Friday, February 24, 2012

Thoughts on Faith and Politics

by Rev. H. Michael Johnson

As a citizen, I am pleased that in our nation we can debate the issues and qualities of those who we consider electing into offices to serve every person. We are in the midst of watching our democratic system at work in choosing leadership.

As a Christian, I am appalled at the abuse of the Scriptures to serve a political purpose. Candidates promote the worst kind of religion that is judgmental, harsh, legalistic, hate-filled. In seeking to win votes, prayer is turned into a weapon and Jesus is given a party label. They trash the Messiah’s directives to love all and serve all with their stump speeches.

Religion is a powerful weapon and has always been used by faith groups to dehumanize others and justify attacks on the lives of those whom they wish to conquer. Christians often use texts picked out of context to denounce their political opponents and turn people’s trust in God into shouts of rage just as Satan used the Scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness to serve the purposes of Satan.

Jesus came, not with the political power of an earthly kingdom, but with God’s power that stands up to the darkness of this world raining justice on people and not an angry religion. The power of Jesus sought to call people’s lives to change toward the good; crossing any cultural boundary to lift up the fallen, hurting, the lonely, the forgotten. The power of Jesus loves enemies and sees all humanity as worthy of coming to God’s table.

Jesus came to be a light to all nations. Let us tell the true story.

Michael Johnson is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Rowland, NC. This article originally appeared in their church newsletter, First Baptist News.

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