A Case Study on Christian Political Engagement

In 2004, our country witnessed for the first time Evangelical and Born-again Christians becoming vocal and intensely involved in the political scene. More Evangelical Christians were engaged in partisan politics as they supported the first Christian candidate running for the highest office in the land. This was unprecedented because the person running for presidency happens to be a pastor and founder of one of the largest church in the Philippines, boasting of more than 2 million members all over the archipelago. And in the recent election season of 2010, Evangelical Christians has once again stepped into the limelight and further intensified their involvement. And for the second time, the same pastor runs for presidency. This time however, many Evangelicals opted for voter’s education while others remained to be partisan.

Given this background, this case study seeks to highlight Christian political engagement in a certain rural area of the country and showcase the impact of their engagement to the wider community. The study also presents the impact of the trainings conducted by the ISACC (Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture) advocacy team for good governance on the churches who participated in the series of seminars held in 2009 and early 2010. Also presented in the study is the process of how these Churches developed their understanding of political engagement and how they practically applied a Christian framework for their engagement.

The case study will focus on the municipality of Buenavista in the province of Marinduque. Marinduque is an Island composed of 6 municpialities, in which Buenavista is one of the largest. The Municipality of Buenavista is comprised of 15 baranggays, with each baranggay having an Evangelical church presence. The Association of pastors and Christian leaders in Buenavista is known as BCLEF (Buenavista Christian Leaders Ecumenical Fellowship). BCLEF was formally organized in December 2008.