Sarah Palin, Politics & Christianity
Please read 1 Peter chapter 2,
particularly verses 1, 12, 13,14,15,16,17,18,19...well, like I said, read the whole chapter.
Sarah Palin's nomination as the Republican Vice President has many Christians elated, even zealous that we finally have a powerful, no-nonsense, straight-forward (add any other adjectives you like) "advocate" for the Christian voice in America.
I like Sarah Palin. She is smart and articulate, and refreshing. This article is not about her. It's about her coronation by Christians as our great hope for a kind of political savior. The frenzy for Sarah Palin provides an example of the large number of Christian's who, it seems to me, have a stronger allegiance to the USA than to Christ and even fear of someone being elected that may not embrace our beliefs. Patriotsim is good, but a Christian's calling is first to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our call is not to change, fix, or eradicate the wrongs of society through politics or use a political system to prostelitize the Christian faith. We are called to submit to the government, even suffer if necessary, and in the midst of our suffering continue to love, do good works, and to be salt and light.
Jesus Christ is our Lord. Do you see in the bible where Jesus "stood up" for and demanded his rights to Caesar? There was murder, political oppression, and hatred all around. Jesus had the power to change the situation, to dethrone Caesar, eliminate Pilot, and "cleanse" the whole Roman empire for God. He didn't do it, even though He was perfect in righteousness and perfect in justice. His crucifiction was applauded by those who believed their savior was supposed to be political, not spiritual. We Christians in America demonstrate how faithless we are by demanding our voice be heard, our values be implemented, and our rights be upheld, all the while trying to convince others our God is sovereign. Brothers and sisters, our rights are not of this world. If we claim to be Christians, if we claim Jesus as Lord, if we truly have received Jesus into our lives, then we have given up worldly rights. We are now slaves to Christ. Our citizenship is in heaven. Any citizenship we have on earth is temporal and secondary.
Do you see evidence in scripture where the Apostle Paul, a Roman citizen wrongfully imprisoned, summons the church to "rise up and be counted", or to bring pressure on the Roman government (as if that were possible), or to spring him from prison? Paul was pursuing Christ, to grow and be mature in Christ, and his letters were directed to believers to follow him. Paul did not encourage believers toward a political revolution. He encouraged believers to stand firm in Christ (trust Christ), to love one another, and love others more that we love ourselves. In this way, we influence and inform the world for Christ.
Christians, loosely and watered-down as the term has become, are not asked, encouraged, or commanded by God to fix, change, or overhaul the world or our country by political means. This is shocking and even sounds heretical to many. We are called and commanded to love one another, to love the unlovable, to die to ourselves and our self-righteousness. We are called to be like Jesus.
We desperately, in our flesh, believe we deserve rights, we deserve happiness, we deserve respect, we deserve to be counted, etc. As Christians, we're to forsake the world and embrace Christ. It's one or the other. Sadly, we have become very creative and sly about trying to discover ways to do both. We hide behind bumper stickers, lapel pins, lofty intellectualism and super-spiritual commentaries. We embrace materialism, a prosperity/happiness gospel, and devise ways to manipulate the bible to get our way. We need to face our fears that the political system will fail us, trust God as we say we do, and move toward being mature in Christ. Maybe then others will see Jesus and experience the love of Christ through us.
Sarah Palin, in being asked to be Vice President, has accepted her role as "attack dog" for her party. This is politics. Her role, as defined by her handlers, advisors, and speech writers is to go on offense and attack her opponent. Her nominating speech was evidence of her role. Jesus instructs us to consider others more highly than ourselves, to let our gentleness be evident to all, to be innocent as lambs, to let our works be evidence of Christ in us. None of us is innocent. None of us can claim any righteousness of our own. The hard-ball political gamers will find ways to discredit Sarah Palin, especially because she's a Christian, because we deliberately put ourselves on public display as political saviors with our mantra of "go Christians go" and "change for the better is coming" because a Christian (and a woman at that!) may be in the White House. To be clear, I don't think Sarah Palin is voicing that her faith in Christ is the reason to vote for her party, but I think many Christians see it this way. Barack Obama has the same call. He has publicly stated he is a Christian, so if he is, he has the same call as the rest of us. Political aspirations or policies do not take priority over our first allegiance - being a disciple of Christ.
There is reason for the separation of Church and State, and to behave as though it's the Christian's right and even obligation to make the government operate as we believe is arrogant. The government can legislate and enforce laws that create an orderly society, and they should, but don't think for a minute a political party or government is where your freedom comes from. If you're a Christian, your freedom is in Christ. Our foremost call is to change hearts, not laws. Before we even attempt to clean up the White House and the House of Representatives, we need to clean up our own house. We divorce as much as the world, sue one another in worldly courts, commit adultery, fight one another and split churches over foolish arguments, then tell the world how righteous we are and how we need to have our Godly principles put to practice in our government. We need a good dose of humility and we need to repent of our own sin as we plead for God's mercy.