Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Two great articles

I don't subscribe to the local newspaper, but I do usually get the Sunday paper with my mocha on the way to church and then Sunday afternoon my habit is to read it all afternoon while my wife does her favorite Sunday afternoon tradition (napping!).

Recently I've read two absolutely fantastic pieces in there. One came just on the past Sunday from Miami Herald (subscription required) columnist Leonard Pitts (one of my favorites).

Pitts' piece

It begins by again focusing on the unfortunate events that Rev. Chan Chandler caused in his now former church by trying to kick out church members who were not blindly supportive of George W. Bush. Pitts puts the great burn of frustration I've been dealing with perfectly when he writes:

"So what galls me about Rev. Chandler's behavior is not that he talked politics per se, but that he assumes belief in God and belief in George W. to be synonymous. As one who believes in a God who is above party, I find that assumption offensive. But you hear it a lot these days. The right wing has cornered the market on God, evidence of both its marketing savvy and the left wing's illiteracy in the language of faith."

And then he gets right to the point with his concluding statement:

"One is embarrassed to have to remind such people of what ought to be patently obvious:
God is not a Republican."

Pitts doesn't say it, but in the spirit of fairness - God is not a Democrat either. One of the best groups I know of that has been saying this well and for a while now is Sojourners. In response to many conservative religious leaders going to Chandler-ian lengths of going over the line to establish the Republicans and Bush as a de facto "God's choice" of politics, Sojourners instead started a campaign to bring truth and reason back to the debate:

Take Back Our Faith

Another article I read a couple weeks ago talked about the Republicans and their effort to focus all their efforts on being seen as the party of freedom, liberty, and God.

Seattle Times Editorial

The author has two problems he finds with this - one being the short step that leaves the Republicans from equating their government work as being God's work and the other being how the administration actually has several times been AGAINST freedom and liberty. To me, this is the tip of the iceberg. I spent countless hours last fall in research and prayer to try to discern which candidates seemed to be more on the side of God and came overwhelmingly to the clear decision that it was absolutely not George W. Bush. Yet, most people who said they did likewise seem to have come up with the opposite position. I'm left with many questions:

1) Is this because Christians are truly incapable of seeing anything more than abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research as political and religious issues to vote on?
2) Is this because Christians do recognize issues that the Republicans/Bush are seemingly less Christian on (like death penalty, war, environmental issues, rich and poor, tolerance and love for all, etc.) but they just don't see them as being that important?
3) Is this because the Democrats don't actually fight the Republicans for the claim of being "God's choice"?
4) Is this because Christians don't really listen to anything but people like Chandler?
5) Or am I just wrong about all of this?