Civic Scholar

Throughout the history of the United States, many influential politicians have been Christian.

According to a Pew Research Center study, more than four in 10 Americans believe that the United States should be considered a Christian nation. According to the same study, a third of Americans expressed that being in a Christian nation involves the general guidance of Christian beliefs and values in society.

The religious composition of the 118th U.S. Congress reflects these statistics with almost 88% of the members of Congress identifying as Christian, according to the Pew Research Center. Just over 6% identified as Jewish and almost 4% identified as “refused,” and other religious affiliations such as Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and others made up less than 1% each.

Regardless of these statistics, however, the percentage of publicly professing Christians in the United States is declining.

The Pew Research Center projects that by 2070, professing Christians will likely make up less than half of the U.S. population. Liberty University Helms School of Government professor Aaron Van Allen served in the U.S. Congress for 10 years working for Rep. Benjamin Cline (VA-6) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-6). 

Van Allen said that his approach to being a Christian in politics is centered around the gospel and Jesus’ life.

“Being civically engaged is a calling by God. When I think of Christians being engaged in politics, I think of people looking to vote values based on the gospel,” Van Allen said.

Van Allen emphasized the importance of recognizing that there are worldviews other than our own.

“Just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” Van Allen said. “You have to understand that there are various viewpoints outside of our biblical Christian worldview that people adhere to. As Christians, I think it’s our responsibility to be extraordinarily well-educated.”

The Christian response to these views, according to Van Allen, should also be reflective of the life and character of Jesus.

“I think that today in the political world, people believe that if you’re not standing up and screaming all of the time, you’re not really fighting,” Van Allen said. “I was always inspired by Ronald Reagan, because I think he really emulates what Jesus does in the gospel.”

Van Allen talked about how while Jesus did show righteous anger, we as Christians shouldn’t go around flipping tables just to make ourselves seem louder.

“There’s times that the Pharisees test (Jesus) and the scriptures say, ‘Jesus departed’; he didn’t say anything — he just moved along,” Van Allen said. “Seasons and timing are everything. All of those things that are vitally important in politics, Jesus emulates in the Gospel.”

Christians are able to get involved in politics by learning more about the political process, volunteering on a political campaign or even getting firsthand experience by running for a local office such as a school board or city council. 

With the presidential primary election in Virginia quickly approaching on March 5, voters should continue doing research on each candidate to decide which candidate emulates and supports their personal values and biblical principles.

The first day of in-person early voting at local registrar’s offices was Jan. 19, and the deadline to register to vote for the primary is Feb. 12, though voters may register after this date using a provisional ballot.

The current 2024 Republican primary candidates are Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, and the Democratic primary candidates are Joe Biden, Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson.

Smith is the news editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X

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