Saturday, June 21, 2014


   Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to a conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The goal of the conference was to teach us (the attendees) how the Farm Bureau worked and how it interacted with the state government. All the kids were split into different groups based on interests (dairy, beef, swine, or equine) and then those groups sent several members into the conference 'House of Representatives'. This house was supposed to act as the embodiment of the PA House of Representatives and I was chosen to be one of those representatives. It was a fascinating experience simply by being able to experience how government worked and how bills are passed. It also showed me how government can help or harm its people. However, neither of those thing were at the front of my mind; instead, I was most focusing on how and if my faith should be involved with my choices.
   Some people might read that last sentence and be confused. "Of course your faith should affect how you live," they might say, "otherwise you don't really believe it." On that point I would agree. However, I come from a denomination that believes strongly in separation of church and state, because whenever the state mixes with the church things tend to get ugly. On that point I also strongly agree. Thirdly, when writing bills that affect those of different faiths, it is crucial from a political viewpoint to keep religion out of the mindset so that all can have free rights to practice their religion (unless it harms another person).
   Thus, I was faced with a dilemma: Do I allow my faith to dictate the ethics I use to write the bills? or Do I set my faith's ethics aside in order to make a choice which is best for the state?
   Something that I found most fascinating was what happened at the beginning of every session: there was the Pledge of Allegiance and an Invocation. Because of aforementioned separation of church and state beliefs, this prayer at the beginning of every session made me slightly uncomfortable. Prayer that God will direct our leaders is all well and good, but should the leader's be asking God's blessing if they are not willing to follow his will? And should a country follow God's will, would that country still be able to survive? And should following God be the wrong choice for a nation, would it be sound for the nation's leaders to follow the ethics of God?
   The other thing done at the start of the session, as stated above, was the Pledge of Allegiance. This action also has theological implications. Christians are called to serve God above the state. We are to respect the state and honor its leaders, but not to be loyal to it above all others. As such, is it blasphemy to pledge allegiance to the state? Are not Christians born into the Kingdom of God, which is a kingdom separate from the kingdoms of this world?
   I could go on, but I'm pretty sure you either understand my dilemma or are bored of my asking questions which you find pointless. Thus, I shall end by stating how I solved my dilemma: I performed my duties as a member of the House. I did that which was best for the state, and left my theological ethics for personal matters, embracing a different set of ethics for the bills I proposed. How did I reconcile this? Well, it's all basically a big game and I wasn't truly enacting any laws. Had this been real politics, my decisions would have been majorly different or, at least, I would have spent a lot more time deliberating over the decision.

What do you think of my dilemma? Can you see my struggle or do you think I was over complicating the situation? Leave a comment below and thank you very much for reading.

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