Religion and Politics

Said Politics to Religion, “I Want A Divorce!”

If President Obama’s recent political support of same-sex marriage has done nothing else, it’s ignited discussion about the relationship between church and government.

It annoys me to no end that so many in the Christian community want to equate American freedom with biblical doctrine. It’s so common to hear “America is a Christian Nation,” and that “if we don’t go back to following God, we’re gonna receive his judgment,” and other such, frankly, frustrating epithets that make for great sound bytes, but have little to no real substance. Do we really think about what we say before we say it. It’s no wonder a generation of free-thinkers and activists reject the ” talking loud, saying nothing” nature of the Christian American church.

So let this be a call to all of us Holy-Ghost-having, cross-bearing, Lord’s-Prayer quoting, little-Jesuses. Politics has asked for a divorce. And we should acquiesce its request. Quickly.

Entitlement and the Church

It doesn’t matter the subject — prayer in schools, legalizing abortion, same-sex marriage, capital punishment — the Christian church, in large part, has come to expect its rules for life should to be America’s rules for life. Maybe not down to every detail (after all, we haven’t made fornication illegal yet. And we certainly don’t expect American government to take care of the poor the way Jesus asks his followers to), but for the most part, we expect the Bible to carry some weight in American legislation. For some unsubstantiated reason, we feel we deserve it. We don’t.

Newsflash:  America did not accept Jesus as its personal Lord and Savior.

America’s view on Jesus matches its view for Allah, Buddha, even Satan. As long as your religion is peaceful, who”God” is referring to on our money is up to you. Jesus’s name is no where to be found in our Constitution. Thus, it is not America’s job to go out to the ends of the world preaching and baptizing in the name of Jesus, which happens to be what being a Christian is really all about. It is not the job of the American Congress to teach, or even exemplify, a life of “loving our neighbor as we do ourselves.”  We are not entitled to have our religion trump the others just because a few of the values in the Constitution happen to be in the Bible. It’s time we got over it.

America’s job is to nurture freewill and freedom, to protect the innocent from the powerful, and to create an environment of opportunity for all its members in a fair, equal way. If freedom is America’s currency, then the government is merely an employer dolling out freedom checks. As recipients, the church has to cash their own checks and pay their own bills. America’s not going to pay our bills for us.

The Church and Responsibility

This is the problem with putting too many eggs in one basket. When the bottom breaks, then we have an eggy mess all over the floor and we don’t know what to do. It’s time we took our eggs out of the political basket and got more creative with our mission. Not once, ever, do we see Jesus using any political system to spread his message. Ever. And when he did have to stand before Pilate, he spoke in riddles. And yet, we, his imitators, are so dependent on American government to back our stance that when it doesn’t, we’re ready to say the country’s on the way down, as if religious politics is the only way to fight.

I’m convinced that, when God considers America, he’s not gonna ask why the right laws weren’t passed. He’s not going to “bring wrath” on America because it’s leadership has turned their backs on Him (especially since they never pledged allegiance to Jesus in the first place). Instead, he’s gonna like at you and me. He’s going to look at Christians and the thousands (maybe millions) of Christian churches across this nation, and he’s going to ask, “How can a nation with so much Jesus be so far from me?” He’s going to want to know why those who claim to love Jesus are so ineffective in their witness, when the one real Jesus has been shaking up the world for over two millenniums.

Here’s the real deal, so don’t miss it. If America is immoral, it’s because we have put our efforts in the wrong places. It’s because we have not been the unified force, the  slice of God’s kingdom pie to society that we are meant to be. Instead of depending on Congress and becoming frustrated with politicking, we should be concerned with the politicking happening in our neighborhood churches. We should be asking what’s in the way of Christians working together. We should be lighting the fires so that they can shine more brightly in an increasingly dark society. While men are marrying men, we can’t seem to get two churches a stone’s throw apart from each other to present a lasting, impactful united front to its local community.

The spiritual battle in this country is not for politicians to fight. That’s the job of the Christian church. And it’s time we came together as one body and empowered each function to engage. Let’s quit crying over a marriage that should never have been, get up off the bench, and fight our own battles. That’s what one man did 2000 or so years ago.Funny, he didn’t over depend on government or religious people. I’m starting to see why.

Do you feel America is a Christian Nation? How do you define “Christian Nation”?

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dark sig Said Politics to Religion, I Want A Divorce!
The posts on this site are my own personal opinions. They are not read or approved by LegacyChurch in Plano, TX before posting and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of LegacyChurch.

