Christians, Politics and Religion
(thread begun by RandyP )
Who says that discussing religion and politics don't mix in today's political climate? The two are nearly inseparable and nearly identical as they are both attempting to improve mankind's situation and assist those that cannot help themselves. The problem with openly discussing it comes when one insists on one party line over the other; then the discussion typically becomes an argument. Right?
What we all need to remember is that before all else republican or democrat that each of us are one thing: Human. It is an essential truth. Being human comes with all of it's many quarks and irregularities. The nature of man (all man) cannot be avoided when it comes to politics, neither can one side say that it's nature is somehow elevated above the other/that it isn't prone to the same mistakes of nature and logic.
I for one believe that the Bible has so much to say about our shared nature and therefore our present political climate that is of great benefit to any concerned citizen and that I need not be intimidated in politely/impartially/concernedly sharing it. There is great insight from the bible both into those attempting to lead us and those who have elected them to lead. There is much relevance from the past that can be drawn from and learned in this day.
I would like to focus in on how to best present bible truths into any political conversation in a manner that can be of intellectual interest to any listener of any political persuasion. In order to do that I will first have to fill you in on some scriptural context. I will add some commentary as we go. Then we will make some thought provoking (hopefully discussion changing) conclusions!
kjv@Romans:13:1-7 @ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
There are two important implications given here in this passage. One is that in the Christian world view our sovereign God uses the world's higher powers governments (all of them) for His own purposes, that we are to be subject to those powers as by ordinance of God. The Apostle Paul is not specific as to which of these powers Christians are to be subject to; good or bad. Certainly given the context of his other writings this author does not intend for us to blindly subject ourselves into doing evil. Yet the ordinance given here requires a very careful consideration of human government and our roles as Christians within it. Many a intelligent thinker has wrestled with this point centuries over.
The other point has got to be that the "ruler is a minister of God to thee of good". Again, it does not delineate whether these are good or evil rulers, past or present, Hebrew or Gentile, suggesting perhaps that all rulers are this regardless. We do know from our written history that God has used even the Pharaoh's and Nebuchadnezzar's of this world in the past to steer HIS people toward their own good.
The question really then is what does Paul mean by the word subjection? what is it and to what extent? The same Greek word dict:strongs G5293 ὑποτάσσω hupotassō is used by the Apostle Peter in kjv@1Peter:2:13-17 to echo the same sovereign God sentiment, adding that our subjection will help to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Paul in kjv@Titus:3:1 suggests that our doing so while help to put us in position to be able to do good works. Then in kjv@Ephesians:5:21 he puts it on similar level as we subject ourselves one brother to another. Christians should be well aware of the importance that is placed on our subjection clearly evident in the scriptures. However, it may be best for each man/woman to draw the line of where what is being asked of them crosses the line into performing an actual act of evil. Luckily we have such great examples as Daniel to help guide us. BookOfDaniel .
I believe that this particular understanding needs to be made clear as it applies to Christians from the outset of our public discussions for this reason:
Jesus Christ the man has always been thought of by some as being a political revolutionary moving contrary to present authority; his followers have often been persecuted just the same as a political threat. Jesus Christ as you can begin to see through the scriptures is not intending any political revolution, rather a spiritual revolution of the people who will one day at heavens gate be prepared for entry into His glorious eternal kingdom. The times that the Church or churchgoers have gotten themselves into trouble is when they given all appearances that they intend to take over a system or create a political disturbance. That just is not scriptural nor is it Jesus!
The next issue that this passage brings up is the quality of said leader or government. we will need again to go back to the scriptures for some background context:
Background - Historical (OT)
Recall that before having kings to rule over them that Israel first had provincial judges; it was in a theocracy. Generation after generation it is recorded that the constant problem was not that they were in a theocracy, it was that the people each insisted on doing things as by what was right in their own eye (BookOfJudges ). Now follow the scriptural progression:
- Israel warned against seeking a king kjv@1Samuel:8:9-18
- Israel in seeking, rejected God as their king kjv@1Samuel:8:7 kjv@1Samuel:10:19
- Israel asked for king, that they might be like the nations kjv@1Samuel:8:5 kjv@1Samuel:8:19 kjv@1Samuel:8:20
- First given to Israel in anger kjv@Hosea:13:11
You see from the start that the political will of the people (or lack of) not that of the yet to be named leader is setting up the future course for Israel and it's many problems.
