Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's Not The Same
I'm sure that many of you out there are just dying to see a blog post about politics. You've been searching fruitlessly for just one little shred of political opinion on the internet. Right? Right?! Ha. Well, primarily for my own sanity and not for your reading pleasure, I am adding to the noise.
I already expressed my disgust with the illogical, uninformed, and fanatical behavior we saw from both parties' supporters during the election. Now that the election is over, I am seeing a new and possibly even more disturbing behavior: the complete and total union of religion and politics in the minds of many Christians. Here are two statements I read this week, both from professed Christians, one from an Obama supporter and another from a McCain supporter.
"We've been waiting so long for this. He is our Moses!" (quoted from Seattle Times, who identified the woman as a 'church stewardess')
"Maybe McCain on his own cannot defeat Obama, but our God can and He will if we take to our knees in prayer and raise a mighty cry to the heavens to 'Save us O Lord'" (quoted from a message by Dr. Charles Stanley, founder of In Touch Ministries and senior pastor of First Baptist Atlanta)
Both of these statements make my skin crawl.
I am absolutely appalled that the line between politics and religion has become so blurred for people that they believe these things. Obama is not Moses. Only Christ can set us free. And McCain was not God's Chosen One either, so praying against Obama is nothing more than unbiblical nonsense.
But my observation of this unholy marriage between religion and politics goes beyond what I've read in the newspaper and online. I'll call it a vibe, because I can't really pin down where it's coming from, but there is this arrogant and judgmental vibe I am getting from other Christians when it comes to politics. As Christians, our central belief is that Jesus is The Way. We believe that we are objectively right in our religious beliefs, and that other religious beliefs are objectively wrong.* HOWEVER. Religion is NOT politics. I don't care how sure you are that God Himself is calling you to passionately support, campaign for, and give your life savings to a candidate. If I do not support that candidate, I am not by definition outside God's will. I am not categorically, objectively wrong if I disagree with your politics.
As Christians, for God's sake, let's stop thinking a politician can save us. Let's stop praying for our own agendas and instead pray as Jesus did: Thy will be done. Let's stop thinking that politics = religion. Finally, let us pray wholeheartedly for those in authority, while remembering Christ's ultimate authority.
*Update: I want to make a slight clarification to the statement about Christian beliefs being objectively right. I certainly do not assume that every religious belief and doctrine I profess is 'correct', only that I believe the central tenets of Christianity to be Truth. (i.e. Jesus Christ crucified & resurrected, the Bible as God's Word)