God goes to Washington
Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2008
If the Creator of the Universe were running for office, how would the Almighty fare in today’s world of politics?
The mix of politics and religion has been under the microscope these past days which got me thinking how would God fare if he were a Presidential candidate today? Who would vote for Jesus? (Insert God of choice.) And would we want him serving alongside some of our government leaders who hire hookers, solicit sex in bathrooms, or seduce interns? Not to mention the lying, cheating, and greed that pervades the higher offices of our government. Oh, but couldn’t he could find the same thing in today’s churches?
Shame! I know I said it but look at the scandals of the past decade? Sex, lies and videotape!
In reverse, how does politics fare in our local church? Are we all on the same page at our local church service? Will this one vote for Hillary and that one vote for McCain and the other one vote for Obama? Where does the pastor side? Can he even speak his preferences in today’s environment when the IRS has got it’s “all watching” eye on the pulpits of America? The IRS is examining today’s church to see who is following the rules and if not, bam! You lose your tax-exempt status.
Politics and religion…..can you have one without the other? Or can you like an egg, separate the white from the yolk? I do better just scrambling the whole egg. Besides, I like the yolk!
Our country has always drawn upon religious institutions for a moral authority, to fortify the masses with their candidate’s stand. If the guy running for President matches your race, region, and religion, then the one who gets the most checks on the check list must be your candidate. At least, that is the way the average church going Jane or Joe usually works.
Do we vote for the better candidate for our country? Or for the one we feel more in tune with?
As a Christian, can you vote for a Jewish candidate? As a Muslim, can you vote for a Mormon candidate? Can we step outside our boxes?
The First Amendment of our Constitution declares that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The phrase we have grown use to ‘over’ hearing is “separation between church and state” which comes from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association and is not in the Constitution. It was meant to help churches to keep the government’s hands out of religion; yet, it gets really murky when it is used to keep any semblance of religion out of our government.
Is there really such a thing as “Separation of church and state”? I can no more separate myself from government or my faith, so I am a mix of both. If I am a Christian and I work for the government then some would say that is a violation of “church and state.”
Despite the raucous behavior of our Celebs and Politicians, the fall of the American family and other moral decline, we are a country of faith. In a recent Gallup Poll, our religious nature is revealed. Nearly two-thirds of us are members of a church or synagogue and about one-third of us attend church at least once a week. That’s a relief!
As I watched yet another movie about Henry VIII and his divine power to start the Church of England just so he can divorce wives, I saw how the old system of power did not work so well. What if George Bush controlled what we as believers should believe? Yikes! What if as divine ruler he demanded all cat owners switch to dog owners? What if he ordered families to have more than five kids? What if he ordered men to fulfill their wives “honey do lists?” Can you imagine the chaos?
No one wants government telling the Church how to conduct their business and rewriting sins so that government leaders can work a “get out of hell” card.
For Christians, it’s a “what would Jesus do?” In His words, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The Apostle Paul said, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” I must follow George!
As a believer, I then pray for guidance to vote and then sit back because God is in control. Remember, if God doesn’t like it…he gets to rain down fire and hell!
The trouble lies in each entity trying to exert control over the other. God separated his Church from Egypt, (the state) and it was a very painful event for the Egyptians…fiery hail, bloody water, locusts, etc. Do we want to return to that? No way!
In the news lately, views from the pulpit have taken a hold on the Presidential race. Is it important for my pastor to express his political views? Am I more heavily influenced by my religious leaders? One question will answer that, “If Howard Stern told me to vote for someone, what would I do? If your pastor told you to vote for someone, what would you do? Who has the most influence over you?
I personally, will weigh what my religious heroes say. I will not follow like a brainwashed zombie. Some Americans will though and the power the pulpit holds is an extreme responsibility.
It is my preference to vote using my life experience, my instinct, my collection of data and even who I like, and sometimes how good looking they are!
So, how does politics work in religion? Church politics work just as heavenly as secular politics. Churches are filled with imperfect individuals, who sin, who argue over control issues, and who make decisions based on their own desire. In other words, humans run the church and God has to work through the fall out. Before you get all defensive, I have seen God work through failure much more than successes. For example, David and Bathsheba was not a tale of strong, faithful Christian who succeeds in following God’s word and becomes a great leader by his faithful obedience. NOT! He murdered, coveted, stole, lied and through his failure, he did all right. He did not live completely happily ever after though, his wrongdoing affected his children.
Churches should do what they do best, their Godly mission and keep the controversial statements out of the pulpit. My mouth has dropped at the words that were spoken this past week from a pulpit and my fear is that this is the norm.
So, if God were running for office, would he be a democrat, republican, independent, or a write-in? And, would you vote for him, or her?
No one knows in the voting booth but you and God.