Monday, October 30, 2006

Religion in Politics

I might live in Texas, but I'm a Mid-Westerner by birth. Growing up, we didn't talk about religion much. In fact, the two religious conversations I had in High School were with evangelicals intent on damning everyone to hell who "hadn't accepted Jesus in their hearts". As a non-evangelical, yet quiet, Christian, I politely disagreed. Okay, not so politely. One girl who asked me, "Are you saved?" got the response, "From what?" That cheeky comment earned me a you-can't-save-'em-all sigh and withering look.

In Michigan, religion just didn't come up in polite conversation. Everything, including God, is bigger in Texas. In Texas, we've been asked, before treating patients, "Have you accepted Jesus?" This question irks me. Does it matter? I mean, good grief, if the world's best brain surgeon was a fire-breathing Atheist (okay, morose, nihilistic Atheist, but you know what I mean) would you refrain from the surgery for religious reasons? That's just stupid. Ditto sexual orientation. Ditto political orientation.

When it comes to politicians, I don't want to hear about whether they fear or love Jesus. Shut up, you! The best Christians walk the walk, and let their walk display their beliefs. So now, Harold Ford Jr. is babbling about his relationship with Je-zusss. Yuck. He is talking about how Republican's fear the Lord, they don't combine their fear and their love. Oh, please. Now he's a theologian and sociology scholar deconstructing Republican's views on God?

I voted for Bush. Twice. Don't apologize for it. Don't care that he's a born-again Christian. When he said that his favorite philosopher was Jesus, I inwardly groaned. First, I don't really consider Jesus a philosopher, but I get what he meant. Second, the idiot reporter was obviously trying to trap Bush and make him look stupid. See, this guy's never read a book in his life. He thinks Plato is something you make spaghetti hair with. Huh-huh. Huh-huh.

Obviously, the aforementioned politicians believe that their religious beliefs get them votes. Let me rephrase that. These politicians believe that talking religion or acting religious gets them votes. Note Hillary's boldly displayed cross (puh-leeze). Note Ford's waxing elephant about Jesus.

All I'm saying, and this might be a Mid-Western thing, is that I distrust people who have to tell me how religious they are--politician, friend or anyone else, for that matter. I'm still not all that comfortable with people saying "Jesus this" or "Jesus that", like he's sitting at the next table drinking a mocha latte. My concern in America today is that people "have the form of godliness but deny its power."

I'm interested in substance. If you're gonna talk, politicians, tell me what your plans are when you get to the Senate. If Jesus ain't your co-pilot, we'll see soon enough.

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And for your information, here's the rest of the quote from 2 Timothy 3:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Is there a better description of America today?

2 comments:

MaxedOutMama said...

No, there isn't a better description!

"Denying its power" sums it up. It's the inversion of a Biblical relationship with God, rather than the fulfillment of it. To use faith as a means rather than an end....

However, does this describe the American people or the American political/academic/journalistic class?

Dr. Melissa said...

I'm quite positive the political class is embodied in this scripture. I fear that the scripture describes too many Americans, too.

The national consciousness has been so degraded. Every vile thing pours out of the media--orgiastic violence, callous portrayals of sex. Children give one another blow jobs on buses and in the back of classrooms and it's no big deal.

The most popular TV shows are gruesome crime scene investigation shows, "ripped from the headlines".

Do I sound like a grandma yet? "The kids these days!!!" Society has changed so much in the last fifteen years.

So I think that maybe it does apply to America. Over 95% of Americans believe in God and 40% of internet users view porn sites each month. I'm guessing that the God-believers are hoping in a rather toothless God.