Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thoughts on Politics

I was reading Newsweek last night before I went to bed and I was bothered by what I perceive as a growing trend. In four unrelated articles (one on the status of the judiciary, one on Bill Frist, one on pharmacists who won't fill prescriptions for the "morning after" pill, and one on Republicans and their partnership with the credit card industry) there were some remarks made about Christians -- particularly "Evangelicals" -- that I personally found disturbing. Here's a sample: Now, says Family Research Council [a conservative Christian group] president Tony Perkins, the issue of judges is so important to his members that it's replaced gay marriage at the top of his agenda." He [Bill Frist, Senate majority leader] and his aides thought they had found a politically surgical way for him to participate in a nationally televised prayer service with fervent religious conservatives at a megachurch in Louisville, Ky., next Sunday. The topic: the need to ease the Senate filibuster debate rule so that the Republican majority can confirm President George W. Bush's most controversial judicial nominations." In the Senate, one amendment would have protected those declaring bankruptcy for medical reasons. Another capped interest at 30 percent, which is usury by any standard. Both failed. Although the Bible clearly bars usury, all of the big congressional Bible thumpers sided with their corperate contributors. I guess what was gnawing at me last night is how Christianity seems to becoming more and more of an ideology or political stance rather than a lifestyle committed to following Jesus. I understand the argument of those who say that Christians need to involve themselves in the public square, but if we do so at the expense of losing the ability to talk to people about things that really matter, we lose. One of my friends was saying that she read on The Ooze, that in a Barna poll of various people-groups, evangelicals were considered only higher than prostitutes (less popular than lawyers!) I guess that I'm concerned that when people look at evangelicals they're tripping over their conservative politics and are never hearing the real message that I think evangelicals want them to hear. Or maybe I'm too optimistic. Maybe they are hearing exactly the message the evangelicals want communicated -- that to be evangelical, one must be a conservative Republican.

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