Political campaign ads have hit the airwaves of our television and radio sets, if you are still old school like me and find these archaic forms of communication a viable source of information and entertainment. We of an analogue mindset make ourselves vulnerable, then, to the onslaught of messages, where politicians of every political stripe show that they will shamelessly approve “this message”, which relies on shaming and bullying to denigrate the opposition.
My concern, however, is not with the hypocritical machinations of the professional merchants of campaign vengeance. It is more with those of us who follow in their wake and accept behavior we tell our children not to emulate and silently find deplorable in those we associate with in the workplace, our neighborhoods and – most disconsolately – in our places of worship. The Golden Rule has become as anachronistic as a vacuum tube and lost its luster as a social grace in the American way of life.
I have had occasions to speak from a pulpit of evangelical sensibilities, but have never used such occasions to speak about politics. Partly it is in deference to the IRS rules, which deny free speech to the faithful when it comes to campaigns and legislation. But it is more a matter of my own sense of Christian ethics. I believe it is inappropriate for anyone, minister or lay person, to tell others how to vote. Our provenance is about personal behavior rooted in the command to love one another as our Lord continually loves us and not to judge the merits of their opinions. I do, though, have my own strongly held opinion about the followers of Jesus and the politics of any nation in which we reside.
We can only serve one master. The biblical illustration of the principal directly applies to God versus money. It can and should be applied to all aspects of our lives and in the context of this message I would say that you cannot serve God and any political party.When we read about or hear that a congressional vote followed strict party lines, we can be assured that the minions of the nation’s capital are heeding the voice of their political master and not the inner voice of a well conceived conscience. This type of slavery is demeaning and not an appropriate standard of behavior for those who know the truth and have been set free indeed.
If I had the influence to call people out of a relationship this world in its wisdom has to offer it would be for those who identify as followers of Jesus to shed themselves of any identity with every political party. We should approach each candidate of each office on an individual basis and only vote for those who exemplify the best of what we believe to be true about life, love, compassion, mercy and sanctity.
We sing songs about this world not being our home but live otherwise. Our own hypocrisy can be easily seen in how we succumb to the political schemes of others. It is a blemish on our collective identity as representatives of the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the benefit of all, regardless of any of the earthly markers whereby we are generally judged and found to either be acceptable to our own kind or wanting by those who are not.
The Apostle Peter called us a chosen people and a holy nation. Holiness is not to be confused with perfection of any kind. Rather it is simply a designation that we have been set aside for a dedicated purpose, chosen to be a nation without geopolitical boundaries of any kind.
We, the chosen people, need to be and must be involved with our communities. We are tasked with giving a cup of water to the least of our Savior’s brothers and sisters, which for us means without reservation.There is a way to do that without having to cover ourselves with the mantel of a corrupt political system, perpetuated by those whose primary goal is to get elected and whose secondary goal is to get re-elected. Such a person has self-confessed that Mammon is their god, leaving morality and ethics to be determined by whatever message is most expedient for effecting the next successful campaign. We have a better message to offer and a better way to live.