“…the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the Law, and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate [the governor]” (Mk. 15:1).
The marriage between politics and religion has been a rocky one.
This was true for the theocracy of Ancient Israel; it was true for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day; it was true for the “Holy Roman Empire”; and it’s true for the American Empire too.
I have serious concern for the American church’s unholy alliance between religion and politics.
On one hand, of course Christians should engage politically, voicing and voting the values of Christ for the good of our nation. On the other hand, we should beware of becoming a “political homer.”
A “homer”, according to that bastion of street-smartness, Urban Dictionary, is “someone who shows blind loyalty to a team or organization, typically ignoring any shortcomings they have.”
Homers are blind to reality.
A political homer is someone who always supports a particular politician, policy, or party, regardless of the deficiencies. Political homers are blind to the harm wrought by their unwavering support.
When the people of God become political homers, we set ourselves up for a spiritual strikeout.
Christians in America struck out when they used the Bible to defend slavery and then Jim Crow. Christians in Germany struck out when they used the Bible (and the writings of Luther) to defend Nazi Nationalism.
Today we’re striking out if we support every word and action of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. We’re also striking out if we oppose every word and action of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
Donald Trump is neither Satan nor an Apostle. Hillary Clinton was neither Satan nor an Apostle. If we allowed either to become so vilified or deified in our minds, then we are probably political homers.
The political climate tells us it’s all or nothing – why? Because politics is our American Idol. Jesus said you’re either for Me or against Me, which was right for Him to say, BECAUSE HE’S GOD. But no politician or party should command such unwavering loyalty from citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
What if we were as passionate for Jesus as we are about our politics?
Now let me be clear about what I’m NOT saying.
I’m NOT saying it’s wrong to have political leanings – I have them and so do you.
I’m NOT saying that the Bible is politically silent – there are genuinely biblical non-negotiables.
I’m NOT saying it’s wrong to fight passionately for political causes – in many cases this is right.
I AM saying that it’s wrong to be a political homer.
Francis Shaeffer, the 20th century theologian and philosopher, said that Christians should not be allies of the right or left: “If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice. If we need order, say we need order… But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: you are an ally of neither. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either – totally different.”
I’m concerned that the church in this nation hasn’t recognized that difference. Israel worshiped the golden calf, Evangelicals worship the golden elephant, and Progressive Christians worship the golden donkey. We’re even becoming like the idol we worship—as divided in the House of God as we are in the House of Congress.
Like every god not named Jesus, our homage will cost us. It’s already costing us in the form of people leaving the church. Given enough time without any repentance, it will cost us our legacy. At some point in the not-too-distant future, history will present the church with a momentous decision, a Mount-Carmel-Moment, a fork in the road.
For Christians who are political homers, the choice will be clear – but only because they’ll be too blind to even see the fork.
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