This is not a new topic for me. I’ve written about it several times before. It’s a question that is foundational for Christians – what is your foundation? Where does your hope lie?
Does your hope lie in politicians of either political party? Does your salvation come from one political party or the other controlling the US government in 2016?
Michael Gerson wrote an opinion piece in June asking a similar question to Evangelical leaders about their an event they held in support of the Trump candidacy:
The whole event, however, was taken — by the media, public and Trump campaign itself — as an evangelical Christian stamp of approval. Seldom has a group seemed more eager to be exploited.
We are reminded, second, that much of the religious right’s criticism of President Bill Clinton’s character was a ploy. Franklin Graham now argues that because Abraham lied, Moses disobeyed God and David committed adultery, Trump should get a pass, not just on his personal behavior but also on his deception, cruelty and appeal to bigotry. It is a non sequitur revealing the cynical subordination of faith to politics.
Gerson is right on target with both of these statements.
And yet, he’s missing something else – the same could be said of the focus (however smaller it may be, yet it’s still there) of Christian leaders offering some kind of endorsement of Hillary Clinton too.
When did Christian leaders go around openly endorsing candidates for office? Actually this has been going on for some time in some Christian circles. Yet, that doesn’t excuse it. Often it ends up sounding like what Gerson mentioned in the second quote above.
It is subordination of faith to politics – telling everyone that what is really important ultimately is politics. Our faith can be bent to fit whatever political persuasion we hold on to.
If that is the case, then that faith is worthless. Christianity is just like any other power hungry organization that has existed throughout history – more interested in fighting over and about obtaining power and using it, rather than something radically different in human history.
All of this is not to say that Christian leaders should not voice their opinions about politics. What I’m saying is this – what’s most important. Does one’s politics and ideology influence their religious and faith life? If so, then we’ll be able to hear it in the pronouncements about who is good and who is bad, who is in and who is out, who is with us and and who is with them. The hallmark of politics is division and power. If politics is our foundation, then our religion and faith will be shaped by these things.
If, on the other hand that our faith is our foundation, then how we do politics will be different – radically different. Jesus is the best example of this. There were so many times that those with a political bent tried to get Jesus to play by their rules – to determine if he was with “us” or “them.” And you know what Jesus did – he changed the rules. As Christians, we are called to change the rules, to live by a different set values and beliefs that guide us.
What is your foundation?