July 24th, 2011

It happened two nights in a row. One evening a gentleman told me that he knew “Jesus was a Republican” and the next night a lady informed me that “Jesus certainly would have been a Democrat.” They thought they were being cute. You might have found it equally as clever.

I don’t—because I deeply support the separation of church and state. I believe this not because I feel the church is a great danger to the state. Actually the introduction of religion into politics renders it even more ineffective. No—I am a believer in the separation of church and state in order to keep politics out of the pew.

When people begin to project a political philosophy onto Jesus, I have to put my foot down and say, “Stop it.” We need one thing to be pure in this country, if nothing else—and that would be an abiding faith that God is no respecter of persons and that “whosoever will may come,” so that we all can be brothers and sisters. You may find that a big of unrealistic drivel, but when you remove it from our society, you create armed camps which are prepared to do battle against one another—both in the name of the Lord.

The Pharisees tried to make Jesus political, and he told them to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and unto God the things that are God’s.” Isn’t that the separation of church and state?

My trepidation—especially with the upcoming election in 2012—that once again the church is going to be turned into a battleground of cultural philosophy instead of a movement towards spiritual renewal.

In this country, we have fostered a new religion. I call it the Politigous—the unhealthy blending of politics, legalism and religion, forming a self-righteous gathering of voters who campaign for their conscience instead of the good of the people. It is not limited to conservatives or liberals. Both parties jockey for position on the issues which they think will trigger the most outrage and fear within the populace.

Any leader who thinks he does service by frightening his constituency must be prepared for the two outgrowths of all fear: ignorance and poverty.

What are we suffering from in this country right now? A severe bout of ignorance and an ever-increasing sense of being impoverished. Why? Because our leaders have made it permissible to be afraid. Our psychologists have made it seem normal to be apprehensive. And our churches promote the notion of an “end to the world”—an earth they have not yet embraced with love.

The Politigous: They have three axes to grind: (1) the good of the country; (2) the law and Constitution, and (3) God’s will. If we’re not careful, our churches will become “dummy corporations” to front parties, laundering political capital instead of becoming challenging prophets of God, questioning authority and making a better world for all people. It’s hard to take care of “the least of these, my brethren” when we’re always concerned about the popular majority vote.

It is initiated by the ambiguous notion of “doing what’s good for the country.”

And that’s where we’ll start tomorrow…

Published in: on July 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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