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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm thankful for politics (!)

I’m thankful for US politics. Yes, there are problems, big ones, but we’ve got a better “system” than most countries. Government is seldom used as a tool to promote religious belief in the US, compared to Muslim countries, for example. We have freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. We also have freedom of the press. These days, though, most of us read, listen to, and watch, only media outlets that reinforce our prejudices, and that’s a mistake. No person, save Christ, and no ideology, save the Gospel, is always right. No media outlet is always right, and that includes my Facebook and my other web pages. Some media outlets spread slander and disrespect about politicians deliberately, contrary to the Bible.

One good thing about our system is that the problems caused by one ideology, or one person, eventually lead to the replacement of the ideology, or the person, as they are voted out, although, of course, since we are sinful humans, the next ideology, or person, brings different problems. But we are still better off than as if one person, or one ideology, ruled us perpetually with an iron fist.

The Bible says that we are to pay taxes, and honor our rulers, even if we don’t like taxes, or what they stand for. I don’t always honor politicians that I disagree with, and that’s wrong – the Bible tells me that I should. For one thing, it must not be easy to live your life, and have your family, under the constant scrutiny of the press and your opponents. For another, the pay isn’t great. Politics won’t redeem people. Jesus, nor Paul, took up anti-slavery, or overthrowing the Romans, as a major cause, or as a cause at all. They had more important things to do.* Some Facebook pages and blogs, put up by Christians, emphasize some ideology more than they emphasize Christ, and the really important message gets lost.

I am grateful for the service of President Obama, Governor Haley, my Congresspersons, my mayor and other city officials, my sheriff and other county officials, and their families, and, also, I’m grateful for other people who aspired to these offices, at least partly because they wanted to serve, but didn’t win them. May God reward all of them, and give them good sense. May they seek His guidance.

*God seems to sometimes call some Christians to take action to change laws and customs – my own church, The Wesleyan Church, was founded out of opposition to slavery, and some of our congregations, and church buildings, were part of the underground railroad, for example. The pivotal woman's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, was held at a Wesleyan church. Billy Graham decided that his Crusades would be color blind.

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