ANDREW: 2 things you don’t talk about—Religion and Politics
Well, last week I talked about both in my sermon. (By the way you can listen to sermons from our website, http://www.springrunpc.org/sermons/). As elections are less than 3 weeks away, the political buzz (and demonizing of others) is deafening unless you just tune out. I must admit, that is often times a big temptation, but I have found out that if I simply ignore the buzz, it doesn’t go away.
I think there are 2 mistakes we make regarding Politics. The first mistake is to idolize political power. We do this when our hopes are so tied to the economic, military, and political success of our party or country that if it were to collapse we would not feel like living. I have heard people say if this president or that president gets elected then “I’m moving out of the country.” What is really being said by such a statement? It sounds like, “I cannot be happy here with these politicians.” In other words, God is not enough for me in this situation. When we come to that point we are dangerously close to bowing to the idol of political power that provides for our comfort and happiness. Remember that Christians in the 1st Century did not have it comfortable. They were persecuted and killed. The places today where the most people are becoming Christians are the places where it is least tolerated. Doesn’t that make you and me have to stop and at least ask if we are making an idol out of the success of the country?
The second mistake is trying to avoid the potential idol of political power by escaping and tuning out. As citizens we should be involved in the process and we have a right that we should exercise in voting. In fact, I think that one reason we tend to idolize political power and government is because it is a good thing. Remember that idols are most often good things given inordinate value. They cannot save or provide ultimate protection or hope. Only God can. However, God commanded Adam and Eve to rule over the earth. Governing and politics is doing just that. The problem comes when we leave God out of it. I don’t just mean saying a prayer before a vote or at the inauguration. I mean when we don’t think Christianly about the people we elect. Will they stand for moral values? And I don’t just mean litmus test values that are used to divide parties. Will they truly try to help the poor? What does it mean to help the poor? What ideas does one have to do that? Will they promote good ethical values that instill integrity within our government and businesses so that they can be trusted?
There are of course many more questions that I cannot adequately address here. The challenge for you as the citizen is to think about it seriously and not to just deify or demonize certain people or parties. There are a couple of good articles in By Faith magazine from Spring 2010 that are very thoughtful about Health Care and Capitalism. You can check them out by clicking on these links. Also be sure to check out the comments posted that challenge some of the assumptions and/or conclusions.
Thinking Christianly About Health Care
Christianity and Capitalism