Religion Contains Excellent Politics. The Government is Non-Religious.

There’s a reason why people who go to church regularly are more conservative than others [in America]. On the one hand, “biblical thought” is, according to political scientists, a major American political language (Abbott). So when people are talking religion, there are stands of political discourse to be heard. On the other hand, Christianity’s messiah spoke about the relationship with the heavenly Father and the government—there is no such relationship.

Clear evidence is instruction to not mix government with religion is in the Bible. Allow me to quote Romans 13: 1-7.

Submit to Government: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority but from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.[1]

Versus along a similar line are found in Titus, 1 Timothy, and 1 Peter. I could hypothesize that, a priori, God’s Kingdom contains the useful mechanisms to solve the puzzle of utopia and to prevent dystopia. I’m not going to do that, though.

America is a Christian nation, for equality under the rule of law exists, but that does not make America a Christian government. Prima facie, Americans are unequivocally opposed to theocratic governments. There is Iran, for example. The idea of a caliphate as a government is chilling to American political culture. Surely, Christians are not hypocrites.

Christ’s teachings initiate cultural demands to solve for collective action problems (e.g., feed the poor, heal the sick, help Samaritans, educate the masses, hold stones, and on). For example, do good and no evil, treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself—but be better than that, you know. Importantly, the government does not necessarily have to be the mechanism to solve collective action problems. On the other hand, the people have to choose people to solve their collective action problems (e.g., an accountable government), and, the people have to pay the entrepreneur for their services (e.g., a tax).

As a student of political science [and of political languages], I understand that the evidence suggests that more religious people are more conservative (and tend to vote Republican). But what I want to know is: Are regular church goers more conservative because they want limited government; or, are they talking about the mechanisms Christ might advocate to solve today’s collective action problems [or both]? Who can survey or experiment with this?

Political science research in this area would be useful–from a cultural perspective.


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