Politics and the Poor

by Melba Maggay

It is cause for rejoicing that in the past four decades, there has been a growing awareness that the church should somehow be involved and make a difference in the massive poverty that has engulfed this country.

In the early 70’s, you could count on your fingers the number of evangelical organizations doing what has come to be called as ‘wholistic ministry.’ Today, there are thousands doing ‘transformational development,’ or, in the language of the Micah Global Network, ‘integral mission.’ Micah Global is a coalition of more than 800 faith-based development organizations worldwide.

It is in the field of politics, of making democratic institutions work, that the churches have been reluctant to step out and speak truth to the powers. While we have seen a movement towards putting Christians into office, we have yet to see a political engagement that is theologically informed and truly consistent with the concern for righteousness in our governance. This is partly due to deficiencies in our theological paradigms, and the fear of being allied with forces whose morals and ideological leanings we suspect.