, it may be with a rifle to the head.

Why is politics so enticing?

You can imagine why political involvement is so enticing to human nature. You get more visible results! You can make a law, for example, that mandates that everyone wear a mask to halt the spread of a virus. Then you can exact fines on everyone who does not want to submit. Soon, most people will be wearing one … at least on the outside. In their heart, though, they may be despising the person who is forcing them to do what they do not really want to do.

There is a saying in the military world that goes something like this: You have not won the war, until you have won the hearts of the people. When a military conquers an area, but does not conquer the hearts of the people, they will often have to patrol the streets and suffer the loss of men to ambushment or snipers, until all the opponents have been killed or scared into submission. But even if they quit resisting out of fear of punishment, the opponents may still be snarling in their hearts … and the war is not won until the snarling stops.

Separation of church and state

In the Old Testament, the church and the state were united in the kingdom of Israel. But in one of the wisest moves ever made by a monarch, Jesus separated the church from the state when He planted His kingdom on earth at His first coming. In His kingdom, men would serve Him happily and stand before him rejoicing, to hear His wisdom. If someone is not ready to serve Him happily and willfully, then that person has to find another kingdom to live in. By default, this is the kingdom of darkness, where men serve Satan, self, and the flesh, even if they do not really want to. Satan’s kingdom operates through fear and punishment, threats and revenge. Even if you really do not want to serve him, he will not willingly release you.

Not so with Jesus! So, you do not want to submit to His righteousness? He will not force you to stay in His kingdom. He will plead as you walk away, but He will not force anyone to serve Him. So it is that many people make a start in the kingdom of God, but when the enticements of the flesh and self allure, they choose to walk away from the kingdom of Christ … and Christ will let them go, because He only wants service out of freewill love in His kingdom.

And that is exactly why politics and the kingdom of God are incompatible. You cannot mix freewill love and force. They are opposites, just like light and darkness. Jesus operates His kingdom on the one, Satan on the other.

Let us restate that clearly once more, and if you do not understand what is meant, please ponder this until you do: The kingdom of God is incompatible with politics, because the kingdom of God only operates on freewill love, not force.

Why does God allow civil governments?

This question has a very simple answer. Not everyone—in fact, very few are—is willing to give up the right to control their own life and submit to Jesus and love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. So, if only 1% of the people in the world do this, what about the 99% who choose to go their own way? These 99% would wreak absolute havoc on Earth, because every man would be striving for his own good, disregarding others. If there were no restrictions on these people, life on earth would dissolve into total anarchy (a word that means “no ruler”).

To prevent society from totally dissolving into chaos, God allows and ordains that civil governments form. These civil governments must use force to control people, since they are unwilling to voluntarily submit. Can you imagine a society in which there were no speed limits? No laws against stealing? No laws against killing?

Two kingdoms

For this reason, God has ordained that there be civil governments, and why some people call the separation of church and state “two kingdom theology.” The first kingdom is that of Christ, who calls people to voluntarily submit to His righteousness. Those who do so will then live in voluntary harmony with each other (even if it is imperfect while the people grow into the character and nature of Christ).

Meanwhile, the civil governments of Earth are commissioned to keep the rest of society in basic order. They make laws, enforce them, and punish those who resist enforcement. In all cases in history so far, not a single civil government has made laws that totally conform to the character of Christ, although some governments have adopted some of Christ’s teachings.

Keep them separate!

We at Plain News strongly advocate and teach that those who name the name of Christ keep Christ’s kingdom and the civil government’s separated. Freewill love and force do not and cannot mix, and we only make a royal mess if we try to do so. A thousand years of royal mess testify to us from the pages of Middle Age history, when the church and the state tried to reunite. Live the character of Jesus! Speak openly and freely to your neighbors, and call them to repentance and new life. But leave the force, punishment, and political striving to the civil governments of this world.

Our articles

So, we hope that you can understand that we may write articles that support positions that Republicans, Democrats, and other political affiliations promote. Let us say it this way: We do not support our positions because a certain political party does; we support them in spite of the fact that a certain political party supports them. In spite of the fact that Republicans are against abortion, Plain News is also against abortion, and we will continue to be against abortion even if Republicans change their stance in the future. Many Republicans have embraced divorce and remarriage, and many are starting to condone same-sex relationships. We do not intend to change our beliefs about any of these matters.

Our articles will always promote respect for the current governing administration, regardless of the political affiliations and decisions of this administration. But don’t equate this respect with complete agreement with the administration. The Bible commands Christians to respect and pray for those in authority, but it does not command agreement. It is possible to respect the authority of a government without endorsing their actions or ideology.

Meanwhile, keep the letters to the editor coming. And feel free to challenge us if you see us slipping into supporting a position just because a political party does. It is easy for any of us to think we are being non-political, when in fact in the recesses of our heart we may be trying to move men in the world or in the church for political purposes.

Our writers tend to write about topics that interest them or topics that our subscribers request. If we expose an evil or injustice in the world, or write about an organization with unchristian principles, it does not mean we support those who are attacking that organization. We are simply making readers aware of something they might not have known about the organization. The goal is to inform and encourage our fellow Christians to avoid being caught up in a movement that does not follow Christian principles.

Thank you to all who have written. This article is not meant to “get back” at those who have questioned us or our political affiliation. It is trying to explain why we do what we do. Thank you for listening, and feel free to ask if we have not made things clear.

-The Plain News writers and editors

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