Jesus, Christians and Politics

Frank Turek

10/31/2010 12:01:00 AM - Frank Turek

The United States Congress was in a rare joint session. All 435 representatives and 100 senators were in attendance, and the C-SPAN-TV cameras were rolling. The members were gathered together to hear a speech by a descendant of George Washington. But what they thought would be a polite speech of patriotic historical reflections quickly turned into a televised tongue-lashing. With a wagging finger and stern looks, Washington’s seventh-generation grandson declared,

        Woe to you, egotistical hypocrites! You are full of greed and self-indulgence. Everything you do is done for appearances: You make pompous speeches and grandstand before these TV cameras. You demand the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats wherever you go. You love to be greeted in your districts and have everyone call you “Senator” or “Congressman.” On the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness! You say you want to clean up Washington, but as soon as you get here you become twice as much a son of hell as the one you replaced!

      Woe to you, makers of the law, you hypocrites! You do not practice what you preach. You put heavy burdens on the citizens, but then opt out of your own laws!

      Woe to you, federal fools! You take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, but then you nullify the Constitution by confirming judges who make up their own laws.

      Woe to you, blind hypocrites! You say that if you had lived in the days of the Founding Fathers, you never would have taken part with them in slavery. You say you never would have agreed that slaves were the property of their masters but would have insisted that they were human beings with unalienable rights. But you testify against yourselves because today you say that unborn children are the property of their mothers and have no rights at all! Upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed in this country. You snakes! You brood of vipers! You have left this great chamber desolate! How will you escape being condemned to hell!

Of course such an address never really took place. Who would be so blunt and rude to address the nation’s leaders that way? Certainly no one claiming to be a Christian. Are you sure?

Jesus said something very similar. What? Sweet and gentle Jesus? Absolutely. If you read the twenty-third chapter of Matthew you’ll see that much of my fictitious speech is adapted from the real speech Jesus made to the Pharisees. Contrary to the spineless Jesus invented today by those who want an excuse to be spineless themselves, the real Jesus taught with authority and did not tolerate error. When people were wrong, Jesus corrected them and sometimes he got in their faces to do so. 

While Jesus was often more diplomatic, he knew that sometimes you need to be blunt with people.  Sometimes you need to be direct instead of dancing around the issues.  In fact, if you fail to be direct, you risk enabling people, allowing them to continue on their merry way, destroying themselves and the nation.

“Oh, but Jesus wouldn’t say that kind of thing to politicians,” you say.  “He wouldn’t get involved in politics.”

Think again. 

Who were the Pharisees? They were not just the religious leaders but also the political leaders of Israel!  You mean Jesus was involved in politics?  Yes! Paul was too. He addressed the political leaders of his day and even used the privileges of his Roman citizenship to protect himself and advance the Gospel.

But didn’t Jesus say, “Give unto Caesar.”  Yes.  So what?  We all ought to pay taxes.  But that doesn’t mean we ought not get involved in politics.  In our country, you can not only elect “Caesar,” you can be “Caesar!”

Jesus told us to be “salt” and “light,” and he didn’t say be salt and light in everything but politics.  Christians are to be salt and light in everything they do, be it in their church, in their business, in their school, or in their government.

That doesn’t mean establishing a “Theocracy.”  Christians should be great protectors of liberty, including freedom of (not from) religion. In fact, having Christians involved in government happens to be advantageous for even non-Christians.  How so? 

It is only the Christian worldview that secures the unalienable rights of the individual in God— rights that include the right to life, liberty, equal treatment, and religious freedom.  Islam won’t do it.  Islam means submission to Allah and Sharia law.  It doesn’t protect individual rights.  Neither will Hinduism (the Caste system) or outright secularism, which offers no means to ground rights in anything other than the whims of a dictator. Only Christianity grounds the rights of the individual in God, and also realizes that since God doesn't force anyone to adhere to one set of religious beliefs, neither should the government.

I often hear Christians claiming that we ought to just “preach the Gospel” and not get involved in politics.  This is not only a false dilemma; it’s stupid (how’s that for direct?).   If you think “preaching the Gospel” is important like I do, then you ought to think that politics is important too.  Why?  Because politics and law affects your ability to preach the Gospel!  If you don’t think so, go to some of the countries I’ve visited—Iran, Saudi Arabia, China.  You can’t legally “preach the Gospel” in those countries—or practice other aspects of your religion freely—because politically they’ve ruled it out. 

It’s already happening here. There are several examples where religious freedoms were usurped by homosexual orthodoxy. This summer a Christian student was removed from Eastern Michigan University’s (a public school) counseling program because, due to her religious convictions, she would not affirm homosexuality to potential clients.  A Judge agreed (a similar case is pending in Georgia).  In Massachusetts, Catholic charities closed their adoption agency rather than give children to homosexual couples as the state mandated.  In Ohio, University of Toledo HR Director Crystal Dixon was fired for writing a letter to the editor in her local newspaper that disagreed with homosexual practice. 

More violations of religious liberty are on the way from the people currently in charge.  Lesbian activist Chai Feldbaum, who is a recess appointment by President Obama to the EEOC, recently said regarding the inevitable conflict between homosexuality and religious liberty, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” So much for tolerance.  The people who say they’re fighting for tolerance are the most intolerant, totalitarian people in politics. 

Getting involved in politics is necessary if for no other reason to protect your religious liberty, and the liberties of us all.  So if you’re a Christian, follow the example of Christ—call out hypocrites and fools, and vote them out on Tuesday! 

Oh, I almost forgot. If you’re a pastor and you’re worried about your tax-exempt status, please remember two things:  1) you have more freedom than you think to speak on political and moral issues from the pulpit, and 2) more importantly, you’re called to be salt and light, not tax-exempt.   

If you’d like the complete case for Christian involvement get Jesus Is Involved In Politics!  by Neil Mammen.