Don't Get Political?

What makes an issue a "political issue"?

As a missions organization, we try to stay away from "political issues."  We have other priorities and believe that the deepest change in lives and the world doesn't come through the political process.

Are "political issues" the issues that are of lesser importance?
Are "political issues" the issues that don't directly relate to religion?
Are "political issues" the issues that divide people and could hurt popularity?
Are "political issues" the issues that politicians talk about?

Our InterVarsity chapters engage with issues of sex trafficking and income inequalities as an element of our evangelistic Proxe Stations.  Check out this video to see what some InterVarsity chapters are doing: OSU Price of Life Summary.

Are these political issues fair game?

InterVarsity filed an amicus brief in a US Supreme Court case last summer, advocating for the court to allow InterVarsity groups to "exclude from membership students who refuse to sign a statement of faith and adhere to the tenet that sexual activity should not occur outside of marriage between a man and a woman."  The gay community sees this exclusion as discriminatory.  Read more about the case here: Court Limits Campus Ministry.

Is this a political issue?

What about immigration and it's accompaniments?  The Dream Act had the potential to radically reshape our college campuses and impact generations of young people.  Current students prayed.  Potential students held their breath.  Last winter it collapsed.  This summer, it's being reintroduced to Congress.

What will InterVarsity do with political issues like this?

How do we decide when to get political?


  1. Steve, how would GCF have responded if I had a boyfriend - no sex - while I was Worship Team Leader?

  2. Most of us probably would have objected, but for different reasons.

    Some would have objected because they didn't believe in the possibility of a "no sex boyfriend." This would either reveal a quirk in their belief about dating (dating = sex) or a misunderstanding of same-sex-attraction.

    Some would have objected because of the possibility of misunderstanding (ie. you're setting people up to think you're a hypocrite even if you're not). "We don't want people to be turned away from the gospel because of some misunderstanding." We should give up freedoms in the pursuit of our mission, but we need to be careful not to use this rationale as a cudgel for cultural conformity.

    I probably would have had some questions about the purpose of the relationship. What's the point of a dating relationship that's not exploring marriage? What do you get from this relationship that you don't get from friendship?

    What sort of response do you think you would have gotten?

  3. I'm reminded of a comment that I think was made by Justo Gonzalez, "To be apolitical is to be political, because it means a vote for the status quo."

  4. Eric, I don't remember that quote, but I like it. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. I think all of those responses would have happened; in fact, I expect they would, because they all happened when I came out.
    The response I'm getting now as this news leaks is caution: "After having talked to you, this sounds okay, but we're going to keep an eye on it."

  6. Steve,

    Justo Gonzalez has a great section on being "apolitical" on pp83-84 of his book "Mañana"