The Religion Platform

Posted on October 12, 2011. Filed under: Culture, Government |

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Everyone knows that the 2012 election is going to be about the economy. But thanks to comments from Pastor Robert Jeffress, Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is back in the spotlight (Jon Hunstman’s too but who cares about him). Jeffress referred to Mormonism as a cult and said, “Every true, born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian,” implying that Mormons are not Christians. I’m not going to get into the theology of Later Day Saints, golden tablets, or (the lack of) Jewish Native Americans (unless my readers want me to of course). But this debate does beg the question: should a candidate’s faith be a valid campaign issue?

In Luke 11:37-52, we see a Pharisee invited Christ for a meal (Pharisees are a socio-political Jewish group that recognizes oral and written Torah or what Christians would call the first five books of the Old Testament also know as the Pentateuch). Before the meal began, the Pharisee was shocked to see Jesus refrained from washing himself. This customary practice had become an obligation, giving Jesus the opportunity to point out the Pharisee’s hypocrisy: he was concerned about what is on the outside, while ignoring the inside. Christ excoriated the Pharisees for being greedy, wicked, insincere, and arrogant while they claimed to be experts of the Jewish faith.

While the Jews didn’t exactly get to vote for their Roman governors in free and fair elections, Americans have that blessing and should respect that privilege. I can completely relate to those of you who will not vote for a candidate who is not a Christian. Paul told us we are not to be yoked with unbelievers; why then would we vote for one to represent us in government? But I am wary to rubber stamp one candidate over another simply because they claim to be a Christian. Clinton claimed to be a Baptist. Nixon claimed to be a Quaker. Putting a cross next to the name does not ensure Christian actions in public or private life. After all, 76% of Americans claim they are Christians. If only.

Faith, like voting, is a personal choice and commitment. While a person’s actions and statements can certainly reveal character and guide our impressions and likewise how we cast our ballot, only his Creator knows the true nature of his faith.

The last thing Christ said to the Pharisee was, “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering” (Luke 11:52).

Pharisees and Sadducees in ancient Israel. The Catholic Church from Constantine to Henry VIII. The Church of England from Henry VIII to the founding of this country. Having the State involved in religion, even if it is Christianity, is a dangerous and often deadly proposition. As Christ said, its coercive powers also have the ability to impede personal faith. It is the reason the Constitution bars any form of State endorsed religious test in Article VI paragraph III and why Congress cannot establish or prohibit free exercise of any religion.

While private citizens may choose to cast their vote as they see fit or a pastor may express his personal beliefs in the public square, I believe Christians must never let a public official impress (not to be confused with express) their religious beliefs upon others. That is a choice each individual must make on his own (Luke 14:27). But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Josh 24:15).


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2 Responses to “The Religion Platform”

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Huntsman is by far the best candidate; he’s a moderate, pro-science, not-crazy, Republican, with credentials that would make Reagan himself quake. Too bad no one knows who he is…

Who is that? Seriously though, that’s probably because like most diplomats he tends to not say much when he talks.

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