- After the first king (Saul) God then reserved to himself the choice of king kjv@Deuteronomy:17:14-15 kjv@1Samuel:9:16-17 kjv@1Samuel:16:12
- God rendered lineage after the 2nd king (David) hereditarily kjv@2Samuel:7:12-16 kjv@Psalms:89:35-37
- Laws for the royalty written by the last judge Samuel kjv@1Samuel:10:25
- Kings required to write and keep by them a copy of the divine law kjv@Deuteronomy:17:18-20
Now you see that God is allowing for the political institutions of man (misguided, rebellious and corrupt as they are) yet allowing HIMSELF to work through these same institutions to reach to the hearts of men to accomplish HIS own will. It says a lot about the corrupt state of man that there was no better way for God to do this.
Now let's survey the actual kings of Israel to get a better scope:
KINGS OF UNITED ISRAEL:
Quoted index: KINGSOFISRAEL- ISRAEL:
|ISRAEL||Saul||mostly bad||1049-1009 BC|| kjv@1Samuel:11-12 kjv@1Chronicles:10:1-14 |
|ISRAEL||David||THE BEST||1009-969 BC|| kjv@2Samuel:2-3 kjv@1Chronicles:11-12 |
|ISRAEL||Solomon||GOOD||971-933 BC|| kjv@1Kings:1-2 kjv@2Chronicles:1-2 |
|ISRAEL||Rehoboam (1st part)||bad mostly||933—930 BC|| kjv@1Kings:12:21-24 kjv@1Kings:14:21-31 kjv@2Chronicles:10-11 |
AFTER THE DIVISION - SOUTHERN KINGDOM (JUDAH):
Quoted index: KINGSOFISRAEL- SOUTHERN:
AFTER THE DIVISION - NORTHERN KINGDOM (ISRAEL):
Quoted index: KINGSOFISRAEL- NORTHERN:
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Jeroboam I||bad||930—909 BC|| kjv@1Kings:12:20 kjv@1Kings:12-13 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Nadab||bad||909—908 BC|| kjv@1Kings:15:25-27 kjv@1Kings:15:32 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Baasha||bad||908—886 BC|| kjv@1Kings:15-16 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Elah||bad||886—885 BC|| kjv@1Kings:16:8-14 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Zimri||bad||885 BC|| kjv@1Kings:16:11 kjv@1Kings:16:12 kjv@1Kings:16:15 kjv@1Kings:16:20 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Tibni||bad||885—880 BC|| |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Omri (overlap)||extra bad||885—874 BC|| kjv@1Kings:16:23-28 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Ahab||the worst||874—853 BC|| kjv@1Kings:16-17 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Ahaziah||bad||853—852 BC|| kjv@1Kings:22:51-53 kjv@2Kings:1:18 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Joram/Jehoram||bad mostly||852—841 BC|| kjv@2Kings:3-4 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Jehu||not good but better than the rest||841—814 BC|| kjv@2Kings:9-10 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Jehoahaz||bad||814—798 BC|| kjv@2Kings:13:1-9 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Joash||bad||798—782 BC|| kjv@2Kings:13:10-25 kjv@2Kings:14:8-16 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Jeroboam II (overlap)||bad||793—753 BC|| kjv@2Kings:14:23-29 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Zechariah||bad||753 BC|| kjv@2Kings:15:8-12 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Shallum||bad||752 BC|| kjv@2Kings:15:13-15 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Menahem||bad||752—742 BC|| kjv@2Kings:15:16-22 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Pekahiah||bad||742—740 BC|| kjv@2Kings:15:23-26 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Pekah (overlap)||bad||752—732 BC|| kjv@2Kings:15:27-31 kjv@2Kings:16:5 |
|NORTHERN KINGDOM||Hoshea||bad||732—722 BC|| kjv@2Kings:17:1-6 |
Not the best of reports from either line; is it? It could be seriously asked how it is that scripture can claim that God is in control of all this and that he/she is a minister of God or revenger to those that do evil? There is a corresponding serious answer in the scriptures if one is willing to look for it. For nation Israel at least the answer may be found suggested in kjv@Joshua:24:14-27.
Certainly the scriptures suggest some ideals to be followed by God appointed leaders, and these are marks for which the leader himself will be judged, but irregardless of the leaders own personal failings the office itself always achieves God's manifold purposes.
- Officials were to:
- Fear God kjv@Deuteronomy:17:19
- Serve the LORD kjv@Psalms:2:10-12
- Keep the law of God kjv@1Kings:2:3
- Study the Scriptures kjv@Deuteronomy:17:19
- Promote the interests of the assembly kjv@Ezra:1:2-4 kjv@Ezra:6:1-12
- Nourish the assembly kjv@Isaiah:49:23
- Rule in the fear of God kjv@2Samuel:23:3
- Maintain the cause of the poor and oppressed kjv@Proverbs:31:8 kjv@Proverbs:31:9
- Investigate all matters kjv@Proverbs:25:2
- Not pervert judgment kjv@Proverbs:31:5
- Prolong their reign by hating covetousness kjv@Proverbs:28:16
- Establish their throne by righteousness and justice kjv@Proverbs:16:12 kjv@Proverbs:29:14
This wouldn't be a bad list of things for us to expect of the office even today.
