The Role of Faith in Foreign Policy
The editors of the journal Providence recently crafted “A Christian Declaration of American Foreign Policy.” Dozens of scholars, theologians, political scientists, historians, policy analysts, retired military officers and former policymakers have signed the declaration. The document not only raises important issues; it raises some important questions for people of faith: Is our country’s foreign policy of interest to Christians? Does it affect our witness and the way we live out our faith?
These issues and these questions are important because America’s role in the world affects all of us; because as Christians and Americans (in that order), we carry a special burden and a special responsibility in the world; because, to paraphrase a famous adage, whether or not we’re interested in death-wish dictators, radicalized regimes, murderous movements, failing states and rising powers, they’re interested in us.
Foreign policy is not off-limits to people of faith, and our faith should inform our views on foreign policy. Although they “do not presume to speak for all Christians,” the declaration’s authors contend that “Christians who take seriously the roles assigned by God to the church and the state, and who value the equal importance of justice and ordered liberty, should not be silent.”
Some believers may disagree, but the Lord encourages His people to enter the public square. There’s always a risk of distorting the ancient texts when viewing them through our modern sensibilities. Even so, it’s true that Joseph served as prime minister of Egypt. Moses publicly argued that God’s people had a right to assemble and worship. King David served as a political and military leader. Queen Esther used her political position to rescue God’s people from a holocaust. Paul was embroiled in the Roman legal system and spoke at government assemblies.
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