I’m a little nervous because I’m about to grab the third rail of blogging – politics. No, I’m not going to spew hatred at you. Yes, you will (probably) know where I stand. Feel free to hate my guts, if you want, but know that I don’t hate yours if you disagree with me. I do understand, though, if you have strong beliefs that I disagree with. I do my best not to hate anyone, but it’s pretty hard to not have strong feelings about issues of life and death, freedom and tyranny.
Ideas matter. They aren’t just for academic exercise in ivory towers. They have real effects on the lives of real people. When the unemployment rate skyrockets because of the policies of a government committed to a certain ideology, there are actual people behind those numbers. I know – I was one of them.
Rather than engage in an argument about conservative vs. liberal ideologies, I’d like to ask a question to my Christian friends. What did Jesus think the role of government should be? Did He say, “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Your government knows that you need these things. Seek first the government and its laws, and all these things will be given to you as well”?
No, He did not. He said,
“So, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:31-33, emphasis added.
What happens when we ask the government to take the place of God and His Church? This is why we have the whole “separation of church and state” idea in the United States – not to save atheists from being offended by a prayer at a high school football game, but to save the people from a government that tries to replace God. Look at the nations where they’ve tried this idea throughout history. When Government replaces God, people get slaughtered. Have you ever heard of Stalin, Mao, Hitler? How about the Roman government – does the phrase “lions’ den” ring any bells?
“You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3
I don’t think God was kidding when He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. In light of the first of the Ten Commandments (quoted above), and at the risk of being called a partisan (or worse), I suggest that we might want to be careful before electing anyone claiming to be “The One” again. To be perfectly honest, I got frightened during the last presidential election because I saw so many Christians whipped into a religious frenzy over a presidential candidate! We don’t worship our leaders in the United States! But, many people bought into the idea that the government should do the work of God and His Church. When they heard words like “hope” and “change” and phrases like “social justice,” a lot of Christians jumped on the big government bandwagon. I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, that ought to scare the daylights out of any freedom-loving American, not to mention Christians.
Now, put your pitchforks away – I was equally frightened by the previous president’s “faith-based initiatives.” When I heard that I thought, This is not a good idea for churches, etc., to get into bed with the government. I want the government to leave churches and ministries alone and let them do the work God has called them to do. I do not want government taking control of the work of the Church. In addition to wanting to obey God, I’m not terribly impressed with the government’s track record.
Like I said, ideas matter. Frankly, I think many people, especially many of my Christian brethren, need to have an awakening akin to the one had by Rupert (played by Jimmy Stewart) in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rope. After discovering that two of his former students have committed murder because they actually believed and wanted to live out the ideas of their professor, Rupert is confronted by the danger of ideas in action – his own.
“This world and the people in it have always been dark and incomprehensible to me, and I’ve tried to clear my way with logic and superior intellect. And you’ve thrown my own words right back in my face, and you were right to. If nothing else a man should stand by his words, but you’ve given my words a meaning that I never dreamed of, and you’ve tried to twist them into a cold, logical excuse for your ugly murder… Tonight you’ve made me ashamed of every concept I ever had of superior or inferior beings, and I thank you for that shame because now I know that we are, each of us, a separate human being,… with the right to live and work and think as individuals…”
“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’” – John 18:36
I ask you – Whom do you want as your king – God or Government?