- Officials were specially warned against:
- Impurity kjv@Proverbs:31:3
- Lying kjv@Proverbs:17:7
- Hearkening to lies kjv@Proverbs:29:12
- Intemperance kjv@Proverbs:31:4 kjv@Proverbs:31:5
- Officials were good when they:
- Regarded God as their strength kjv@Psalms:99:4
- Spoke righteously kjv@Proverbs:16:10
- Loved righteous lips kjv@Proverbs:16:13
- Abhored wickedness kjv@Proverbs:16:12
- Pushed aside evil kjv@Proverbs:20:8
- Punished the wicked kjv@Proverbs:20:8
- Favoured the wise kjv@Proverbs:14:35
- Honoured the diligent kjv@Proverbs:22:29
- Befriend the good kjv@Proverbs:22:14
- Removed evil counsellors from their court kjv@2Chronicles:22:3 kjv@2Chronicles:22:4 kjv@Proverbs:25:5
In this day and age sadly (and any age before or after) we can only imagine such a resolute leader that possessed these admirable qualities. Not even in Israel were these things but rarely witnessed. The kings' frequent failings in these defined areas largely represent the peoples' failings however. The kings' ineptitude becomes a vehicle through which God can achieve His discipline upon the kingdom.
We need to filter in a frequent bible context at this point best described by David in his many psalms that of the king always being at impending danger, always pursued by internal and external enemies, the bloodsport of government with wicked and evil opponents, traps being set, snares being laid before him, feelings of being the only one that stands the high grounds, feelings of deep sorrow at his failures, feelings even at times of abandonment by God. Modern politics seem no less of a bloodsport. Few would even brave lower office yet alone higher position. Is that not in part because of the political climate we the people have left ourselves to? BookOfPsalms
- Therefore it is wise for us to remember:
- To curse not ruler, even in thought kjv@Exodus:22:28 kjv@Ecclesiastes:10:20
- To speak no evil of rulers kjv@Job:34:18 kjv@2Peter:2:10
- To pay tribute to official rule kjv@Matthew:22:21 kjv@Romans:13:6-7
- To be not presumptuous before kjv@Proverbs:25:6
Doing so is to bring God's judgment upon our own heads. Further:
- Officials should be honoured kjv@Romans:13:7 kjv@1Peter:2:17
- Officials should be feared kjv@Proverbs:24:21
- Officials should be reverenced kjv@1Samuel:24:8 kjv@1Kings:1:23 kjv@1Kings:1:21
- Officials should be obeyed kjv@Romans:13:1 kjv@Romans:13:5 kjv@1Peter:2:13
- Officials should be prayed for kjv@1Timothy:2:1-2
- The gospel is to be preached to kjv@Acts:9:15 kjv@Acts:26:27-28
- There is a certain:
- Folly of resisting authority kjv@Proverbs:19:12 kjv@Proverbs:20:2
- Punishment for resisting the lawful authority of kjv@Romans:13:2
- Guilt and danger of stretching out the hand against authority kjv@1Samuel:26:9 kjv@2Samuel:1:14
- Indication that they that walk after the flesh despise authority kjv@2Peter:2:10 kjv@Jude:1:8
This is not to exonerate the unholy doings and poor moral character of the leader either:
- Without understanding leaders are oppressors kjv@Proverbs:28:16
- Leaders are often reproved by God kjv@1Chronicles:16:21
- Judgments fall upon leadership when opposed to Christ kjv@Psalms:2:2 kjv@Psalms:2:5 kjv@Psalms:2:9
kjv@Proverbs:14:28 @ In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
It is to the leaders advantage to take good care of his/her people.
kjv@Ecclesiastes:5:9 @ Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
We as the American electorate should be looking for and promoting these types of upright leaders. "Should" I say because we obviously don't. And I believe there is a biblical reason why not: We are are governed by sin long before we are governed by leaders.
- Remember then:
- Officials are to be approached with greatest reverence kjv@1Samuel:24:8 kjv@2Samuel:9:8 kjv@2Samuel:14:22 kjv@1Kings:1:23
- Officials can be and have been removed by God kjv@1Kings:11:11 kjv@Daniel:2:21
- Resistance to authority is resistance to the ordinance of God kjv@Romans:13:2
Remember that not even the anointed young David was to disrupt the life nor rule of the maniac King Saul; he had to let the cards play out as they would at his own personal expense and sacrifice. This is not to say that rulers do not have tremendous influence over their people, as it is written:
kjv@Proverbs:29:2 @ When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
It is to say (especially in a democracy where the people are electing their representative rulers) that the people have equal if not greater culpability to the state of a nation than even their chief ruler.
