As the 2012 elections begin to draw near we are going to have a huge amount of religious commentary to deal with.
It seems that the conservative Republican bandwagon is filled with religionists from many different backgrounds trying to find common ground for our irreligious nation.
Politics and religion is hardly ever a good match and it is not a match made in heaven.
The main reasons have to do with power and control.
Back in 1987 the Christian Coalition was formed by Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed. This organization was founded as a grass roots movement to work through the churches to draw together like thinkers to empower the already formed Christian Right and Moral Majority.
The Republican Party saw that the group was increasing in numbers and power and made room for them in their platform so they could use this growing collection of people to empower their political desires.
In case you didn’t know, the Republican Party is not a Christian or even a religious organization.
Neither is the Tea Party.
They are all about politics and they lean just enough to the religious right to draw upon the religious or moral standard voters.
I am not writing this to get people to vote for a different political party. We must all vote for those who best represent our personal beliefs.
I am writing to make my Christian friends aware of the fact that we are being used for the sake of empowerment.
We have a tendency to believe that we are pulling the strings of a certain political leaning when in fact this party has figured out how to get our vote and financial support.
Due to the political interests of many churches today the distribution of voter’s guides has become more important to some than spreading the Gospel message.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
What He was trying to tell us is our focus should be beyond this world.
We get so wrapped up into the political machinery of our nation that the message of Christ, the cross, redemption, the need for rebirth and the resurrection are being greatly clouded if not totally lost.
Protestants, Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Pentecostals, members of other religions and even Atheists are joining together, not for doctrinal purification, but for an earthly political power gain.
It’s not wrong to vote.
It’s not wrong to be politically active.
But when politics takes a higher position than the message of salvation through Christ alone, the Church is going to suffer.
C.S. Lewis writes in the “Screwtape Letters”, (Screwtape was a devil teaching Wormwood an under devil how to destroy his human subject) — “On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even to social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy (The Lord God) demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy (The Lord God) will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop. Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans round this little corner. Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that ‘only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilizations’. You see the little rift? ‘Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.’ That’s the game,”
Lewis wrote this in the 1940’s in England.
What foresight into our American culture today.
We, with the help of many Christian leaders, are more focused upon the politics of our day than on the Christ of our salvation.
We seem to be using our Christianity for political gains hoping to change the world and yet our calling is to save souls into heaven. It seems to me that many are using Christianity as a means to a political end and not for the purpose of sharing Christ with the lost.
I hope this makes Christians a bit uncomfortable about our focus of attention.
Politics do not save.
Only Christ saves humans from their sins.
Have a Happy Election Year.
Pastor Thomas R. Swain,
First Church of God,