My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.
Luke 8: 21
As the name of this blog is Faith and Politics…..I feel the need to speak a little on how religion and politics relate to one another.
Good night, folks. Thanks for coming out.
Seriously. Here’s the thing. Religion and politics are not the best of friends. They are not even associates. Heck, they can barely stand the sight of each other. And while that may sound harsh; it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth….so help me, God.
You see, our government is founded on the principle that no single religion shall be the foundation of public policy. I could go on and on. I could cite numerous writings by Adams and Jefferson. I could cite the entire Treaty of Tripoli. But, that is not necessary. Well, ..er..it shouldn’t be necessary. It seems it may be. Too many people seem to labor under the illusion that we are a “Christian nation”. Of course, we are not. We are a nation consisting of mostly Christians. This is not just semantics. It actually means two different things. One implies that our government was based upon a Christian belief system and reflects biblical principles. However, the truth is that our government was designed to work without Christianity, leaving that decision up to each individual citizen.
On the flip side of that coin: Christianity was not designed with government in mind. In truth, Christianity is the name we call ourselves because we believe in Christ and his teachings. Never once did Jesus say, “You will start a new religion and name it after me.” What he did say is very clear. Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s – Matthew 22: 21. This is not open to interpretation. He said, very clearly, that God does not belong in the government and the government does not belong in the church.
Now that we have cleared that up, we can stop introducing the two at parties. We can forget all about future blind dates. We can realize that they are the two kids who need to be separated for everyone’s peace of mind. Whew! I am so glad that is settled.
Wait. It is not settled. The government feels bombarded by religious sentiment. There are any number of laws on the books (both federal and state) that are written simply with the religious in mind. With an ever-increasing number of agnostics, atheists, Muslims, and other faiths; government is attempting to live up to the constitution’s guarantee of freedom from religion. Religious organizations are refusing to comply with federal laws. The government is, basically, refusing to become a church.
The church feels persecuted and excluded. Christians feel like they are being targeted for harassment and abuse. They are furious that their leaders won’t legislate based upon religious doctrine. They cite the Bible for all manner of objection to abortion, gay marriage, and other issues. They fear Muslim infiltration and Sharia Law. Christians, basically, wants the government to become a church.
Now, before anyone yells that I am just taking up for a corrupt government, let me say this. I agree that there is corruption in the system. I agree that our politicians behave as though they don’t have to answer to us, their constituents. I even agree that there are some who would love nothing more than to do away with religion completely. That being said, Christians need to accept some responsibility. It has been my experience that the majority of non-believers just want to be left alone. They do not wish to have their lives dictated to them, by a God they do not believe in. They do not wish to have politicians making decisions about what they do with their bodies. (Because of a God they don’t believe in) They don’t want to be told who to love or marry by some senator. (Because of a God they don’t believe in)
And, since our country is neither a Christian nation nor a church…they have that right.
Christians need to worry only about being Christians. I will give you a moment to read that opening scripture again. <<…Humming…>> Okay, ready?
Christians were given one important commandment by Christ. He even says it is the greatest commandment…love each other. That’s it. It sounds ridiculously simple, right? Well, it is not. Jesus is very explicit about how we are to behave as his followers. We are to love one another. We are not to seek revenge or vengeance. We are to respect the fact that we are responsible for ourselves, and only ourselves. We are to be good to people: feed them, clothe them, house them. We are to forgive. It should be our goal to be like Christ, no matter what the world throws at us. Our faith is to be recognized by sight, not by speech. They will know we are Christians by our love.
Where is our love? Love is not spewing hate and vitriol. It is showing compassion and kindness. Love is not stereotyping and judging. It is offering comfort and support. Love is not casting the first stone, even as we live in glass houses with a hundred cracks. It is forgiveness and a helping hand.
These traits are hard to develop. They are difficult to express. They are practically impossible to demonstrate with perfect consistency. But we should try. Why?
Because…What would Jesus do? That is what Jesus would do.