That Americans view evangelicals as political above all else is easily explained by the fact that politics has become so pervasive. Practically everything has become political. For instance, if evangelicals take a Biblical stand for the sanctity of human life, they are seen as political, since one of the hottest hotbed issues of present-day politics is abortion. Likewise, if evangelicals take a Biblical stand for the sanctity of marriage, they are seen as political, since marriage has been redefined by present-day politics to include both common law and same-sex marriage. Even the fulfilling of Christ's Great Commission has come under the auspices of present-day politics, since the preaching of the Gospel, the greatest love story ever told, has been condemned by many a present-day politician as hate speech, not to mention the perpetration of a hate crime.
For evangelicals to stay unsoiled by politics in the eyes of our present-day society would necessitate our silence on the most critical issues of our day. It would require us to renege on our Christ’s commissioned role in this world as both salt and light; that is, the preserver and conscience of our society. Martin Luther, who understood that reneging on our Christ's commissioned role in society was tantamount to committing treason against Christ, once wrote: “If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
With the exception of American evangelicals, political discourse is considered within the purview of the general population. That being so, one is forced to ask the question: Why is it considered out-of-bounds for Bible-believing Christians, but perfectly acceptable for all other Americans? The answer to this question requires the retelling of an intriguing story—a story from the not too distant past that has been unfortunately forgotten.
In 1948, Lyndon Baines Johnson was elected to the United States Senate. Although he defeated his Republican opponent, Jack Porter, in the general election, he won that year’s runoff election for the Democratic nomination, against Texas Governor Coke Stevenson, by dubious means and a mere margin of 87 votes. The tallied ballots that gave Johnson his slim triumph over Stevenson came from a mysterious box discovered in Alice, Texas after all the other votes had been counted and Stevenson declared the winner. The box contained 202 ballots, all but 2 of which were for Johnson. The ballots in the box were found in alphabetical order, written in the same handwriting, and many of them signed by voters who had moved away, as well as by some who had passed away. The presiding election judge in Alice, Texas at the time, Luis Salsa, admitted before his death, in an attempt to clear his conscience, that the votes were fraudulent and that the election was stolen.
Upon his election to the United States Senate, and in light of the infamous “Box 13 scandal,” Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was nicknamed “Landslide Lyndon.” When LBJ ran for reelection 6 years later in 1954, he was opposed by some powerful Texas nonprofit organizations. In order to exact revenge against them, Johnson proposed an amendment on the Senate Floor that would prohibit all nonprofits from political involvement, under threat of revoking their tax exemption. The Johnson Amendment, as it is known today, was agreed to and passed into law without discussion, debate, or descent. Since that time, more and more Americans have come to mistakenly believe that Christians, unlike all other United States citizens, are doing something unseemly when they dare to speak on any subject perceived by society as political. The truth, however, is that this law was conceived by a villainous and vengeful politician in an attempt to mute his political nemeses. Furthermore, it is has been maintained ever since by political miscreants, like LBJ, who break it out to keep Christian evangelicals from speaking out against the political evils being perpetrated on our present-day society.