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 Said Politics to Religion, I Want A Divorce!
Antwuan Malone is a freelance writer and blogger about Christian topics that challenge church status quo. He is passionate about the Christian community regaining its voice and authority in society. He believes the first step to achieving this is real, candid conversations among and between believers and non-believers.
Antwuan MaloneSaid Politics to Religion, “I Want A Divorce!”
7 comments
Kris Shiplet
Kris Shiplet

I agree. I keep saying that if we Christians want to stop gay marriage from becoming legal nationwide, we have to come up with a non-religious argument. Quoting Leviticus and Romans 1 will not stop it. I don't know if you've seen my tweets, but I want to invite you to check out my preaching blog. I'm in the middle of a series called "Restore the Church." "The Ship Preaches On" can be found at: theshippreacheson.blogspot.com

Antoine RJ Wright
Antoine RJ Wright

A christian nation... no. A federation of some Christ-afirming states alongside agnostic, mixed, and non-faith ones, sure. We've always been that mosaic (that is, if you lived within the classes of this federation in which faith wasn't your calling card to social advancement). Side note: Jesus didn't use the political systems of his day is a bit of a misnomer, he did. Phrasaic (sp?) law was the political system (remember, while it was a colony of Rome, Israel was largely left towards self government, a product that the Herods and Pharasees/Scribs very much took advantage of). In coming against their methods of (mis)interpreting the text, missing the signs of the Messiah, and disregarding their very own "foundations" he very much meant a political(-like) change. The people of Israel were designated within a theo-sociolist style of government. In no way could you come against the observation of theo-government without also addressing the social-governents in their context. Side note 2: The yolk of state and church has its foundations not in the former;y mentioned contexts, but in the national church contexts most prominentaly put forth by Constantine. It was his adoration of the cross that ignited the use of faith as a political tool such that the development of the (western) church closely followed and modeled the political activities. To that end, to say that there was not or cannot not be a relationship between church and state (not saying that you have said such, speaking generally), is actually misrepresenting the development of the faith to this point. It was the misappropriation of faith towards political matters that sparked the development of some of the governments of the federation (New Amsterdam, Carolina, Georgia, etc), and it was the appropriation of specifc aspects of Christian theology that founded and stabalized the aspects of federation (Pennsylvania, Maryland, New England/Mass, RI, etc). How the governments saw their relationship to faith also determined their policy upon and after formation (OK, Kansas, Arkansas, California, etc). As with many nations, we have threads of good and bad application of Christianity. What we don't have, and has been the case for most of Christendom, is a consistency of approach, faith, or doctrine. Its in that aspect, that we don't speak the same things, nor read/see the same things, that we find our break in application, and therefore, a break in conversation. A study of history would solve a lot of this, but that's not the goal of media these days... at least, not the media within our federation of states and faiths.

Kris Shiplet
Kris Shiplet

Antwuan, I can't begin to say how much I agree with you on this one. It's always driven me crazy when fellow Christians say we're a Christian nation. I heard it every day during my four years at a Baptist university. I see it all over Facebook, especially during presidential elections. This echoes my heart so much, as I keep saying we gotta stop focusing on politics and start focusing on the Gospel! I will pass this on. Thanks for writing!

Antwuan Malone
Antwuan Malone

I like your site. I think we're definitely on the same wave length. I'll have to have you guest post for me one of these days! | theshippreacheson.blogspot.com

Antwuan Malone
Antwuan Malone

Christ affirming states?  Which ones are these? With regard to pharisaic law, I suppose Jesus had no choice in the matter based on your argument. What I mean by my statement is that Jesus did not go about infuse his new gospel into the pharisaic law structure, which, as you rightly point out, had political implications. Jesus simply spoke about the right way to live, and about who he was. He may have rubbed the political wings of his society the wrong way, but he himself was not political (despite so many wanting him to be).  With regard to your second note, I'd say that we are splitting hairs between biblical and Christian. Christian, as I would define it, is centered around Jesus Christ (and his kingdom). Biblical, is less so. For Christians they are more closely tied, but from a secular viewpoint, one can follow the Bible (they think) and not deal with Jesus at all. Politics tried to grab the Christian practice without the Christian relationship. This is very pharisaic, though it has led to good things.  So while the Bible has influenced our ideas concerning the value of life, equality, and freedom, we must stop short of calling those ideas (exclusively) Christian. In fact, nearly all of those ideas can be found in multiple religions.  I feel we have a much bigger problem in our hands, and that is the divisive picture that the church shows the world. We need to work harder toward cohesive approaches to social issues. Then, the government can govern and not worry about picking up our slack. Thanks for the comment dude!  

Antwuan Malone
Antwuan Malone

Thanks Kris. I get so frustrated with this. So many Christians equate making things like same-sex marriage allowed (not illegal) with promoting the general idea of same sex marriage.  We need to get away from the privileged position we think we have. Politics and religion always ends in disaster.