Millions of dollars are spent each election cycle by political organizations surveying the pulse of the potential American electorate. Important decisions are made moving forward on what issues are going to be campaigned on and what favorable image is going to be projected in order to assure a successful result. The Apostle Paul had an interesting assessment many centuries ago:
kjv@2Timothy:3:1-4 @ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
I don't mean to say that we are all one hundred percent of these things, but I don't want to say that we are not any of these things. I mean to say that we are enough of these things that our political system is definitely affected more than not. Not only are we enough of these things as voters, in certain ways these traits are actively targeted by those seeking power to increase their potential political gain. We may not call them by these names, each item however stands a political impulse and as a motivating factor both individually and collectively.
- Lovers of their own selves -
- Covetous -
- Boasters -
- Proud -
- Blasphemers -
- Disobedient to parents -
- Unthankful -
- Unholy -
- Without natural affection -
- Trucebreakers -
- False accusers -
- Incontinent -
- Fierce -
- Despisers of those that are good -
- Traitors -
- Heady -
- Highminded -
- Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God -
- Having a form of godliness -
kjv@Romans:15:1-3 @ We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
kjv@James:2:8 @ If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
We are caught in a trap much like the "doing what was right in their own eyes" crowd in Israel millennia ago. Voters will vote for whatever suits their own selves best. The problem is that what is best for self is not always (rarely is) what is best for a nation. The problem is what is right in each of our eyes goes forward in so many divergent directions it most often splits the electorate into so many detachable factions. Factions can easily be made to politically oppose each other, to offset each other, to cancel each other. Each faction doing as it completely sees as being "right", but in so doing each faction also being manipulated to strengthen a far off mutual opponent's gain.
kjv@Proverbs:16:2 @ All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
kjv@Exodus:20:17 @ Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
kjv@Luke:12:15 @ And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Rich or poor/middle class, black or white/hispanic, male or female/transgender, insured or uninsured/underinsurred, young or old/unborn, etc..., we can all be made to feel that something is being kept or taken from us, that the tables are not level. As individuals we feed ourselves upon this, as citizens we are fed a strong diet of this. An issue is raised and this is how it is sold to us: "other people already have this...why don't we?".
kjv@Colossians:3:5 @ Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
kjv@Psalms:10:3 @ For the wicked boasteth of his hearts desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
kjv@Psalms:49:5-8 @ Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever: )
There is a very fine line between a healthy national pride and a full out vain boast. When we get to the point in an proposal where we think we can do this great feat just because we are Americans, or that we can spend or legislate or tax our way out of any problem, without there being sustainable grounds it should be cause for great concern because it is nothing more likely than an empty shallow boast. Much of our political dialog is very near to crossing this nearly invisible line especially during election seasons. The sky is promised. The sky is desired. The sky is elected. But, what we get is just more of the same. Men and women are led by the snout of their lofty intensions while their representatives are led to scent of the electorates trough.
kjv@2Peter:2:18 @ For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness...
kjv@1Peter:5:5 @ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
It seems that each new generation sets out to correct the errors of the previous ones. After a few generations you would suspect that the errors of man in larger measure would be corrected, but oddly the course seems to steer us the worse. How is it that the train of such grandiose intension and massive commencement so often derails? Might I suggest that in no small measure it is each generation's both ignorant and arrogant pride; they set themselves up for failure before they have even aligned the track. In fact it is so easy to intellectually poke holes in another generation's actions, that it seems rather to be the intent of the sport. The ideal not being sustainable answers, but the railing and the strife and abandonment; the intellectual revelry towards personal gain.
kjv@1Timothy:6:3-5 @ If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
kjv@2Peter:2:12 @ But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not...
The true convincing weight of a political argument or position or movement is not always in it's rational discernment and thoughtful conclusion, rather in it's perceived public image. Sound rational thought does not have to be rationally countered overwhelmingly; merely attacked and made to appear hostile or insulting to the greater good (a greater good of their choosing). The stronger and broader the outrage the more convincing. Attacking the name and character of the proponent avoids having to dissect the proposition's intrinsic merit. The Pharisee's approach to the gospel message of Jesus is a perfect example of that. It wasn't their tact to dispute the merits of the message, it was to decry at every public opportunity that Jesus had again blasphemed against their institutional sense of better judgment.
kjv@Matthew:15:19 @ For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
There is most certainly an observable rebellious streak to youth. This is nothing that is new. Young adults often do opposite for no other reason than that their parents (or elder generation) did it what youth see as the "old fashioned" way. Old fashion is conservative no matter how radical it was at the time. Old fashioned is compromised and uninspired and tainted no matter what it holds. Old fashion is just the same as "expected" and "conventional" and "out of touch" and "weathered/worn/dreary"; not for any reason other than it is (or so it is to youth). Young people are never proven wrong until they birth a generation of their own; and then they are no longer the young, they are the next "old fashioned".
