Mick Huckabee may or may not become the president of the United States of America. However, Huckabee’s very candidature poses a few questions on Christians and politics. Should a Christian, especially an Ordained Pastor enter politics? How will it impact the Christian community? Ajoy Varghese, CEO of a Multinational Company, Co-Pastor of a Church and one of the founding members of Sakshi answers these questions.
Sakshi: Should an Ordained Minister like Mick Huckabee run for the presidential election? What does the Bible teaches about it? Of course, Christians ought to be in politics but what about ordained ministers?
Ajoy Varghese (AV): In the New Testament, institutionally & denominationally ordained Christian ministers (as ordination is practiced today) were non-existent and so there was no limits to what a 'minister' could do or not do for a vocation. The Apostle Paul was a tent-maker at some points and a financially supported missionary at others. However, he was always an apostle -which was not his vocation but his calling. You can have a calling to be an apostle and a vocation of being a tentmaker. The idea "once a Christian church minister, always a Christian church minister" is a construct of the church and does not find its roots in Scripture. There's nothing in Scripture that stops Huckabee from running for President.
Sakshi: If Mick Huckabee wins as the President of America (or as Vice President with John McCain as the President), what impact do you think that it will have on the inter-religious dialogs/debates? In the sense, will the Christian community be viewed as speaking from a position of power rather than from a position of vulnerability?
Ajoy: If Huckabee wins, then he should first of all see himself as a God-ordained representative of all people in the US (including those who did not vote for him) and always speak for all people and not become the spokesman for the church or any other institution. It’s a tough call but it can be done, I presume. He could speak from a position of both power (this is inevitable if you are the US Prez) and vulnerability but he should first of all speak from a position of responsibility as the steward of God's most precious resource – people. He must be known for his competence and care rather than for harping on his religious & ideological opinions. His religious opinions will be tested by his conduct and decisions by the American public and the rest of the world. If he comes through it, he will stand in the lineage of people like President Abraham Lincoln, who despite severe limitations is always looked up to for his authentic depth of character. Also, he must never use God's name to justify his actions but rather use public discourse and honest reason to do so.
Sakshi: Apostle Paul writes that 'all things are lawful for me but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me but not all things edify' (1 Corinthians 10:23). From this perspective, is it helpful if a pastor becomes a president of a secular nation?
Ajoy: "For me" suggests that Paul was talking about individual decisions and perspectives. It’s a particular question that Huckabee himself can answer and must not be generalized and made into a universal principle .
Sakshi: What should be a Christian looking at a political candidate, whether in US or in India?
Ajoy: It was Luther who said "I'd rather be ruled by an competent Turk than an incompetent Christian". I tend to agree.
Sakshi: What should be the responsibility of a Christian as a citizen?
Ajoy: Submit to the law of the land and serve the people of country. However, always remember that loyalty to Christ is above and if necessary over-rules all other authority.