Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, March 4, 2012

Faith Forum: How much should religion play a part in politics?

March 4, 2012

Advertisement

The Rev. Peter A. Luckey, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

This is an excellent yet vexing question.

A thoughtful response would include the following three guideposts.

First, religion’s involvement in politics should always be respectful of the separation of church and state. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that Congress shall not establish a state religion nor shall it prohibit the free expression of religion.

Our American experience of 200 years has confirmed the genius of this idea. Unfettered from government intrusion, faith communities of many and various flavors have blossomed and thrived. At the same time, citizens have been free to go about their lives, never fearing that one religion would exert its dominance over others of differing faiths or no faith at all.

Our second guidepost must recognize that the separation of church and state does not mean people of faith are to be prevented from giving voice to their religiously inspired convictions in the public arena.

Muslims, Christians and Jews cannot remain silent when the core of their teachings cry out for social justice, human dignity, care for the earth and love of neighbor.

The history of our country is replete with social movements inspired by faith.

This brings me to my third guidepost, which is a note of caution.

We must refrain from ever being too certain and too sure about how and when our beliefs can best be translated into public policy. The hesitation stems not from a lack of faith but rather an acknowledgement of our flawed, limited nature as human beings.

Let the prophet Micah be our guide. “What does the Lord require, but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God?”

— Send e-mail to Peter Luckey at peterluckey@sunflower.com.

Barry Watts, Associate Pastor, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:

Following Jesus is not choosing which flavor of ice cream one prefers, choosing to root for KU or Mizzou, nor selecting which restaurant at which to eat. It is a decision to surrender your life, wants and desires to Jesus Christ.

Genuine faith in Jesus Christ is life-changing. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” A believer in Christ should make decisions based upon God’s will, and not his own. Romans 12:2 declares, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Religion matters. It should matter. It is not just a choice or a preference. Faith should lead to a change in one’s life. Such life changes will be evidence in the decisions made by these individuals.

So what does this have to do with politics? One’s faith, their religion, affects voters’ reasoning behind their decisions. It helps voters discern the beliefs, values and motivations of the political candidates. A candidate’s faith should guide his decisions and be an indicator of his or her moral integrity. Voters must beware of a politician hypocritically using their religion to woo voters.

Personally, I am looking for a courageous and God-fearing man or woman of God to rise up and lead. Someone who follows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and considers God’s will before making any decision. The Bible gives a list of characteristics that are evidence of a genuine life-changing faith in Jesus Christ. Called “fruit of the spirit,” in Galatians 5:22-23: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

— Send email to Barry Watts at barrygwatts@gmail.com.

Comments

Abdu Omar 2 years, 1 month ago

I would like to make a coment to Barry Watts. There should be an understanding by all Christians that this country was NOT founded on Christian priniciples, but the universal belief that all men are created equal and every man/woman deserves to pursue their life, liberty and happiness, not just Christians. No law, bill presented for consideration or legislation can include any kind of language that makes Christianity or any other religion the official religion of this country. To further that, we should not use any measuring tool that equates a good Christian to be a good leader. There are others of other faiths that are leaders too, and if they don't make Jesus their personal savior does not matter one hill of beans to their ability to lead this country on the right path. Likewise, no Christian or Jew or Muslim is a great leader because he believes in his religion. They are great leaders because they understand the issues, have a plan, and are strong and able enough to comunicate their ideas to the people of this country. Being Christian or others is not and should not be the measuring stick. They should be considered only by the content of their character, their ability to lead, be fair, and provide an atmosphere where every American can grow and prosper.

0

Paul R Getto 2 years, 1 month ago

"Muslims, Christians and Jews cannot remain silent when the core of their teachings cry out for social justice, human dignity, care for the earth and love of neighbor." === Good points, and if they stick to this theme there shouldn't be too many tax questions. Interesting discussion.

0

Mike Ford 2 years, 1 month ago

Having been a preacher's kid in Louisiana in the 1970's and grown up going back to Mississippi until 2009, I watched how religion was used as a societal judgement tool in the south with those people adhiring to their rigid interpretation to maintain order and the politicians using the doctrine of said order to play on fear and recruit from the pulpit and promise the rigidity of order as a reason to vote for said politician. Whether it was segregation as interpreted by the dimwit ex relatives of mine from a biblical verse, or the subjugation of women or the abomination of homosexuality from other verses of fear these poor people believed, politicians who otherwise exploited these people snowed them by adhearing to these political litmus tests like the ones used by the simpleton tea partiers.

On the other side of the coin I witnessed how churches were sanctuaries of cohesion for African and Native Americans in the south. These people were politically, culturally, and socially excluded and persecuted by the dimwits and their racist attitudes justified by their interpretation of their bible and the upholding of social fabric by godlican right wingers. The discussion of civil rights back then was stiffled by violent force and stating that civil rights was against the laws of god in the whole religious order supported by White Christians and the politicians courting them. The minority communities ministers used the pulpit to politically organize in the one place that was safe for minorities to do so unless it was the 4th Street Church in Birmingham being bombed with those girls killed or the Nunih Waiya Missionary Mennonite Church being burned because the Choctaw people spoke to the FBI about the three civil rights workers whose car was dumped in a swamp on Choctaw land in 1963. Both acts done by the Klan. Theologeans tend to try and get people to think about issues from a non partisan standpoint through educational speaking while the wingnuts reinforce all the stereotypes of the people they don't like to maintain their beliefs and worldview and act as if they're being attacked laughingly when they're the problem. I was a pk for many years and grew up hearing said nonsense in the south. I call it the way I see it because I heard it as a kid and knew it was wrong.

0

notaubermime 2 years, 1 month ago

Religion should play as much of a role as people can be courteous. If one calls another's faith a 'belief in an imaginary friend', then you can keep your religious views out of politics. Similarly, calling other faiths cults, violent, immoral, trying to force other people to live in accordance with your personal views, or trying to erode science education are also things that don't belong in politics.

Politics should be about doing what is best for the country, rather than alienating and marginalizing those you don't agree with. It is just too bad that reality is so far away from what 'should be'.

0

tange 2 years, 1 month ago

Religion WILL play a role in politics, proportionate to the secular graffiti painted over stained glass windows.

0

jhyphene 2 years, 1 month ago

Nice take by Rev. Luckey. The Watts response scares the crap (this language only available on Sunday's) out of me.

0

tange 2 years, 1 month ago

Religious works reflect historical realities. They are as good, evil, misleading, and illuminating as the human condition/endeavor. Rich works that they tend to be, they effectively are Rorschachs (and serve well as projection screens—need a rationalization for governmental mitigation of some personal grievance, you will find it.) To see such works as evil, though, one need look no further than the looker.

0

thuja 2 years, 1 month ago

I thought they were the same thing.

0

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 1 month ago

Churches should stay out of politics, or be taxed.

0

Michael LoBurgio 2 years, 1 month ago

Welcome to the EvilBible.com Web Site

This web site is designed to spread the vicious truth about the Bible. For far too long priests and preachers have completely ignored the vicious criminal acts that the Bible promotes. The so called “God” of the Bible makes Osama Bin Laden look like a Boy Scout. This God, according to the Bible, is directly responsible for many mass-murders, rapes, pillage, plunder, slavery, child abuse and killing, not to mention the killing of unborn children. I have included references to the Biblical passages, so grab your Bible and follow along.

http://www.evilbible.com/

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.