The Greek word used here apeithēs (ap-i-thace') (dict:strongs G545 ) carries an interesting payload conceptually, that of being unpersuadable (especially of a defendant's behavior) stubbornly or willfully disobedient to authority. As society places more of a value on thinking/being young it is placing more of a political value on being apeithēs like as well.
kjv@Luke:6:35 @ But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
kjv@1Timothy:1:9-10 @ Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
dict:strongs G794 ἄστοργος astorgos as'-tor-gos From G1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed derivative of στέργω stergō (to cherish affectionately); hard hearted towards kindred: - without natural affection.
So much of the baggage financially overwhelming our present day entitlement system comes as a result the battle front of what adult siblings are not willing to do for their elderly/widowed parents, what parents are unwilling to do for their juvenal and young adult children, what young adult parents are unwilling/incapable of doing for their newborn or special needs children, what is hidden away from custody arrangements between divorced spouses, etc... Issues such as single parents, multiple or absent fathers, abusive parents/spouses, incest all have their place in this "astorgos". Not only does it have considerable weight upon the economic/academic/medical/criminal/justice/entitlement systems that have to be operated because of it, so also is the weight upon election system as each of these hard hearted unnatural sorts remain in the voter pool and the many people they directly/indirectly gravely affect.
One of the many ploys of conquerors/tyrants historically was to make a truces with more conscientious peoples or nations thus binding them to such extensive and deliberate details of the treaty so as to more fully take advantage of such loyalty as a means of overcoming them. Those that play the game best know how to play up the threat large enough to make the treaty overwhelmingly desirable. Sometimes the truce isn't struck with the secret final target, but with the target's allies in order to set them out of the way.
In politics there are truces and pacts made everyday, alliances that are made to be broken sometimes by both sides. With this comes the reality of every politician being leary of every other politician, businessmen being leary of politicians and other businessmen, civil interest leaders being leary of businessmen and politicians and lobbyists... you get the picture. The problem is not just with the individual trucebreakers, it is with what everyone else must navigate and negotiate within the system to get done what they have set out to get done.
Think how much our nation's political discourse is skewed by conspiracy, by utter distrust, by misinformation, by propaganda, by incitement of unrest. Not a day goes by without a new accusation, a new supposed scandal, a new potential coverup, most all of it later found to be baseless and void of either the facts/scope or the legitimate claim of infraction. False accusation everyday is forwarded, shared, liked, tweeted on social media. It is debated ad nauseam in the chat rooms, with the talking heads, break room tables giving the falsity legs of it's own. Jesus himself was/is the object of much false accusation as are His many followers.
dict:strongs G193 ἀκράτης akratēs ak-rat'-ace From G1 (as a negative particle) and G2904 powerless that is without self control: - incontinent.
I suppose that we could look at these two different ways; perhaps both. One being the type of person we all know that is simply out of control. Greed/spending, lust/sex, fighting/anger, drugs, revelry, self mutilation, etc..., one or another or multiple things; there is little willingness left within themselves to keep them from doing the things that they do. The other way is the person who feels that they have no control over what is happening; perhaps someone else or the situation has control over them leaving them powerless. Victimization, suicidal thought, oppression, inequality, etc... for example. Either direction we take this electrical powerlessness creates negative voids that attract/pull the social and political charge forward to fill it's voided vacuum.
Well the concern is to be what is going to come in a fill that expansive hole. More government? More laws? More restriction? More money? More research? More education? More counseling? More rehabilitation? More sympathy/tolerance? At whose discretion? At whose expense?
David (one of the few good kings) in his many psalms often described the political blood sport of the day in terms of traps being laid unawares, snares laid to catch him in, as evil and wicked and unrighteous men seeking his throne, of being alone most times, of feeling deserted, being stabbed in the back by confederates, standing against the onslaught by himself, people without faces that sneak privily behind the political scenes, suspect causes that are unencumbered by the death of individual combatants. Some might think him delusional; few have ever attempted to be as good of a king as he however. At times the only thing that kept him going was his deep faith in the God that kept him seeking for good.
(To the defiled heart nothing is pure.)
