I know, I know…I said I’d finish this on Wednesday and here it is Saturday. Forgive me. My week was quite filled and usually I write my posts in advance but didn’t get the chance this time. So without further adieu, here’s part two of my thoughts from Monday…
When considering how the matrix of religious thought intertwines with politics, both sides tend to go to extremes. Here locally in the Denver area, I’m reminded of a time a professor at our local community college was writing a column for our local paper describing a first hand account of how people at a Christian church were doing vile, horrible things to homosexuals who were protesting their worship. His animated and colorful description, including thoughts of how he was mortified to see children terrorized, made for a great column but there was only one problem…..He wasnt at the church! Never was! That’s right. He “ghost” wrote the entire column based on what the homosexual lobbyists told him, not on what was visible evidence. Turns out from a few that were there that day that the protest wasn’t anything to worry about and kids were seen playing on the church lawn on the way out. No terrorizing here.
On the other side..I’ve seen religious extremists call down “fire from heaven” while squawking on the bullhorns trying to get somebody, anybody..to listen! They protest abortion clinics, pornography stores, public establishments that reportedly support the homosexual agenda, and say hurtful things to people who are confused, hurting, and alone. Not once do these types of “Christians” try to interact, befriend, and show the love of Jesus to those they want to protest.
Now before I make anyone mad (if I haven’t already), let me state that I’m against abortion, believe that homosexuality is an abomination as the bible clearly states, and that pornography degrades women and ruins countless marriages. These things aren’t in dispute but how we handle them as Christians are. Do we take a militaristic slant and try to “scare” people into change? I do believe there is a time when the church should rise up in a militaristic way but this instance isn’t one of them. If the media wants to belittle our faith and misportray it in their weekly shows and movies, we DO have a right to stand up and protest while still maintaining our integrity. The problem is, many Christians have a defeatist, victim, mindset and believe their only recourse is to outlaw things through politics. This has given rise to the “Christian” Coalition over a decade ago and more recently, Focus on the Family’s political action arm.
This is where I separate myself in this debate. I’ve never financially supported either of the previously mentioned organizations and do not intend to. I have purchased materials from Focus on the Family itself but in recent years I believe a large base of Christians, most who are now over 40, give too much thought to what Focus’ leaders think about politics and base their decisions on this rather than thinking for themselves. I love James Dobson but couldn’t believe my ears when he chose to support John McCain and not Chuck Baldwin in last year’s election. I think Sarah Palin is an outstanding person but her late addition to the ticket did nothing to change my mind that the political values I held were not represented by John McCain. Okay, so Baldwin didn’t have a chance to win. That’s what most would say. My retort: Certainly not with the kind of belief we hold in our system now. Third party candidates CAN change things. Ross Perot (who I was not a fan of), made major strides in 1992 and was likely the reason Bill Clinton was elected to his first term. If enough people had spoken up at the right time, Baldwin’s stance on the issues may have gotten an ear.
But back to the main subject of this post; the issues themselves. While Baldwin’s stance on moral issues lined up with mine, that wasn’t the main reason I supported him. I supported him because of the larger political views he held which I believe are the substance of our government. Namely, the support of our country against foreign merchants who wish to buy up our businesses and homes, allowing the private sector to have the freedom to innovate, and the shrinking of government involvement in the free market. Notice I mentioned nothing about churches in there. The reason? It’s not necessary because when freedom is properly exercised, churches have the freedom to serve those in the way Christ asks us to. The moral issues are ones that WE are called to handle, not the politicians. Legislating morality has NEVER worked and NEVER will. All it does is breed hatred and division. Do I think the Christian worldview has a place in politics? CERTAINLY. In the heart of the person itself. Good Christian people deserve a chance to serve not to push OUR agenda but because of their character and integrity (if they truly are a follower of Christ). Values that we hold so dear will only return to our culture when we change the hearts of men and women through the preaching of the gospel in our churches. The bible tells us that nothing else has the life changing power of God’s Word. So why do we think we can manufacture it through politics? I’ve never understood.
Preach the gospel. Be ready both in and out of season. Change lives. Then, and only then, will we see the life change in our nation we desire.