Engaging GovernmentsOctober 30, 2013
Several recent stories show the importance of engaging with governmental powers. Daniel Carro, who is originally from Argentina (and who I have met through my work with Churchnet and the Baptist World Alliance), wrote an Ethics Daily column earlier this month on the efforts by Argentine Baptists to advocate for religious liberty. He noted a successful effort to create more freedom in public schools for non-Catholic students. Although the effort that highlights the historic belief by Baptists that church and state should remain separate, it shows that separating church and state does not mean Christians should withdraw from the state. In a different effort, Colleen Burroughs, the founder of a humanitarian and advocacy organization (Watering Malawi), met last month with the president of the nation her group works in. Burroughs, who grew up as a missionary kid in Malawi, recounted the experience of meeting Malawi President Joyce Banda. Such an encounter may help open even more doors for future work. Outlining several similar efforts, the July-September issue of Baptist World magazine focused on politically-engaged Baptists. Among the stories told are those of Baptists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Bahamas. Although some Baptists in the U.S. often work to unite church and state by flexing their political muscle, these efforts in other nations provide a different model for governmental engagement. Perhaps Baptists in the U.S. could learn from their brothers and sisters in other nations where Baptists exist as a minority faith.