Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Political Principles

In my quest to write my own statement of Political Principles, I have visited two respected Christian organizations who have made their own thinking clear. I think that both of these lists have much to ponder, and I am glad to have them as "conversation partners" in my quest to speak out with some clarity.

I have distilled their statements, and will now present them to you in a thumbnail sketch. I have provided links so you can read more.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Themes of Catholic Social Teaching (Abridged)
Full Text is Here
  1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
    The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
    We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
    Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
    A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring.
  5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
    The economy must serve people, not the other way around.
  6. Solidarity
    At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace.
  7. Care for God’s Creation
    We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation.

The National Association of Evangelicals
For the Health of the Nation:
An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility (Abridged)
Full Text Here

The Bible makes it clear that God cares a great deal about the well-being of marriage, the
family, the sanctity of human life, justice for the poor, care for creation, peace, freedom,
and racial justice. While individual persons and organizations are at times called by God
to concentrate on one or two issues, faithful evangelical civic engagement must champion
a biblically balanced agenda.

Humility and Civility
Christians must approach political engagement with humility and with earnest prayer for divine guidance and wisdom. Because power structures are often entrenched, perfect solutions are unobtainable. We will differ with other Christians and with non-Christians over the best policies. Thus we must practice humility and cooperation to achieve modest and attainable goals for the
good of society.

Representative Democracy
We support the democratic process in part because people continue to be sufficiently
blessed by God’s common grace that they can seek not only their own betterment, but
also the welfare of others.

Just government and fundamental liberty
God is the source of all true law and genuine liberty. But we also resist government when it exercises its power in an unjust manner (Acts 5:27-32) or tries to dominate other institutions in society.

We work to protect religious freedom and liberty of conscience
God has ordained the two co-existing institutions of church and state as distinct and
independent of each other with each having its own areas of responsibility (Rom. 13:1-7;
Mark 12:13-17; Eph. 4:15-16, 5:23-32). We affirm the principles of religious freedom
and liberty of conscience, which are both historically and logically at the foundation of
the American experiment.

We work to nurture family life and protect children
Government does not have the primary responsibility for guaranteeing wholesome family
life. That is the job of families themselves and of other institutions, especially churches.
But governments should understand that people are more than autonomous individuals;
they live in families and many are married.

We work to protect the sanctity of human life and to safeguard its nature
Because God created human beings in his image, all people share in the divine dignity.
And because the Bible reveals God’s calling and care of persons before they are born, the
preborn share in this dignity (Ps. 139:13).

We seek justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable
Jesus summed up God’s law by commanding us to love God with all that we are and to
love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:35-40). By deed and parable, he taught us that
anyone in need is our neighbor (Luke 10:29-37). Because all people are created in the
image of God, we owe each other help in time of need.

We work to protect human rights
In order to fulfill their God-given tasks, all people have a right to private property. God’s
design for human existence also implies a right to marry, enjoy family life, and raise and
educate children. While it is not the primary role of government to provide everything
that humans need for their well-being, governments are obligated to ensure that people
are not unjustly deprived of them and to strengthen families, schools, businesses,
hospitals, social-service organizations, and other institutions so they can contribute to
human welfare. At the same time, government must fulfill its responsibilities to provide
for the general welfare and promote the common good.

We seek peace and work to restrain violence
Jesus and the prophets looked forward to the time when God’s reign would bring about
just and peaceful societies in which people would enjoy the fruits of their labor without
interference from foreign oppressors or unjust rulers.

We labor to protect God’s creation
As we embrace our responsibility to care for God’s earth, we reaffirm the important truth
that we worship only the Creator and not the creation. God gave the care of his earth and
its species to our first parents. That responsibility has passed into our hands. We affirm
that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license
to abuse the creation of which we are a part.

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