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Tuesday, July 25, 2006 

Do Christians Really Have to Support Them?

Often times, Christians are grouped en masse into a category derogatorily called the “Religious Right”. This term comes from the combination of their theological belief structure, and their political ideology. While a belief in God and a GOP card are not mutually exclusive, neither are they mutually inclusive.

There are a great many things that Republican Politicians do that are against the tenets of Christianity. While both political parties share an affinity for pandering to their respective base, the Republican Party has been extremely efficient in gathering Christians under their banner. While Democrats are supporting the removal or at least the limitation of Christian influence in public and governmental arenas, Republicans are supporting those agendas that would include it more broadly in the public/government sector.

Democrat politicians gather flocks of “atheists” and members of other more abstract faiths under their premise of inclusively, and almost exclusivity of Christians. Sure there are some Democratic politicians that affiliate themselves with Christianity, but usually not too closely, and hardly to the point where it would influence their decision making.

Christianity is not just a term used for those that go to church, or believe that Jesus existed. The term “Christian” was first used in the Bible in the book of Acts 11:26: “The disciples were called Christians first at Antiochand means “Belonging to Christ”. The Apostle’s Creed, used in almost every denomination of Christianity as a blue print for what Christianity is. The main ideas behind that are: A belief in God, a belief in Jesus as His Son, a belief in the Holy Spirit, a belief in Jesus' death on the cross as forgiveness of our sin, and a belief that Jesus is risen and now sits by God in wait for our final Judgment.

Now, there are a slew of other beliefs, and it can be much more complicated than that, but this paraphrased version sums up the general idea. Nowhere in that is a political ideology or loyalty expressed. Nowhere in that is a lifestyle or personal preference dictated. Jesus taught a great many things through the Gospels, but never once did Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Elisha, or any other leaders and teachers in the Scripture point to specific political ideology and say “Thou Shalst Vote This Way.” In fact, Jesus even told us to be wary of putting the two on a parallel tract: Matthew 22:21 “…Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s."

That piece of Scripture is probably one of the most overused, and misused things from the Bible. It is not meant to say “pay your taxes”. It is not meant to infer some inherent power of your government. It is meant to separate your spiritual well being and your heart from the legalities and bureaucracies of your government. The GOP does not hold some divine possession over Christianity. They have no special privilege to preside over it, and hold no position of authority in it. In fact NO governmental authority holds precedence inside of the Christian Faith.

I realize at this point that I’m rambling, but bear with me. If Jesus told us that Government and Faith hold no binds to each other (I know the Bible says government was placed by God, so follow its authority, but that is a different tract), and our Founding Fathers placed into American bedrock the separation of Church and State, why suddenly are we so enthralled with the idea of combining the two? Why have we started a modern day crusade to instill modern Christian morals and common values into our legal system to make them binding under penalty of law?

This in its own right is not the biggest problem, but when combined with the seemingly hypocritical activities motivated by the most un-Christian of values, makes this Christian wonder why are you pushing for it, and why should I support it?

The current “Religious Right” is pushing for:

-School Taught Creationism

-Illegal Abortion

-Illegal Gay Marriage

-Illegal Flag Burning

-Illegal Internet Porn

-Illegal TV Porn

-Illegal Gambling

But left out of the agendas are:

-US Poverty

-World Wide Poverty

-World Hunger

-Health Care

-World Health Care

The Book of Mathew says:

“then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”

It is not talking about the actual Jesus, but all of mankind in Him, because as Jesus said, what we do to the least of man, we do to him (visit “I’m a Christian Too” for in depth discussions on this topic).

While I may agree with some of the ideas behind the traditional “Religious Right” agenda, I do not support the blatant political connections made between Faith based ideals and aspirations, especially when so many others are ignored.

While there are many Christian based organizations that are doing God’s work and fulfilling the mission of those agendas left out of the political right’s agenda; they do not exonerate those political organizations that preach upon a Christian based foundation for political advantage. Pat Roberson, Jerry Falwell, etc preach a sermon of exclusivity and elite membership aimed at gaining, maintaining, and increasing political power, yet has nothing to do with God’s mission.

Christianity has nothing to do with Conservatism, Liberalism, Republican, Democrat, or anything in between. We as Christians must acknowledge that our political philosophy has been prey for this false political principles and manipulative ministries for too long. We as Christians need to reclaim our spiritual movement in this nation and quit allowing it to be used for narrow political agendas that have little to do with Christianity, and more to do with who is king of Capitol Hill.

We as Christians need to quit being fired up about Gay Marriage and start being more fired up about saving lost souls. We need to be less fired about making laws against abortion and start being more fired up about getting a message out of acceptance and understanding to young women and teens that may find themselves in tough circumstances. We as Christians need to quit being so self-assured in our own world of security and acceptance where we readily judge those who do not fit into our framework. If we spent half the money, time, energy, and political capital we put into the “Religious Right’s” agenda on missions and ministries to help the sick, the lame, the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the starving, the hurt, the homeless, the scared, the “undesirables”… this country, and the rest of the world would be much better off.

This coming election cycle, I’ll vote with my heart, as God leads it; not with what some coalition that has self-appointed itself as a Christian authority tells me to. I will no longer listen to politicians that readily accept bribes, incentives, or gifts for political favor to tell me that they are a Christian, and thus I should vote for them. I will no longer support a political party that tries to capitalize off of my Faith to secure their power while never submitting to the tenets of my Faith.