Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Politics and Religion

In California there was a speaker at a church that preached against war. Since the current administration brought war it is in essence a sermon against this administration. This brought the IRS to investigate this church and the church almost lost its tax-exempt status. The IRS ended that investigation basically saying that the church was guilty of being political but the IRS was not going to punish them for it.

I find this incredible because Christianity has always been very political. Jesus treated woman as humans having rights and certain expectations of dignity. This is incredible to the old standard that women had been treated at the time. Jesus was being very political. When Jesus was talking about turning the other cheek it was not a message of sub service but a message of equity. Depending on how you hit someone determined whether you were hitting them as an equality or with an attitude of superiority. Turning the other cheek meant a person was forcing the other to treat them as an equality. Equality and justice have always been very political.

Martin Luther King Jr. is a very political figure but he was also a religious leader. A Christian whose beliefs lead him to fight for political change and equality. The original Martin Luther was a religious leader who became a political leader leading to the creation of the protestant churches. Martin Luther broke the Catholic Churches hold of European politics that lead to the Catholic Church returning to more orthodox beliefs and practices. Christian churches are hotbeds for change and progression.

Christianity’s tradition of political involvement is not something that can be turned off. The Bible demands people not sin and then act as God would want them to act. They are not to take advantage of others, be violent, allow evil to continue. A Christian who honestly pursues God finds that they become political trying to align what the Bible says with how they are supposed to live. Christians are supposed to defend the voiceless and not help the oppressor.

The laws that are supposed to prevent churches from being political are anathema to what the church does. The church is intrinsically political and only when the gospel is watered down to nothing does the church stop being political. Churches do need to stand up and continue with their political tradition instead of kowtowing to political wishes.

As an aside the republican party is not anymore Christian then the democratic party. They both are self serving without many politicians honestly living the religions they proclaim.

1 comment:

Dan said...

So, are you implying that the church should give up its tax-exempt status in order to be able to speak about politics?

It's kind of funny that the church pushes for no seperation between church and state by bringing God into the public forum, yet simultaneously doesn't bring politics into the house of God.

Interesting, indeed...