Religious Foolishness: Political Endorsements From the Pulpit
Three days prior to the 2012 presidential election, I was in a church listening to a preacher talking about “voting your conscience,” before he began his biblical message.
He was clearly angry and shaken by President Barack Obama’s first-term leadership skills, or lack thereof. Like many aware Christians and unsaved people alike, he saw the state of our nation and our world. He knew that we were (and are) heading away from the Lord’s covering at a quick rate.
He therefore used his position and stature to hold candidate Mitt Romney as the proper choice for the Christian voter.
This pastor was a half-century deep into his ministry. He was what is sometimes known as “a pastor’s pastor.” That is, someone who other reverends look up to; someone who has mentored and taught younger men and women of God to great, lasting effect. A godly man who is rightfully respected and loved.
All of that being said, he was greatly deceived in endorsing Mitt Romney for the presidency. Or, in decrying Barack Obama, however he chose to frame it. Perhaps he was aware that he was choosing the lesser of two evils. If so, he did not let that congregation in on that knowledge. No; he made it sound as if Romney were a good and right choice.
Knowingly or not, he made it seem as if our two party system was proper. Maybe he couldn't get too deep and blow the people's minds. Maybe he felt he couldn't just come out and say that the entire voting process was fixed and a distraction to the average American.
Did you know you can choose neither evil? Did you know you could simply choose not to vote for either candidate in a political race?
I'm aware that most of us have been conditioned and scared into thinking that not voting offends God Himself. But this is simply not true.
Where in the King James Bible are we commanded to vote when there's no valid choice in our minds?
Political parties are not going to unite the nation nor the world, wrote one pastor. It is sad that so many Christians today foolishly think that the Republicans, or some other political party, are going to save the nation. There’s not a dime’s difference between Democrats and Republicans.
To paraphrase Malcolm X, who was describing the world’s system of racial injustice, just because the knife is six inches in my back, instead of twelve inches, doesn’t mean that I’m not still bleeding Which side you say is buried more deeply doesn't really matter.
Depending on any man or woman in political office to improve the world is a horrible expectation, that will leave us disappointed. Let’s look at a real-world example:
In the early 1990s, Texas gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush pointed to John 14:6 and John 3:16, which declare that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Texas being a hotbed for Christian conservatives, this stance helped him get elected.
Less than a decade later, George W. had abandoned his convictions, if they were ever genuine. To become president, he did things like take a foot-kissing tour of Israel and gave syncophantic speeches to Jewish elite, which apparently all serious presidential contenders must do. In the course of his eventual election to Commander-in-Chief, Bush sidestepped the true gospel.
“Judgments about heaven do not belong in the realm of politics or this world,” Bush announced in a formal statement he made on the subject (Austin American-Statesman, online archives, December 13, 1998, page B3). He was absolutely right, in a limited sense. And that is why a man of God cannot truly serve the kingdoms of this world, and the kingdom of the Lord, concurrently. It is impossible! Politicans are necessarily for sale, and it goes much deeper than money.
Our spirits are up for sale every day. We make a conscious decision to whom we belong: The Lord, or Satan (the world). Not choosing, sometimes known as agnosticism, is choosing the world.
The exclusive deity of Jesus had to be ditched, and it was, by Bush, wrote Pastor Texe Marrs. Bush had help from his mother Barbara, and the ecumenical Billy Graham (who is a genuine contender for the faith, but who research shows is, at best, apostate).
That venerable older pastor who harbored such disdain for President Obama that it was leaking from his eyes did a disservice to those who listened to him. Soldiers do not entangle themselves with civilian (worldly) affairs. They don’t endorse political candidates from the pulpit. That’s like telling your congregants which grocery to shop or car to drive. That’s like inviting Herod into the church to speak.
At one time, Republican-conservative principles might have matched up with Christian ideals. But that is no longer the case. The Christian who involves him- or herself in politics needs to understand and digest this.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. —Romans 16:18
Lots of people are frustrated with politics today. That is an understatement, of course. Social and mainstream media alike are filled with posts and links from people who are angry. In August 2013, there was a story originating from Raleigh, North Carolina, about Christ followers who were threatened with arrest because they were feeding homeless people near a public park. These believers had performed this service for years, making sure not to violate existing laws nor to impede citizens. Obviously some new policy had been drafted, maybe even with this group in mind.
This is an example of the wickedness in our world today. You can’t even hand out food to hungry folks without getting in trouble! People can get upset with these incidents all they want. But they normally miss the sickness, in favor of swatting away at the symptoms. The sickness is in our own hearts, says Jeremiah 17:9. Our sin-nature can’t be cured by therapy, rehabilitation, being “good people,” or harsh punishments. The answer is submission to a belief in Jesus.
The Christian cannot focus attention on sins like homosexuality, while ignoring heteros who are fornicating, or tacitly approving of abortion. He cannot be angry about the above story, about the encroaching police state that is being erected to all sides of us, while absorbing godless shows like The Voice and Glee with no consideration. The believer can’t be outraged at the news of school massacres, yet giggle and sing along with Christ-hating pop radio songs. It’s all connected.
The connection is why the well-meaning pastor who endorses and promotes right wing politics, and those who agree with him, may need to check his own heart, before slamming Obama or other liberals.
“Check your heart” and “Guard your heart” is godly advice for all of us. Because none of us are truly righteous, no matter how long we’ve been following Jesus Christ; no matter how admired we are by others. The Bible tells us so in Romans 3:10. The best we can hope to be is a “good sinner.”