Attorney general candidate discusses faith and politics
Josh Hawley: “What the Bible says of how to live life…that’s where I come down and defend.”
Apr. 13, 2016
Former law professor Josh Hawley has written for numerous legal journals as well as argued cases in front of the Supreme Court. But for Hawley, his legal and political career is merely the natural extension of his Christian faith.
“Jesus claims every square inch of creation,” Hawley said.
Every square inch, including politics.
On Tuesday, Hawley, who is currently running for Missouri Attorney General, gave a presentation, “Faith and Politics,” at Tate Hall. During the one-hour session, Hawley discussed issues such as the role of government, separation of church and state, and his own personal experiences in politics.
Hawley began the presentation, which was organized by Campus Crusade for Christ, Reformed University Fellowship, Veritas and other campus ministry organizations, by discussing what originally inspired him to seek a career in politics. Hawley said the main catalyst for his interest was watching Supreme Court confirmation hearings at a young age. Despite most of his peers’ interest in engaging in religious activities through church and mission work, Hawley said that he discovered politics as an outlet for his religious beliefs.
“In Romans 13, government officials are described as ministers of God,” Hawley said. “That’s how serious God is about politics.”
Hawley also spoke on the ideal role of government in society. Government, Hawley said, should fundamentally uphold justice. For Hawley, this is manifested through protecting three ideals:
- The Rule of Law, because marginalized individuals are the ones most harmed when rule of law breaks down
- The right to work, so people can reach their full potential as individuals
- Personal liberty, so people have the freedom to act in accordance with their conscience
Hawley said all these principles were in accordance with religious and moral guidelines.
“Good government serves Christ,” Hawley said.
Hawley also emphasized the importance of religious engagement in government. Hawley admitted that Christians may often become discouraged because of the “messiness” in politics, but said that Christians don’t have the option to disengage from politics.
“As Christians, we should call on government to perform its Biblical role,” Hawley said. “Our mentality in politics should be … ‘Until Jesus runs this planet.’”
Hawley thus advocated for active political involvement through a religious paradigm. He argued that since voters hold the ultimate power in democracy, believers have a moral and ethical obligation to vote for candidates and policies that uphold Biblical principles.
“We’ll one day have to give an account to God on how we used our vote,” Hawley said.
Hawley said that he didn’t expect or want an American government that’s explicitly Christian. However, he shared his belief that decision-making, whether legislative or in voting, should be made through a religious perspective.
“What the Bible says of how to live life … that’s where I come down and defend,” Hawley said.
Hawley said an emphasis on faith-based reasoning wasn’t a violation of separation of church and state.
“There’s no such thing as neutral reasoning or neutral logic,” Hawley said. “Whether you’re religious, atheist...every approach to logic is based on something”
Hawley also said that religious-based morals, specifically those of Christianity, have been one of the greatest drivers of liberty and equality throughout history.
“If we didn’t allow faith-based reasoning, we’d still have slavery in this country,” Hawley said. “We wouldn’t have universal suffrage, the right to vote. Every movement toward equality was based on religious principles.”
Hawley ended his presentation with a call for more political engagement and activism.
“Read your newspapers in light of the Bible,” Hawley said. “And, if you think there’s a huge part of the debate that’s missing, maybe you should fill it in … write something, say something.”
Edited by Hailey Stolze | firstname.lastname@example.org