Thursday, June 26, 2008

Politics as Religion

I simply don't resonate with people who see their politics as religion. No one (or virtually no one) would admit they treat their politics like their religous creed, but many do just that. It goes on in both major U.S. parties, although this election cycle the stronger manifestation of this surrounds Obama.

We elect politicians. I am neither cynical nor rosy-eyed about them. For the most part politicians are decent minded people who want to do good. I find it highly distasteful and uncivil when it is assumed that one is morally suspect by simply holding to different views on what are complex and ever changing policy matters.

As Christians -- whether right leaning or left leaning -- we need to resist this impulse to invest religious sentiments and passions in political candidates. There is one messiah and his name is not John McCain or Barack Obama. I think Christians have decided their vote on this when they were baptized.

Now I am not an anabaptist or a Christian anarchist so I do not have a problem with Christians who value voting or being involved in politics. I recognize there are real life stakes in these issues. But I think one needs to recognize most politicians are neither as wonderful as their supporters believe or as horrid as their detractors claim. They are people. People pursuing their ambitions, doing the best they can, living the same insecurities we all live. Support, vote, campaign for - yes. But the desire to invest religous sentiments and hope in them should be resisted -- especially by subjects of King Jesus.


+ Alan said...

Good, balanced words man. And I do appreciate those Christians who value voting and participation in the governmental system that way. I understand it, and I would never say it was horrible or wrong.

I would echo your caveat though. This is one of the reasons I have chosen a path of neutrality on these issues. I'm not reeeaally an Anabaptist, or course, but I have been influenced by some of their writings. And in the Catholic world, there's no ban on voting, but for clergy there is a ban on being directly involved in the election process or running for office, for much the same reason that I abstain.

There is a terrible tendency to "take sides" between God's People over there and God's People over here. I'd rather stay out of it. I think there are good reasons for this kind of a neutral stance for a Christian, but I'd never say it was a necessary stance for sure. Peace.

#Debi said...

Sooooo, are you saying the Obama is not the Antichrist?