religion and politics

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On Faith…”Hope”, and a New Kind of “Charity”

On Faith

This morning, our minister (whose denomination and personage shall go un-named to protect the “innocent”) delivered a sermon that was essentially a comparison and contrast between our earthly fathers, and our heavenly Father.

Now I am not one to critique every word cascading from the pulpit down to we lowly sinners, but I would feel remiss in not commenting on this sermon.  He was essentially speaking to broken families in which the earthly father, perhaps, was not all he possibly could be in terms of treatment and the like.

The minister intimates (really calls out in specific terms) that the product of such an environment, where say the father of the family ruled with a heavy hand, that the product of such an environment would somehow not have a “proper” concept of God.

Now I take exception with this as I feel that it is never fair to compare any leader of this earth to God Almighty.  We only emulate perfection here; we do not achieve it.

As to the children of rotten fathers, I would think they have the ultimate in contrast.  How many such fathers are Godly men?  I would venture to say that it is rarely the case.

Look at the opposite side of the coin – let’s compare Ward Beaver, or some other “stylized” hollywood fathers such as Andy Taylor, Tom Bradford (Eight is Enough) or even Archie Bunker.

Each of these characters are portrayed as aspousing some sort of morality upon their family, and upon their children.  Here is a significant question.

Name one solitary time that any referenced the Bible when teaching their kids whatever “morals” were being aspoused in the situational comedy?

I can’t think of a single time I’ve even seen a Holy Bible or heard any quoting the good book when helping their kids work through these problems in life.

The bottom line for me is that it is patently unfair to make a comparison of earthly fathers to Our Father in Heaven – no matter how pious, no matter how versed in the Holy Writ, no matter how even God Himself considers them “men after His own heart” even they pale completely in comparison to the Lord Thy God.

There are so many statistics and so many “studies” that have all these “findings” which people will quote to bolster their arguments and there is always a suggestion associated with this – “do you fit into those categories”?

If one follows the assumption that so many who are raised in a lousy environment are then subject to having a poor relationship with God, then that logic completely discounts the individual who sees that it is unfair to compare any man to God (even the best of fathers, or father-figures).

God never falters.  He is the perfect Father exemplified through His perfect Son.  It is one thing to compare our earthly fathers to Abraham, David, Lot, or even Joseph – but something else entirely to compare them to God.


In addition to the above, the minister also pointed out that in Barack Obama’s inauguration that he was the “first President in history” to use the Lord’s Prayer in the inauguration ceremony.

Personally, I ask myself why that may be?  After all, every President since Washington has taken his oath upon the Holy Bible.  They were each (allegedly) Christians, and face it, “The Lord’s Prayer” was taught by the Master Rabbi Himself.

Perhaps other President’s realized the sanctity of that verse.  Perhaps to use it would be too close to assuming some sort of “ordination” to the Presidency by Jesus Christ Himself, or the assumption thereof.

What we do know about this President is that there were questions in the campaign about his own religion.  His lifelong minister had condemned our country, the United States of America, to eternal damnation and did so by taking our Father’s name in vain. Some even thought that he might be a Mohammedan.

The Reverend Jerimiah Wright brought whole-new meaning to the biblical passage from Ecclesiastes “vanity of vanities saith the preacher” – to be so bold to speak for God in what should or should not be condemned by Him – is this not the blasphemy warned of in the bible? Believing that you speak for God?

From my perspective, to use the Lord’s Prayer in the inauguration of Barrack Obama was essentially to use it as a propaganda tool.

This President of “change” and of hope seems to be nothing more than one who would conveniently use religion for political purpose.

Rather than strengthening the scripture, it cheapens it.

I am reminded also of the quote “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto the Lord that which is the Lord’s”.

I know for certain that the Holy Bible is the Holy Word of God.  In no uncertain doubt, that (among other things – like the soul of the righteous) belong wholly to God, and not to a politician.

While I have not verified that this was the first time the Lord’s prayer was used in our inaugurations, if that is the case, perhaps “the Father of our Country” actually had reason not to use it and thus set precedent.

Perhaps President Washington felt it best to leave such words to the holy men of God, and while I feel certain he used it on a personal level (any who have studied him know him to be Christian) – perhaps he had very good reason to avoid using it while filling the role of the American version of “Caesar”.

Whatever Obama’s reason for its use, on the surface it appears as all-too-convenient to the politics-at-hand.

I wonder what the father figures of Hollywood morality would teach their sons and daughters about that one?  What would they say about a reverent and sincere use of the Holy Word, and never using it for personal gain?

The “New Charity”

This one should be obvious to all.

Is it charity to take from one and give to another?

Let’s consider an incident in Christ’s life as an example.

Remember the rich woman who brought perfumes and expensive presents to Christ not long before his Crucifixion?

Some have made the case that it was a gift  intended for preparing the Body after Crucifixion, but whatever its intended use, we know for certain that Christ graciously accepts the gift in spite of his disciple’s obvious agitation at it.

They are quick to point out that this gift could be used to feed so many of the poor.

And yet Christ still accepts the gift, and even teaches his disciples some humility in the passage. (more on Christ, gifts and wealth –1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

He does not advocate selling the gift and giving the proceeds to the poor as alms; rather He accepts it and makes use of it.

The attitude of the apostles, while not specifically advocating actually taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor, seems to intimate an earthly understanding of “right” and “wrong” – a “hint” of redistributionist philosophy.

And yet the Master teaches us yet again.

There is a certain degree of covet involved in the passage.  The apostles have an earthly understanding of fairness.

Christ demonstrates that the gift is pure charity, and not to be foresaken.  He “memorializes” the woman in her gift, assuring that both she and her selfless act are recorded in the Word of God for all eternity.

11For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

-Matthew 26:11

Consider if the story had been that an apostle had stolen the perfume  to sell it and give to the poor.  Can you think of a time when God would use a sinful act such as stealing in order to give alms to the poor?

There is a very definite lesson in the passage.

All of these things of this earth are not to be coveted, but used in their right and righteous manner, and one can never justify an evil act done for the purpose of serving “good”; the act itself makes whatever good comes from it a function of evil.

And such is the philosophy of the redistributionist, and apparently of Barrack Obama.