November 07, 2006

Taking Religion Away From Politicians

It's election day in the United States, and I found a piece that fit in with both the message here and the election theme.

An Episcopal priest named Tom Ehrich wrote an op-ed piece for the Indianapolis Star titled "Preachers much reclaim religion from politicians." I couldn't agree more. Here are some excerpts I thought were particularly profound.

"Now that the unloosed genie of religious intolerance has replaced racial hatred and anti-communist blather as the go-to guy of desperate politicians, it is time for religious leaders of all stripes to take back the night."

"Christianity has always served better on the margins than at the center of power. When we walk hand in hand with power-seekers, we lose touch with the Gospel. When we grasp public funds, tax benefits and prestige, we stray far from a savior who commanded exactly the opposite."

"We look stupid parading alongside the corrupt. The dais and dalliance of modern politics aren't our place. Crumbs falling from Republican and Democratic tables aren't the manna we seek. We have nobler ideals than staying in office for another two years. We have food that endures to eternal life.'

I am reminded of the old cliche "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." As religious leaders like James Dobson have gained more political power, it has grossly corrupted any message they might bring from the pulput of a church. Leaders like him wind up preaching more about politics and less about Jesus Christ.

Any preacher who thinks politics is a higher calling should go in that direction because they don't beling in a pulpit. Anyone who believes influencing votes is more important than saving souls should not try the latter because they are obviously not hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.

We need more people to influence souls for Christ, not votes for Republicans.

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