April 2012 – You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? Matthew 5:13
Jesus is involved in politics!
Such a statement is shocking for many Christians, but for Neil Mammen, a computer engineer who also has an apologetics and evangelization ministry called No Blind Faith, it is simply the truth and the title of his new book.
Many Christians who earnestly love God also earnestly disagree about whether or not believers should be involved in politics. Even those who do believe Christians should be involved often disagree about how that should be done.
Mammen is convinced, however, that Christian involvement in politics is critical to America's future, not only for the well-being of Western Civilization, but also for the preaching of the Gospel.
The subtitle to the book – Why Arent You? Why Isnt Your Church? – makes it clear that Mammen is intent on holding the feet of uninvolved Christians close to the fire. In fact, it is clear that he holds politically aloof evangelical Christians especially responsible for the cultural state of our nation.
"There are 60 million adult evangelicals in America, but some 24 million of those are not even registered to vote," Mammen told AFA Journal. "Thats 40% of evangelicals."
The non-involvement gets even worse. "Of the 36 million who are registered to vote, a sizeable number don't bother to actually vote," he said. "In 2006 only 20.5 million evangelicals voted."
If a calculator isn't handy, Mammen does the math for you. "That means there are 39 million nonvoting evangelicals out there. This doesn't even include Catholics," he said. "Imagine if tomorrow just 25% of those God-fearing men and women decided to vote their biblical values?"
Were they to do so, Mammen believes, the results would be truly revolutionary.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: Christian inaction can be devastating to the moral well-being of the country. Mammen noted that in 2004, 8.4 million more evangelicals voted in the national elections than did so in 2006. As a result, he said, in 2004, 78% of the new senators and 63% of the new representatives to Congress were pro-life.
In 2006, however, with the drop-off in evangelical voting, only 10% of new senators and 31% of new representatives were pro-life.
Mammen said, "In the years after the 2006 elections, some of the worst anti-family and anti-biblical laws were passed by the U.S. Senate and House."
Moreover, he added, evangelicals should understand that a large majority of Americans already agree with the values of Christians. They don't even have to be convinced.
For example, in his book, Mammen cites various statistics to demonstrate that a majority of Americans agree with social conservatives when it comes to the subject of religion in the public sphere. Statistics show: 79% believe religion and morality are important to the country, not just individuals; 64% believe there is not enough religion in schools; 88% approve of the words "One Nation, under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance; 78% approve of the posting of the Ten Commandments inside U.S. courtrooms; and 81% disapprove of the removal of crosses and other religiously-themed monuments from public property.
Similar statistics demonstrate that, when it comes to issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, or the teaching of sex education in public schools, the majority of Americans already agree with conservative Christian principles.
A passive church
So what's holding Christians back from getting involved? For some, of course, it may simply be a case of laziness. Some Christians dont even go to church, let alone to the voting booth or school board meeting.
For the most part, however, uninvolved Christians seem to be passive for two related reasons: They are biblically confused, having heard conflicting messages about whether or not they should get involved in politics; and they possess a frustrating lack of vision, having failed to understand just how much they could accomplish if they became active.
Mammen assaults both of these weaknesses with wisdom, wit and zeal. He answers some of the most frequent objections to political involvement, claims such as: You can't legislate morality. Christian involvement in politics always fails. Laws don't change hearts. You can't force your moral values on others. The church should focus on ending poverty, not abortion. You'll turn people away from the Gospel.
With remarkable clarity and sound reasoning, each of these objections – and many others – are handled carefully and biblically, demonstrating that Christian involvement is the necessary and loving thing to do.
Mammen's thorough work is a fresh perspective on the often thorny issues surrounding what it means for Christians to be salt and light in a land of amazing freedom and opportunity.
'Land of my heart'
Mammen is passionate and resolute about seeing the founding principles of America restored to their rightful place. He believes Christians should be at the forefront of that effort.
His background may provide an explanation for that fervor. Born to East Indian parents in Ghana, Africa, Mammen grew up in Sudan, the Yemen Arab Republic, India and Ethiopia.
His first experience with Americans came when he was 13 years old and attending a British boarding school in Ethiopia. A civil war erupted in the country, and the students were rushed to the airport and placed under the protection of U.S. Marines. Later they boarded a plane and were evacuated.
"Can you imagine the security we felt, the relief that came over us when we caught sight of that first Marine?" he said. "This was when I started to admire the U.S. Marines and the United States and decided that one day I wanted to come to America. I wanted to be a part of a great nation that even today is the first to come to the aid of others."
Five years later, Mammen would get that chance when he came to the U.S. as a college student to study engineering. "America was the land of my dreams. It was the land of my destiny. It was the land of my heart," he said in his book.
Mammen became a U.S. citizen in 1992. To this day he realizes the unique role America plays in the world, and the generosity of its people is clearly something that has impacted him. "We give over 360 billion dollars to charity here and around the world. When adjusted for GDP, this is nine times more than the next closest nation, Germany," he said.
Having lived in countries where many of the people have few or no freedoms, Mammen said people in the U.S. must remain vigilant lest we lose our own.
"And if we think America will never die, we fool ourselves," he said. "Nations die. History is littered with their bones."
For Mammen, the nation he loves won't die without a fight.
Jesus Is Involved in Politics can be purchased at afastore.net. A free small group study guide is also available for download. Neil Mammen is available to speak at churches, rallies, retreats and conferences.
The call to action
• Register to vote.
• Distribute non-partisan voting guides.
• Gather signatures for petitions or ballot initiatives.
• Give to groups working in the culture war.
• Invite candidates to speak at your church.
• Monitor local governing boards.
• Fund and/or support movies with family values.
• When feasible, visit and/or contact your senators and representative, as well as your state legislators.
• Run for political office at any level.
• Make your views known via blogs, Facebook and Sunday school classes.