We’re continuing the discussion prompted by Bryan Roberts’ article “Seven Things Christians Need to Remember about Politics.” Before we forge ahead, allow me to backtrack just a tad. Roberts’ fourth thing is “Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake,” fits perfectly with yesterday’s first thing, “Both political parties go to church.” The policies of America’s political groups are formed by imperfect politicians fueled by worldly ambition. Not one political party or platform perfectly captures what a disciple of Jesus would stand for. Or vote for. If a Christian is going to vote, that Christian is certainly only choosing between the lesser of two worldly evils. Forcing Christians to choose between parties and then judging them on that choice isn’t fair and it isn’t right. By the same token, believing your party of choice has all the godly answers is short-sighted at best and outright sinful at worst.
Roberts’ second thing Christians need to remember about politics is “Political talk radio and cable ‘news’ only want ratings.” When these stations and hosts tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying. Straight up. These networks and personalities get rich by selling ads. And they sell ads by having more viewers and listeners. And they mostly use fear and hatred as a way to get those viewers and listeners.
You know it’s true, from the local newscast in your town to the national cable networks. “There’s something in your kitchen that could be killing your family! (long pause…) We’ll have the story at 10:00!!!” “Which national candidate’s policies contain direct quotes from Hitler’s manifesto? (long pause…) Stay tuned for the shocking story!!!” Come on. Most of these networks and nearly all the hosts are experts at fear and hatred. Their work is to divide the whole country into two warring factions that are each terrified of the other and then to continually stir up the hatred between them to make sure they stay divided. It’s so blatant and so over the top, I don’t blame anybody anymore for getting their news from John Stewart. CNN is a joke. Fox News is a 24-hour Saturday Night Live skit.
It is toxic talk that is poisoning our brains and killing our hearts. I know confessing Christians who watch Fox News five or six hours a day and then listen to conservative talk radio in their cars. That can’t be good for them! I promise these Christian brothers and sisters are not spending that much time every day with their Father in prayer or with the Holy Spirit in Scripture. So they’re filling their minds with fear and hate instead of faith and love. Labeling people and whole groups of people as evil instead of seeing them as children of God created in the divine image of our Father. Insults and threats instead of edification and comfort. Name-calling and angry slurs and violence instead of encouragement and good will.
We shouldn’t be surprised when we hear Christians use angry language to speak about “the other” political party or forward insulting emails around the church that castigate an entire race or socio-economic group or religious belief. It’s all some of them ever listen to! Isn’t it as clear to you as it is to me that most of this makes us less godly, not more? Certainly I’m not the only one who realizes this pulls us away from Christ, not toward him. We’ve been given by God in Christ the ministry of reconciliation; we’ve been commissioned by the Holy Spirit of God to reconcile. Political talk and political news feeds the opposite ministry and instincts.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” ~Ephesians 4:29
Roberts’ related third thing to remember is “Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others.” And that’s the point of all this, I suppose. All this arguing and name-calling and fear-mongering is a sin. Strife and quarreling are not gifts of the Holy Spirit; those things come from a whole other spirit altogether.
The talk show hosts and national networks are increasingly biased, inaccurate, and illogical. For their own benefit and gain. And directly against your continuing Christian transformation. If you’re giving more of your time and energy to them than you are to Jesus and the Word of God, you’re serving the wrong master.
Whitney starts her new job today. As of 4:30 this afternoon, she’s a bona fide, working, productive, tax-paying member of society. She’s sacking groceries at the United Supermarket at 45th and Bell. Congratulations, Whit!
Eggs and bread on top.