Monday, September 11, 2006

Guest blogger

Since I don't do well with nationalistic-themed days such as Sept. 11th, and since plenty of other people will be memorializing the dead and declaring the righteousness of the cause, I'm turning the blog over to my grandfather, Stanley MacNair. This was written prior to the election of 1980, by a man who had been a minister for 40 years up to that point. He passed away in 1996 and not many days go by when I don't think of him.

I love you, Grandpa.

Oct. 15. 1980: Politicians on God's Side

More than in any other election in living memory, this year's campaign is tinged with religion. In the guise of "being on God's side" various Christian leaders-- principally ones with national TV exposure -- seem to be enlisting God on their side. That's a disturbing turn of events.

My disturbance is not because I think religion and politics don't mix. The whole story of Hebrew prophecy contradicts that notion. From Amos onward, the prophets tackled the regimes of their time, raising the basic issues of justice and humanity.

What disturbs me about the present situation is that these Christian brethren select a handful of issues, mostly having to do with personal conduct and morality. These issues are described as if they were very simple (when in fact they are complex and many-faceted). They are set forth in starkest and most extreme terms. They are attacked in Biblical terms as unforgivable violations of God's laws (although Biblical texts can be assembled on almost every side of almost every issue). And, perhaps most damaging of all, to disagree with these people on the uses is to be at odds with God.

Now any official "line" has always been offensive to Baptists. Our tradition is of openness to the leading of the Spirit. To accept the interpretation of some others as a test of fel1owship, or orthodoxy, or our honoring of God, simply will not do. Reducing admittedly difficult questions and problems of our time to simple, right and wrong options may relieve us of hard and painful thought, but it is an attitude far removed from truth-seeking which acknowledges that equally committed, dedicated and knowledgeable Chr1stians often do come to different conclusions.

Beware the report cards or rating systems by which candidates are judged, systems which usually leave unexamined the most pressing and vital questions of public policy. Indeed upon such questions these preacher-politicians seem to be on the side of the powers!

Plenty of political dynamism is to be found in the Bible. "What does the Lord require,” asks Micah, "but that you do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with God.” “Love God with your whole being, and your neighbor as yourself," Jesus directs us. In her exultant song about the mission of her yet-to-be-born son, Mary cried "he has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted them of low degree."

And Jesus again quotes Isaiah in the Nazareth synagogue: "( God) has anointed me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those who are oppressed."

Working out the political implications of that is a gigantic and necessary task, part of our true Christian mission to the world. When we go to the polls, as all of us eligibles will, let's do our own thinking and vote our spirit-illuminated convictions.


Post a Comment

<< Home