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The Salvation Army: Non-Partisan not Apolitical

The Salvation Army: Non-Partisan not Apolitical

In the lead up to the New Zealand 2023 General Election, I recently heard the comment made by another church minister that ‘Christian justice doesn’t take a side. We shouldn’t engage in political debate.’ This belief that Christians should remain out of politics has been a sentiment in The Salvation Army when referring to ourselves as apolitical: not interested or involved in politics. But this is incorrect. Seeing and meeting people’s needs and then speaking into the underlying issues is who we are as a movement. We are politically engaged seeking God’s Kingdom values for our communities.

When it comes to political engagement, The Salvation Army is non-partisan. This is declared in our International Positional Statement on The Salvation Army and the State:

‘The Salvation Army is politically non-partisan. Although it seeks to influence governmental and public affairs, it will not promote or endorse specific candidates or political parties.

In working with any State and its agencies, The Salvation Army seeks to promote biblical values, including justice, truth, mercy, equity, human rights and peace, as part of its religious convictions and practice.’

While The Salvation Army does not take the side of any one political party or candidate, we are and should be informed of and engaged in the issues facing our nation. Our non-partisan position allows us to work with a wide range of governments and organisations within our territory and as an international Salvation Army.

As we prepare to cast our individual votes this election, let’s be informed of the issues we are speaking into, look across the political spectrum to consider which policies seek God’s kingdom values for our communities, and then place our voice alongside those we serve.

WORDS: Captain Emma Howan

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