Politics from the Pulpit

March 23, 2008

batlogo.jpgIn August 2004, Willi and I were in the process of “trying out” some of the local churches in hopes of finding someplace to settle. It was suggested that we visit one of the up and coming congregations considered to be welcoming and active in the community. The church was what I consider to be large, and growing fast enough that they were raising funds for an addition to their relatively new building. They were not connected to any denomination, which at the time was not an issue. Although Willi questioned the fact that, as a result, there was no accounting for the finances. The sanctuary was a large auditorium-type area with chairs and a stage, rather than the traditional style we were accustomed to. There were large screens for the multi-media productions. The musical presentation was of a professional caliber. There was a coffee shop in the lobby, as well as a book store. We attended two services. The congregation was friendly, but not the least bit overwhelming. In fact you could probably get in and out without even being noticed. The sermons, or messages, were delivered in a series and focused on improving your life through faith. The first service we attended was much like going to a theater presentation, only with audience participation. It was more than we were accustomed to, but not so uncomfortable that we didn’t go back a second time. The aura was evangelical, but not the message.

Our last visit was primarily like the first, only during this message a series of slides were shown. It began with pictures of people of all ages, in different walks of life. Eventually there was a photo of President Bush followed shortly by a picture of Osama Bin Laden in full dress with gun in hand. The image lingered on the screen. The next was of John Kerry, “the other guy” as described by the pastor. The message was very clear. With Bush our families and country were safe from terror. Not so with “the other guy”.

This church was delivering a loud and clear message to it’s congregation that would encourage support of a candidate who would further their cause. It was like a paid political advertisement. Only from your Uncle Ned that you know and love. Their website today states that “hundreds” attend three Sunday services at the west campus and their east campus will open in September.

This has been an occasional topic of conversation in our house, more frequently as of late. We landed in a church that has a progressive theology, with a focus on social issues rooted in our studies of the historical Jesus, rather than belief in the literal word. Although I am a Christian, I shudder at what that has come to represent. In the past seven years we have witnessed a blatant disregard for humanity under the guise of God’s divine blessing.

It’s important for me to know and understand the background of our would-be policy makers. It’s equally as important to know and understand the organizations whose endorsement they encourage and accept, as well as those who fund their campaigns. You would not expect someone who has ties to the oil industry to legislate for protection of the environment. If you are concerned about global warming, or at the least, the cost of gasoline, wouldn’t you want to know?

Back in the day, my mother said that there are two things you never discuss in polite company, politics and religion. In a perfect world, religion would have no place in politics. And politics would have no place in the church.


4 Responses to “Politics from the Pulpit”

  1. Molly Says:

    Bravo, Gawilli, this entire post is magnificent. “In a perfect world, religion would have no place in politics. And politics would have no place in the church.”

  2. Willowtree Says:

    You really should see if there’s a Unitarian group near you, it may be a bit light on the Christian side, but at least the people are genuine.

  3. Judith Says:

    It is heartening to read your words. With all the noise, bigotry, racism, homophobia, etc. that is evidenced by the religious right (religious wrong?), as a a non-religious, non-church-going, non-Christian, it is often easy to forget that there are many Christians who are like-minded, geniune, kind, etc. Thanks.

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