“God is not a Republican.”

“Genuine Christians are not defined by their involvement in activist politics.”

“Democrats and socially responsible Christians are not synonymous.”

Since at least the early 70’s, when the unspoken social contract based on Judeao-Christian values began to unravel; there has been a troubling tendency to politicize our religious preferences. Mormon and conservative media personality Glenn Beck’s challenge to churches to again reclaim the moral leadership of the nation is not a new development.  It is just the latest expression of our tendency to claim that concern for values is a spiritual concern (rightly so) but to equate such values with our personal political philosophies.  And in doing that we have begun to divide our political candidates like the sheep and the goats.  Good Christians have to a particular political position. In mainline churches, good Christians are persons who embrace the social agenda of the Democrats.  In evangelical circles, the small government, and business orientation of the Republicans is the true faith.

Christians should participate in the political process.  They should have a social conscience, be proactive citizens, and vote according to their values. But those values need to be based on biblical values, not a party line that is always cultural than Christian, closer to the world’s values than genuinely biblical.

Reality check. No political party in America is dedicated to accomplishing the purposes of God. All of them are committed to getting  candidates elected to continue or to claim their share of power. None of them believe they are under the headship of Jesus Christ. Even when they use religious language, they are still dedicated to the interests of men.  Electability not fidelity to God’s truth is what they are concerned about.  Electability that genuinely comes from appealing to the preferences and prejudices of the public, not seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Who is the better Christian? Obama or Bush, Reagan or Roosevelt, Carter or Kennedy? And how is that measured? By their religious piety or practices? By their church going? By their denominational affiliation? By their social liberalism or their morality campaigns? By seeing their political agenda is spiritual terms?  The implication being that God will always bless the better Christian.

The outcome is the denigration of one candidate or party as anti-god and the elevation of the other as the party of God. The true saints in the party you do not  prefer are not recognized. And the shallow saints of the party you prefer are not held to accountabilility.

And for persons not yet Christian, the door is closed to God,but  not because they don’t agree with the political agendas of people who are claiming God is on their side. And for some of these people the door is closed to God because they can’t love a God who lets politics define his character and set his agenda.

(C) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn

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