Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Married to the GOP

David P. Gushee wrote an excellent editorial in todays USA Today titled A plea to evangelicals — from an evangelical

The "how" problem, among other things, is that they are married to the Republican Party and have therefore compromised the political independence of Christianity and the church. This is a huge mistake, an error of biblical proportions, because it verges on idolatry — after all, "You shall have no other gods before me."

One obvious sign of this was the assumption in the Christian Right that its leaders would endorse a Republican presidential candidate — that it was just a matter of which of those GOP gentlemen was the best Christian choice. Endorsing a Democrat was and is inconceivable.

Once any group of Christians gives itself away so completely to a political party, it ceases to be the church. The church becomes a branch office of the group's political party of choice — The First Republican Church in America. This is the root problem, and it leads to all the other specific mistakes that follow: using the church (or parachurch organizations) and its considerable resources for direct or veiled candidate endorsements, political strategizing, dissemination of essentially partisan "voter guides," and get-out-the-vote efforts. A whole lot more than tax status is threatened when churches go over so completely to the business of secular politics.

The "what" problem is more subtle but just as important. Conservative evangelicals generally offer an unbiblically narrow policy agenda focused on just a few moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage instead of tackling the full range of biblical concerns, which include poverty, oppression and war. And when they do engage some of these other issues, such as the foreign policy of our nation, they are (ironically) not Christian enough. Their faith doesn't inform their vote in a way that makes sense biblically. They are getting their values from somewhere else — not from Jesus — which is why they look so uncomfortable whenever anyone raises the "Jesus issue" in relation to their support for, say, torture.


Blogger Jeni said...

Keith, I really like it when you rip into the "church political element." Not because I am a democrat and enjoy seeing your point-counterpoint but because of the way you put things very succinctly to show this methodology is just plain wrong. It is so true that the other issues you stated are of huge proportions and so important overall to the welfare of ALL, and yet, they take a backseat constantly to other things that don't really belong on the agenda at all.

9:34 PM  
Blogger ckincaid@xdx.com said...

GOP stands for Grand Old Party. Sounds like mainstream white middle class American evangelical humility to me. . . !

8:10 AM  
Blogger Crusader said...

For a while I thought in a more right-wing way, I'm now somewhere in the middle, which seems to be a good balance.
Everything you posted here is very true, and I agree with it 100%.
It's all about Jesus, and if we don't make it about Him, but instead, these evangelical standards, these doctranes of man, things go VERY bad.

Then again, if we swing to far the other way, we are also not doing right by God's Word...

I am pretty open to supporting anyone who follows God faithfully...It's just hard for me to get past the massacre of children that so many far-lefters condone...

8:41 AM  

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