Sunday, July 30, 2006

Religion and Politics

GIven the fact that the NYTimes has been battered, breaded and deep-fried over the past few years with scandals over fake reports, details of secret programs, attacks from the Left and the Right, I seldom take much time to read what they print.

Today's edition, however, had a feature on a pastor who has been assertively sermonizing on the dangers of aligning religious goals with political ones. I tend to agree. My late father, a Baptist minister, often sent personal letters to elected officials at the local, state and national levels, but I can't really recall him ever taking those concerns overtly to a congregation. He would often gather with local residents in a coffeee shop or restaurant and offer his political thoughts there, but, as I said, I just don't recall him blending political and religious sermons.

And in the NYTimes article today, I am not surprised the writer had to travel a ways to focus on the actions of a Minnesota minister. Here in Tennessee, it seems that politics and religion are often joined.

Anyway, Pastor Gary Boyd, who is often criticized for his sermons, is quoted as saying:

"In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.

The full article is here (reg. required).

5 comments:

  1. If only more pastors took that view!

    ReplyDelete
  2. oh my God, a Christian..a real Christian!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My daughters told me back before the second Bush election that their pastor was preaching to them that Bush was very importiant and had to be re-elected. I was thinking all the time they were telling me this that the rapture will not be rushed by any man, but all out world war would be.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brother Mike3:11 PM

    Your niece sent me a father's day present that you might enjoy. It's called American Gospel and it purports to trace the use of religion by the US government from the founders down to the present. It's a right interesting read. One of the anecdotes is that Lincoln refused to declare a national day of prayer and fasting during the Civil War because he did not want to offend anyone's faith, nor give the impression that he thought God was on the side of the North.

    The author is managing editor of Newsweek, his name is Jon Meacham.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the info, Mike!

    ReplyDelete