‘Christian should impact the country through politics’ - Minister
"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
- Psalm 127 vs 1
he Seventh-day Adventist Church earlier this week distanced itself from Pastor Michael Harvey, who urged persons in Half-Way Tree on Sunday to rise up and vote for the People's National Party.
Considering Christians' high moral values and their dedication in seeking counsel from the Lord when it comes to major decisions, would it be so wrong to have spiritual leaders at the helm of the political process?
Family and Religion sought answers from Klent Elson, youth minister within the Mile End New Testament Church of God, St Ann, who pointed out that, over the years, the Church has developed a tradition which is based on their wisdom and understanding of the Bible.
"Hence, they do not support or urge people to become deeply entrenched in politics, and so you find that the Church in general will not openly support or urge its members to support a particular candidate or party," he said.
THE CHURCH'S RESPONSIBILITY
Elson, however, shared that churches have a responsibility to ensure that those under its leadership are alerted to political leaders who have good intentions and substance.
Elson is of the firm opinion that Christians should be involved in the political arena if that's where their interest lie.
"The Bible itself did not say it was forbidden. As a Christian, my conviction is that I should be the salt of the Earth. Salt is for preservation, and how can I impact my society and country and government at large if I am not involved in politics or have a contribution towards politics or the political arena?" he quipped.
The solution for Elson is to have some form of impact in the political arena, which, he said, will enable Godly qualities to influence all those Christians one come in contact with.
"I do not support the notion that as a Christian, you should not be involved because you will be spoilt. If that is the case, then you should not be involved in other aspects of society as politics is not the only 'corrupt' influence," he said.
According to Elson, a godly person's presence in and contribution to the political arena will enable unsaved leaders to be more cognisant of godly leadership.
CHRISTIAN LEADER'S JOB
"It is the job of Christian leaders to ensure that those around have a clear understanding of serving people. Being a political candidate, your first and foremost responsibility is to serve people, and what better example should they follow than Christ's. It was Christ who said, 'He came not to be served but to serve'. Politicians should be influenced by the Bible or from a Christian perspective in leading a nation," said Elson.
According to the youth minister, Jamaica has been referred to as a Christian nation time and time again, and this has Elson envisioning what it would be like to have a dream government.
"What if most of or all of our political leaders, whichever party is governing the nation, were sound, solid Christians? What would our nation be like today? I believe this is something that all of us would love to see in terms of the quality of life that every individual would be living. If our leaders were Christ-like, they would learn how to care and nurture the nation," he opined.
Addressing the 'hot topic', Elson said that as a minister, his job is not to promote or support or tell a member who to vote for.
"That is not my responsibility. It is rather to guide and teach them on the Bible," he said, adding that today's Government is not like in the days of Israel, where a prophet or priest would advise godly kings.
"Israel was a theocratic nation, which God was their ultimate government. Today, we live in a democratic society and people have their democratic right to support whomever they choose."