Thursday, October 09, 2003


Yesterday I referred to some of my co-religionists as "nitwits." It is indeed true that you shouldn't write when you are angry. Not only was I overly harsh but I was also a little redundant in my ranting. One of the problems with discourse today is that we use name calling instead of rigorous thought to win arguments. I don't want to be guilty of that so I will give it another try now that I have calmed down.

Too many people paint a faith based life in simplistic terms. However, the truth is exactly the opposite. It can be difficult to live in ways that are in keeping with the beliefs we profess.

Political issues are especially sticky when merged with religious belief. Christians and followers of other faiths want to be involved politically as much as anyone else, perhaps even more so because we feel so strongly about issues. But we make serious mistakes when we forget what the bible says about our relation to the state.

One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Yet it was with great sadness that I observed devout Christians praying before a monument in an Alabama courtroom as though it were an idol. The display of this sacred text among the secular is disrespectful to Judeo-Christian tradition, not affirming.

The prayer given on also smacks of idol worship. God does not give us politicians. Anyone who reads Freedom Rider knows I am no fan of President Bush. But I never prayed for Bill Clinton or any democrat to win an election. As much as I want to see a democratic victory in 2004 I won't do it now. We shouldn't cheapen God by saying he favors one political party over another.

I suppose that I used the word "nitwit" because this all seems so obvious to me. I am frightened when I see people of faith allowing themselves to be used by the politically powerful. We should all speak out on the issues that concern us. That will sometimes mean working within the political system. But we should never succumb to making ourselves servants of the state.

Dr. King made his most courageous statement when he broke with the Johnson administration in denouncing the Vietnam war. King lost friends and supporters when he spoke against his former benefactors. I believe that this decision also cost him his life.

How many of us are willing to risk so much? Christians fall every where on the political spectrum and we shouldn't hesitate to be politically active. However, we should never be so closely allied with the secular that we compromise our spiritual beliefs.