Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Still 'partisan'

With the increasing irrelevance of the "religious right" nationally, I had been hoping that evangelical Christians would begin to leave behind political ideology and focus on Kingdom business.

At least here in Pittsburgh, apparently some folks didn't get that memo.

Last week, I walked into a Family Bookstore and saw, up-front, a high number of copies for sale of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's new book "Going Rogue."

Last month, one of the local independent mega-churches hosted an appearance by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, perhaps on a speaking tour. While the former Arkansas governor was formerly a pastor, I seriously doubt that his appearance was spiritual in nature -- the pastor of that church subscribed to the Fox News Channel's phony "war on Christmas" five years ago.

Now, this has nothing to do with my personal views on them, who may be positioning themselves to run for president in 2012 on the Republican ticket -- I have always seen Palin as bad for this country, while Huckabee by contrast seems reasonable. My concern is that, again, we evangelicals are perceived as stooges for the GOP and the secular conservative movement that basically runs the party today -- and then have the nerve to complain about that.

Consider this: If you were a homosexual, walked into a church and heard nothing but condemnation of gays, you wouldn't return. Similarly, if you were a registered Democrat and heard about these, you too would feel uncomfortable because they give the impression that following Jesus meant subscribing to a specific ideological agenda and that, really, you had to switch to be true to Him.

The pastor of another local mega-church noted over the summer that the political breakdown of the suburb where it's located was 53 percent Democratic and 47 percent Republican and that the Church was called to reach all of those people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But when churches and other institutions give the impression that you have to choose sides, especially since the Democratic Party does get some things right, they cause the kind of friction we've seen especially since the 1990s. The Sojourners community in Washington, D.C. sells a bumper sticker, which I have on my car, with the following message: "God is NOT a Republican -- or a Democrat."

No comments: