Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Of Salt, Light, and Pulse Asia’s NBN survey

Pulse Asia’s recent survey reports that 16% of Metro folk are willing to join rallies vs the NBN deal.
Of the respondents, 84 percent of Metro Manila adults are not willing to attend mass actions, whether they support the reasons behind these (53 percent) or not (31 percent).

This Pulse Asia survey reminds me of the story of the pollster conducting this house-to-house survey on the nation’s problems. As the story goes, a pollster walked up to a house, rang the doorbell, and was greeted by a man with a drink in one hand and a television blaring in the background. After introducing himself, the pollster asked this question: "What is the biggest problem in our nation today: ignorance or apathy?" Just before he slammed the door on the pollster, the man answered, "I don't know and I don't care!"

The preceding anecdote rings with the reality of the times.

The top reasons given by those who said they would not join rallies, according to the same Pulse Asia survey, is that: "There are more important things to do" (26 percent) and "there's really no change whoever leads the government" (26 percent). A sizable number of the total, twenty-one percent, said the need to earn money for daily expenses further prevented them from attending rallies. The majority of the people seem not compelled enough to take action. Indifference, lack of information, daily pressures of livelihood, – many factors conspire against the majority to become more actively involved in influencing the political process.

Is there even a need for Christians to be involved?

Let us look at some biblical accounts when God’s people did involve themselves.

Joseph rose to a position of great power in Egypt, and God used him to save many lives during a severe famine (Gen. 50:20). Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and other prophets made sure that political leaders heard clearly what God had to say about justice, the right way to rule, caring for the widowed, the orphaned, the poor, and the lame. Amos spoke out during a time of judicial corruption (5:7), immorality (2:6-8), and oppression of the poor (4:1). Esther carefully used her position of influence to protect exiled Jews in Persia. Daniel was not afraid to speak out on God's behalf (Dan. 4:27). John the Baptist spoke out against the immorality of king Herod and was imprisoned and beheaded (Mt. 14:1-12). In response to influential leaders who were trying to get Peter to stop speaking publicly about Christ, the apostle Peter said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

Finally, Jesus said to His followers, "You are the salt of the earth..You are the light of the world.. nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house." (Mt. 5:13-15). Salt serves as a preservative and light drives away the darkness. For believers in Christ to serve as salt and light, it means that by words and actions we are to uphold and promote God's standards and help people to see the truth about life and God. As salt and light, our lives are to make a difference in preventing the decay of our society and promote the true worship of God. Yes, Christians should be involved in the political process, while we affirm that any evil should not be used to justify a good. Separation of church and state should not mean separation of state and morality. We must be careful though, that we do not short-circuit the political system, nor promote anarchy or violence. We should not lose sight that the real battle boils down to a spiritual battle, where we need the weapons and armor that only God's grace can provide (Eph 6:10-18). What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, then who can be against us? (Rom 8:31).

No comments: