The pandemic, and the war in Ukraine made the society more skeptical of the mainstream views and opened a door for Christian politicians.
Why are the last EU Parliament elections, Covid pandemic, and even the recent war in Ukraine actually good for the future of Christian politics in Europe? What is the challenge for Christian politicians currently?
Who pops up in your head when you think of “Christian politician”? Maybe someone from a Christian party in your country? Maybe you do not even have an explicitly Christian party... And if we think about examples from EU, is it Viktor Orbán?
To me a “Christian politician” is a person who follows Christ in their personal life and occupies a political job or is indirectly involved in politics, i.e. a Christian who happens to be a politician.
So, for me, there is no difference between, for example, “Christian gardener” and “Christian politician”, besides their professional occupation.
Such a politician reflects on their political activity from their deepest Christian values and their personal relationship with Christ and with the larger community (relationional approach).
In my opinion, being part of a party that has “Christian” in their name does not necessarily make one a “Christian politician”, think of CDU in Germany for example... I think we need to switch our perception of Christian politicians from "right” or “left”.
“You will know them by their fruit” (Mt. 7:16) says Jesus about a person’s belief. What makes one a Christian politician is first and foremost their personal faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ.
European Parliament has become more diverse in terms of political spectre in 2019 compared to 2014 elections. For example, there were more than twice as more MEPs who were unattached to a political group, and both of the two major European parties, EPP and S&D, lost their EU Parliament seats compared to 2014.
This means that, although EPP and S&D still dominate the EU Parliament, smaller parties got more say. So, there is more room also for non-affiliated Christian MEP, but also smaller explicitly Christian parties, like ECPM, European Christian Political Movement.
During the last two and a half years Covid pandemic has been the center of the political dicussion in the world and in Europe. Now, the war in Ukraine replaced the headlines.
In my perception, this covid pandemic shifted the focus of political discussion away from questions about gender and family definitions, and this weakened the mainstream left-liberal omnipresence and made people generally more open for alternative views.
War in Ukraine showed that horrible things still can happen in the European “neighborhood” and that human nature is quite evil to say the least, which goes against the mainstream liberal idea that people are basically good.
Just hearing about so much suffering and many deaths makes us think of the meaning of life, hope, importance of relationships, family, integrity and all topics that are key to Christian politics.
For Christian politicians, this means that the people are now more open than ever for Christian politics. As a Christian myself, I am convinced that people are not only more open for Christian ideals in politics.
Now, I have noticed that being a Christian politician is generally associated with the right wing, tradition, and basically being “anti-left”: anti-abortion, anti-LGBT movement, anti-green policies.
While I absolutely agree that a Christian should be pro-life and pro-family, it seems like these positions on mostly social-ethical issues have become the very definition of what it means to be a “Christian politician”.
Such perception needs to be changed for a better future of Christians who want to serve in politics in the future.
This issue can be solved by Christian politicians with good reputation giving more attention to other issues as well, like sustainability and environment and being explicit that they act out of Christian biblical principles.
YES, I think there is hope. In my opinion the 2019 EU Elections, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine actually made the society more skeptical of the mainstream views and opened a door for Christian politicians.
The way to go is to destroy the “right-wing” framing by acting from Chrisitan worldview, including taking care of the environment, while being respectful to the opponents and having unparalleled integrity.
I think more Christian politicians should consider running as independent candidates or becoming members in parties where they can express and work based on their beliefs.
Eduard Andreev is a member of the European Christian Political Youth, and an active member at an Evangelical Church “Golgatha” in Nuremberg, Germany.