Too many Christians think if they shout loud enough and gain political strength the world will be improved. That is a false doctrine. I have never seen anyone "converted" to a Christian's point of view (and those views are not uniform) through political power. I have frequently seen someone's views changed after they have experienced true conversion and then live by different standards and live for goals beyond which political party controls the government.
Repeatedly in the Scriptures, which TV ministers regularly and selectively quote, are teachings, admonitions and commands that are antithetical to the high-octane rhetoric spanning the ideological and theological spectrum - from Pat Robertson to Jesse Jackson.
Here is a partial list: God's strength is made perfect in human weakness; humble yourself and God will exalt you; he who would be a leader among you must first be your servant; love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you; pray in secret, not publicly; give to the poor; God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; the last place at the table; the widow's mite (the message is that she gave all she had, not great wealth); the mustard seed (about the smallest amount of genuine faith); the washing of feet (as demonstrated by Jesus).
These virtues are virtually absent among the "resounding gongs and clanging cymbals" one sees on TV.
If people who bear the label "Christian" want to reduce these embarrassments, which interfere with the proclamation and the hearing of "true religion," they should refrain from sending money to TV preachers and contribute more to their local church.
Local giving not only would allow the giver to better monitor how the money is spent, but also, if the pastor occasionally says something he should not have said, the embarrassment will remain within the walls and not be a rhetorical shot heard around the world.
Pat Robertson eventually apologized for his remarks about assassinating Hugo Chavez. His penance should be to retire and to take his bombastic conservative and liberal colleagues with him.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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