Goody two shoes they might be called. There is a reason good people are not overly eager to submit themselves to an election campaign for public office: good people are often despised for even running. For some there is no such thing as a good person; good has ulterior motives somewhere behind it. Good can be offensive to those that think they know better. Good often stands in the others way. Good can be seen as weak when it comes to the harsh and corrupt realities of human governance. The Hebrew prophet Isaiah long beforehand predicted that Jesus would be much despised... and He was (and He is).
kjv@Isaiah:53:3 @ He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
kjv@Luke:6:16 @ ... and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
EDITOR: TO BE COMPLETED
kjv@Acts:7:52 @ Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Given these many politically corrosive undercurrents already mentioned, I find it utterly preposterous that any Christian could imagine accurately presenting this information in debate or plain conversation strictly from a perceivable alliance with either sideline Republican or Democrat. While that may be his or her personal affiliation, neither are the affiliation attributed to the Christ to whom we are bound openly as servants. To represent one particular side publicly is to not represent Christ.
Note that this warning in the scriptures does not delineate governors from the governed, it is describing the last day state of all men; thus we should consider that it is the state of last day politics as well. One can look back into the historical past and see these traits in operation politically. One can look into the future and predict that these things will be apparent still and likely be ever increasing. The people will be drawn to candidates and issues that are in their best perceived selfish interests and their leaders will be required to surf the waves and tides of such. Their leaders being cut of the same cloth will be motivated and susceptible to the same diverse set of faults and administrations.
It could be responded "what of man's many noble intentions"? "What of all the good that has been done"? To which a reply "what of them". These things do exist, but do they actually have the production in our society that we glowingly place upon them. It rather seems that we we are lead by the snoot of our good intentions. We intend for this, election campaigns are promise us this, rarely though sometimes this even comes to the floor and is voted on and adopted, but how much effect on the problems does any of that actually have? The selfish will intends for good things, it pats itself on the back for it's good intentions, it is crowned in good intentions, but it is hounded by selfish results and or unsustainable selfish goodness.
The problem of politics and governance is really in the heart of man; all men. Or shall we say the flesh.
Here is a brief examination of the this very problem we for a long time have faced through the eyes of the Apostle Paul and others. It is a passage we rarely apply to the state of current politics, though we should. I will only be able to scratch the surface on these truths at this time, but you'll hopefully see the profound directions that it will turn the discussion back to pointing to us and our flesh.
- kjv@Galatians:5:19-22 @ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
- Adultery ( dict:strongs G3430 @ μοιχεία moicheia ) - In the United States, 17% (813,862 2014) of all the divorces (41-50% first marriage/60-70% 2nd+3rd) that occur are due to adultery on the part of either or both the parties. The percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker is 36%. The percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity (emotional or physical) with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law is 17%. 2% to 3% of all children are due to infidelity and shockingly most of these children are unknowingly raised by men who are not their biological fathers. (http://www.divorcestatistics.info/latest-infidelity-statistics-of-usa.html ).
- fornication ( dict:strongs G4202 @ πορνεία porneia) - As of 2003, there were 1.3 million pornographic websites; 260 million pages. The total porn industry revenue for 2006: $13.3 billion in the United States; $97 billion worldwide.U.S. adult DVD/video rentals in 2005: almost 1 billion (Adult Video News).
- uncleanness ( dict:strongs G167 @ ἀκαθαρσία akatharsia) - The last IRS attempt to measure the amount of taxes that the IRS does not receive due to tax evasion was conducted in 2001; it arrived at a total of $345 billion. These researchers, however, estimate it has grown in recent years and found that some $2 trillion in individual income is unreported to the IRS, constituting between 18 and 19 percent of total taxable income. This total would result in an additional $450 billion to $500 billion in income tax revenue for the federal government. (http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/?Article_ID=21561 )
- lasciviousness ( dict:strongs G766 @ ἀσέλγεια aselgeia - 4 in 10 children are born to unwed mothers. Six fold increase since 1960. (http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/205/four-in-10-children-are-born-to-unwed-mothers ). By age 44, 99% of respondents had had sex, and 95% had done so before marriage. Even among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44. (http://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2006/premarital-sex-nearly-universal-among-americans-and-has-been-decades ). 57,762,169 Abortions in America Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 (http://www.lifenews.com/2015/01/21/57762169-abortions-in-america-since-roe-vs-wade-in-1973/ )
- Idolatry ( dict:strongs G1495 @ εἰδωλολατρεία eidōlolatreia ) - An estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious cult groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members. Over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims in the last ten years. (http://factnet.org/danger-cults-growing ). 78% of American adults identify with some form of Christian religion. Less than 2% are Jewish, less than 1% are Muslim, and 15% do not have a religious identity. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/151760/Christianity-Remains-Dominant-Religion-United-States.aspx )
- witchcraft ( dict:strongs G5331 @ φαρμακεία pharmakeia) - Conservative reckonings estimate 200,000 Witches and/or Neo-Pagans in the US alone. There could be many more, who are simply more private about their religion, for the very real fear of persecution. Witches are still working hard for our First Amendment rights. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_nbr2.htm ). Also consider the number of television shows/movies/comic books/games based upon sorcery/magic/special powers/living dead/vampire/Pokemon/etc...
- hatred ( dict:strongs G2189 @ ἔχθρα echthra ) - In 2014, 15,494 law enforcement agencies participated in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. Of these agencies, 1,666 reported 5,479 hate crime incidents involving 6,418 offenses.
- variance ( dict:strongs G2054 @ ἔρις eris er'-is Quarrel/Contention ) - the FBI has reported that roughly two-thirds of terrorism in the United States was conducted by non-Islamic American extremists from 1980-2001; and from 2002-2005, it went up to 95 percent. (http://www.cfr.org/terrorist-organizations-and-networks/militant-extremists-united-states/p9236 ). Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations = 66 (http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm ). Terror acts 2010-2016 = 20 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States #2010.E2.80.93present ).
- emulations ( dict:strongs G2205 @ ζῆλος zēlos dzay'-los Jealous Zeal Malice ) - EDITOR: TO BE ADDED
- wrath ( dict:strongs G2372 @ θυμός thumos thoo-mos' ) - Fierce indignation - EDITOR: TO BE ADDED
- strife ( dict:strongs G2052 @ ἐριθεία eritheia ) - Victimization due to violent assault in general is common in the U.S. among both sexes, with an estimated 1.9 million women and 3.2 million men physically assaulted annually, and domestic violence is a large part of that problem, with 22.1% of women and 7.4% of men having been physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or date in their lifetime (the preceding data is according to a 2000 U.S. Department of Justice Report). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence_in_the_United_States ). In 2013, about 22 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school during the school year. 2013 about 24 percent of female students reported being bullied at school. Nine percent of females reported that they were cyberbullied compared with 5 percent of males. (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/new-data-show-decline-school-based-bullying ). 77 percent of all students being bullied verbally in some way or another including mental bullying or even verbal abuse. (http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/school-bullying-statistics.html ). Since 2009, OCR has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding the bullying of students with disabilities in the nation's public elementary and secondary schools. (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/bullying-students-disabilities-addressed-guidance-america ’s-schools )
- seditions ( dict:strongs G1370 @ διχοστασία dichostasia Disunion ) - 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts. Espionage Act of 1917. Sedition Act of 1918. 1940 the Alien Registration Act (or "Smith Act"). This Act was invoked in three major cases, one of which against the Socialist Worker's Party in Minneapolis in 1941, resulting in 23 convictions, and again in what became known as the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 in which a number of pro-Nazi figures were indicted but released when the prosecution ended in a mistrial. Also, a series of trials of 140 leaders of the Communist Party USA also relied upon the terms of the "Smith Act"—beginning in 1949—and lasting until 1957. There was, however, a brief attempt to use the sedition laws against protesters of the Vietnam War. In 1987, fourteen white supremacists were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against a seditious conspiracy between July 1983 and March 1985. On 28 March 2010, nine members of the Hutaree militia were arrested and charged with crimes including seditious conspiracy. Military sedition is a punishable offense under Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition#United_States )
- heresies ( dict:strongs G139 @ αἵρεσις hairesis hah'ee-res-is Faction/Sect ) - EDITOR: TO BE ADDED
- Envyings ( dict:strongs G5355 @ φθόνος phthonos fthon'-os jealousy(with ill will )) - EDITOR: TO BE ADDED
- murders ( dict:strongs G5408 @ φόνος phonos fon'-os ) - There were 13,716 homicides in the United States in 2013, including non-negligent manslaughter (666,160 murders from 1960 to 1996). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States #Homicide )
- drunkenness ( dict:strongs G3178 @ μέθη methē meth'-ay ) - In 2014, 87.6 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 71.0 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 56.9 percent reported that they drank in the past month. In 2014, 24.7 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 6.7 percent reported that they engaged in heavy drinking in the past month. (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics )
- revellings ( dict:strongs G2970 @ κῶμος kōmos ko'-mos carousal/letting loose/riot ) - EDITOR: TO BE ADDED
- and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
We could further consider the political implications of adultery upon unwanted pregnancy, abortion, adoption, STD's etc..., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
We could further consider the political gravity of other perversions, sex messaging, gang rape, pedophilia, incest, sexual stalking, etc..., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
We could further consider the political mire of personal/corporate debt, bankruptcy, bribery, identity theft, etc..., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
We could further consider the political bog of promiscuity, debauchery, transgender identification, gay rights, consequences of the sexual revolution, other personal wantoness, etc.., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
We could further consider the political will as effected by self worship, work or career addiction, money or power greed, even false christian tradition/imagery and ritual, etc..., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
(From dict:strongs G5332 medication (pharmacy) that is (by extension) magic (literal or figurative)) - 14.3 percent of Americans having purchased drugs online. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 23.9 million American citizens over age 11 had used illicit drugs in the month preceding the survey. Every year, drug and alcohol abuse in the United States comes with a $600 billion price tag. Emergency room visits for non-medical usage of prescription drugs went up from 627,291 visits in 2004 to 1,244,679 in 2009, a 98.4 percent escalation. Patterns such as this suggest that drug abuse in America is steadily and significantly on the rise. In fact, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, “In 2010, two million people reported using prescription opioids non-medically for the first time; nearly 5,500 people a day.” (http://www.michaelshouse.com/drug-addiction/the-statistics/ )
We could further consider the political sludge brought into the equation of astrology, numerology, fortune telling, supposed potions/hexes/curses/spells, etc..., abuses of legal pharmacology and misdiagnosis, etc.., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
We could further consider the political flailing at the hands of bitterness, prejudice, antisemitism, etc.., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
We could further consider the political aspirations of environmental terrorists, clans/gangs, underground societies, etc.., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in the same.
Consider along the lines of revenge motive? media or social media defamation? Media Bias?
Consider along the lines of rage, retaliation, intimidation, tyranny, spousal/child abuse
Consider not only the political mindset of those perpetrating such but also that have become victim to it.
We could further consider the political vulnerability exposed by IT hacking, recently Wiki Leaks and others, sensitive information leaks by various departments or media sources, the working against present the authority from the inside out by those with ulterior political objectives.
Consider along the lines of race/gender superiority, elitism, revisionism, etc...
Consider along the lines of class envy, economic, political, racial, gender, appearances that seem greener on the other side but are not, etc...
We could further consider the political realities concerning other loses of life or impedances upon life such as abortion/mysterious unsolved disappearances/human trafficking, cartels/mafias/gangs, etc.., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in or have been affected severely by the same.
We could further consider the political weight placed upon the system and individual by drunk driving, employment and productivity, date rape, etc.., and the political mind sets of people that themselves indulge in or have been affected severely by the same.
Consider along the lines of the various organizations either enticing social unrest or taking advantage of it for practical/political gain, anti-authoritarian will, youthful rebellion for the sake of rebellion, etc...
The such and the like I would like to build on. We like to think of things as being black and white. We go through the list as we just did and we measure it 100% yes this effects us or 100% no it does not. The truth of this matter is to be found in the gray; I do believe. It all effects us, some to lesser or greater extents. What may not effect me may effect you, therefore it does effect me; I am just not willing to admit to how much (I may not fully know).
In the collection of your circles of marked influence and mine, gathered together with the circles of a great many others, we derive the circles of marked influence that makes up our national political system. That circle includes a great deal of unmarked influences each of us seems to hide ourselves from; especially as it comes to God and the good HE has set HIMSELF to see us to.
kjv@2Peter:2:10 @ But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
kjv@Jude:1:8 @ Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
EDITOR: TO BE DONE
Things to remember about Christ Jesus' authority:
1. He already has it by virtue of His accession.
kjv@1Peter:3:22 @ Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
2. It is not just future, but present and total.
kjv@Ephesians:1:21 @ Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
3. Without Him there is no authority.
kjv@Colossians:2:10 @ And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
4. What has been allowed to remain for our strengthening and sanctification will suddenly be done away with.
kjv@1Corinthians:15:24 @ Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
kjv@1Timothy:2:1-3 @ I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
For all men we should pray, intercede, make supplications, give thanks. All means every man/woman. That includes all kings and all authority. It is good and acceptable in God's sight. Every king and authority certainly needs our praying for; as does every man woman and child. This is because of the present condition that everyone of us are under; sin and the governance thereof.
The leader must thoroughly consider these present things as he carries forth his given authority, the dispensing of authority for which he alone will be judged by in the end. The voter electing their representative leader and related political issues here stateside must also thoroughly consider this same thing as well as they too will be judged for.
Can politics and religion be separated? Should politics and religion be separated?
For the Christian, the key is that not one of these considerations has to do with either Republican or Democrat nor Liberal or Conservative or Moderate positions; none takes into account the full impact of sin and sinfulness; none takes into account the top to bottom elected and electorate delinquencies scripturally made evident. Only the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ takes all human matters (heart and soul - including governance) into account with formative remedy. Therefore we must judge each political design and political enticement by what influences have birthed such political design/ambition in the light of our present dark sin and our ever present Savior's light.
A final thought (at least for now):
Politically, men are on an awkward slope. Like gods they seek to legislate against sin, but yet in their hearts it is precisely God's legislation that they are seeking to sin against.