Wednesday, January 03, 2007

MY FIRST RANT OF 2007

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.

7 comments:

Chris said...

So ... do you think the bookstore put that little statue gizmo up voluntarily? I mean, do you think that GW or his committee requested that it be put there, or did the bookstore go to the campaign people and ask for it? Just asking, because lots of people will go in there and say "damn that Bush, putting his face everywhere" when it's not even his fault.

But I agree with you, in principle ... I've always had a distaste for politics (my wife tells me I should be a politician for this very reason, I hate the crap it involves) and don't tend to trust politicians, however good their intentions. And in regards to the "Christian state", I guess it just pisses me off when people try to enforce their values on others. It seems cruel somehow. Like you can force somebody to believe in God or Christ as savior. Salvation is a choice, it cannot be determined by one's nationality or the laws one follows. Likewise, the actions of a person are always good indicators of their beliefs ... their true beliefs.

tony said...

the bookstore is closing...have the commentaries gone down?

cruz-control said...

tony,

there are still some left. mainly OT stuff from westminster/john knox and word biblical commentaries. i'm trying to see how much money i can get from selling my blood before they're all sold out.

they're pretty much the expensive ones left; but they're also the good ones - which is probably why they're expensive.

cruz-control said...

chris,

i don't believe that g w had the image of himself placed in our local bookstore (bush lives about 5 miles from my place), it was the bookstore - promoting the book "the faith of g w bush."

this display was set up of the bookstore's own volition to promote a book. but it also makes a clear political statement, which i believe was intended.

now we are free to make political statements, of course, but the effect of this is more of a campaign designed to get the 'christian' vote. this is a political statement made to get christians to back a political candidate.

my issue here is not bush promoting himself, but the 'christian' bookstore throwing their two cents into the political ring, campaigning for a political candidate.

for this i don't blame bush; i just don't think that these kinds of political messages and endoresments are appropriate.

the issue is not one of rights, of course we have the right in america to make any political statement we want; but rather it is an issue of ethos and testimony.

tunz4jesus said...

my issue here is not bush promoting himself, but the 'christian' bookstore throwing their two cents into the political ring, campaigning for a political candidate.

What would cause the owners of this Christian bookstore to lose their first amendment rights? Shouldn't they be able to back any or all of a political candidate's platforms? What if they had a poster of Barak Obama? Would you feel differently?
Also, any institution, government, business, college is going to be guided by the leaders moral compass. I personally typically like to be lead by someone with similar values as mine.
Going back and rereading this I may sound confrontational and harsh, not my intent at all, just trying to be rhetorical.

tony said...

since everyone is putting their "two cents" in...we should take that and buy a commentary :-) I am more for the WBC, some of those are really in depth

cruz-control said...

as i said towards the end of my last comment, it's not a matter of rights. anyone and everyone has the right to make whatever political statement they want... if the united methodists (not picking on anyone particular here) want marijuana legalized, they have every 'right' to back that cause (outside of tax guidelines, of course). point is that we have 'rights.'

but just because we have rights, it doesn't necessary mean we (Christians) should do whatever we could do.

we have rights to back political candidates, i'm just not so sure that it is helpful to the kingdom of God for us to make the political scene our priority. it is our job as the Church to bless the needy and love unconditionally. i can't think of a candidate that embodies the teachings of Christ and the job of the Church one way or another.

because of this i would not feel differently if they backed obama instead.

of course, we do have a right and we take comfort in electing politicians with similar values as us, and this is not a bad thing. but if we are to advocate for a candidate to get other Christians behind him or her and portray their 'Christian' side to do this, if they do not embody the vision of Christ, i believe we do more harm to the kingdom than good.

shady ground here, I know.