Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Christianity in politics

Separation of church and state.

That is one of the principles our forefathers considered important. However, our politicians today keep blurring the line. Abortion, homosexuality, prayer in schools, evolution vs. creationism, and so on.

I won’t pretend to be an expert on religion OR government, but I’ve noticed that many of my beliefs tend to be in direct conflict of those proclaimed by the Republican party and conservative “Christians”. Many conservatives declare that their positions are reinforced by God, documented in the Bible, and the “true Christian way”. As a result, those of us who believe differently are considered ungodly, unChristian, pagan, etc.

For example, as previously mentioned, some members of my church condemned me after I coordinated a Peace Vigil in Gooding. I was not a good Christian because I was involved in a PEACE vigil. PEACE?! These church leaders consider themselves “good Christians” and I was no longer acceptable to them because I dared to have an opinion that differed than their personal brand of religion. (I want to clarify that their reaction was their own and I have not been condemned by the pastor nor by the higher level of church officials in Boise, and I was not in conflict with our church doctrine. It was only the leadership in our local congregation.) I’m sure that if I publicly expressed my views about homosexuality, abortion, prayer in schools, evolution, etc., their heads would spin.

Many so-called Christians claim that our country is in trouble because we’ve forgotten the word of God. I agree. But I don’t think that it is because of homosexuals and the lack of prayer in schools (despite all of the petitions I receive via e-mail!). I think our government and many of our citizens have neglected God’s other instructions. We’ve allowed greed to rule. We’ve allowed power to corrupt. We’ve neglected the weakest of our citizens. And so on.

My point is this:

There will be many discussions regarding political/religious issues as the 2006 election comes closer. How can a sincerely spiritual voter choose a candidate who follows Christ’s teachings while representing all of our state’s (and country’s) citizens?

That will be our topic for Gooding Drinking Liberally on Friday, March 24. We will discuss “Christian Principles In An Election Year”, a nonpartisan guide developed by constituent leadership and staff of the National Council of Churches USA’s Justice and Advocacy Commission and approved by the NCC’s Executive Committee.

Exploring these principles may be of interest to:

  • ANY sincerely spiritual voter who is open to evaluating leaders based upon the NCC’s guidelines rather than a particular political party’s instructions.
  • Spiritual liberals who wish to explore their own spirituality and how it relates to leadership qualities.
  • Liberals who are agnostic, atheist, or secular and who wish to participate in order to support other liberals whose spirituality is being criticized and minimized because of their political beliefs.

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