This is a cardboard standup of President George W. Bush. This is located in our local "Christian" bookstore (notice the Bible covers behind this likeness of our 43rd President). I say "Christian" because it sells things Christians might like to buy, not because the corporate institution is 'saved' or anything.
But this is what is portrays itself to be: a 'Christian' corporate institution. So, how then can it be a political one?
Christian have often blurred the line between politics and religion. A common notion is that America is a Christian nation; it was founded on Christian principles and is under the rule and authority of the Bible. Many of these Christians believe that the Bible should serve as a moral compass for the United States. While historically this has some backing, this does not mean that is was a good idea in the first place and should not be changed now. The Puritans saw the United States as being under Christian control and ran their society accordingly. This does not make it right or a good idea.
Constantinian Christianity is still a popular system among those who believe the nation should be governed based on Christian principles. And in doing so, it is not only acceptable but necessary for Christians to be involved in politics. And many Christians have run and have been elected on this platform.
But it is becoming more popular for people to run on such platforms and compromise their Christian integrity, continuing to get support from Christians in America all the while. Many are pro-life, but pro-war at the same time. Many believe that government aid programs should be eliminated. Many believe that the accumulation of wealth is the greatest possible dream for humanity.
Stanley Hauerwas said, I'm fine with having Christians in politics as long as they remain Christians. Christians who are politicians often compromise their faith for a political statement or creed. Christianity does not have a right to rule a nation; it was not God's intention for his people to rule an earthly kingdom. But if Christians are to involve themselves in politics, they have an obligation to remain Christian.
And when Christians involve themselves in politics, their backing by other Christians should not be based on their 'personal faith' but their continued commitment to Christianity and its teachings. It is simply a matter of Christians living as Christians no matter what our jobs are.
Now, back to the cardboard standup of GW in our bookstore. This was a promotion for the 'faith' of President Bush, thereby ingraciating himself to the Christian vote. But such displays or support should not be handed out based on one's declared faith. When this happens, Christians have forfeited our witness in favor of political gain for ourselves. And we've knocked God out of our desires in exchange for power.