Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken
In response to Andy’s post on government schools and Christianity, I felt something needed to be said regarding the similarities of many churches to the government and its educational goals. Andy said:
But the government’s goal is to make sure that people don’t think for themselves, and never look into anything too far, or think about anything too deeply. …they are just fed the party line and told to regurgitate it, in order to produce people who will not question the state’s authority.
In the same vein, many churches (speaking from my experience) seek to politically educate their congregations to think only on a limited set of topics and in favor of a singular party. In general, the conservative churches I have been a part of seek to push the issues of immigration (specifically the immigration of Muslims), and national
offense defense along with support for the Republicans. More liberal churches, on the other hand, stress poverty and redistribution economic equality with support for the Democrats.
Unfortunately, the sarcastic end of another of Andy’s statements seems to be correct:
Christianity is the ultimate opposition to the state. Christians are taught that they cannot serve two masters. At least they’re supposed to be.
Indeed, they are supposed to be. However, in my experience, this principle is not consistently taught across either liberal or conservative factions within the church.
One verse in Proverbs speaks to the whole of the liberal agenda:
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:9 (ESV)
The Republican agenda takes a few more:
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
Matthew 26: 52-53
33 But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. 34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Oddly enough, the imperatives to “go and do likewise” in these verses were not made to the government, but to individuals. Take care of the poor, put up your sword, love your enemy, care for the stranger. Governments cannot do these things.
Perhaps the church’s failure is an outgrowth of embracing some government institutions. Or perhaps it is an outgrowth of guilt stemming from the church’s failure to carry out our responsibilities. Please, churchgoers, read your Bible. Read it and realize that governments and the church do not belong together. Read it and learn what our responsibilities are. Read it and learn that Christianity is not governmental, but personal:
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.