When politicians do religion a favor, beware!

By John D. Pierce

Politicians across the spectrum have long curried favor from religious voters — some finding the particular context, practices and language more comfortable than others.

Sometimes it’s even humorous to watch a politician feign some commonality where it clearly doesn’t exist — resulting in such renderings as “Two Corinthians.”

 At a recent campaign rally, the one who retitled Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth affirmed the importance of religion and boasted of all he’d done for “our evangelicals.”

Then he warned that those who oppose his political agenda, “the other side,” are “not big believers in religion.”

While faith impacts values — there is often conflict (even contradictions) between what (or in whom) one claims to believe and the political realities supported. Hypocrisy rarely finds a more comfortable home than at the intersection of religious convictions and political power.

Those of us who at least claim to follow Jesus — and affirm that as our highest priority — should take note: Jesus’ strongest condemnation was never directed toward those who lacked faith or failed to live up to society’s standards or were lacking in resources to sustain themselves or were considered social or religious outsiders.

Jesus reserved his harshest condemnation for those who were “big believers in religion” but lacked a basic understanding that God is love — and that such selfless compassion calls us to embrace and serve those whom society fears and disregards.

We do not need more “big believers in religion;” we need more faithful followers who love God with all their being and their neighbors as themselves.

The only thing worse than bad religion is more of it.

 

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